PurposeAlthough the production of a dissertation and the transition to an independent researcher undergird the outcomes of doctoral education, this study aims to emphasize issues of inequality in doctoral study through the use of Bourdieu’s (1977, 1986) concepts of cultural capital and field.Design/methodology/approachThis qualitative study with 15 doctoral students in Engineering and in Philosophy revealed that activities in doctoral study that tend to socialize students possess value, given the conventions of various contexts or social spaces related to academe.FindingsDoctoral students who attain particular accomplishments experience doctoral study in ways that suggest that doctoral study is a system of conventions and norms that imbue particular activities with value, which then impact students’ doctoral education experiences.Originality/valueInequality is tied to students’ portfolio of achievements, as the value of these achievements suggests differential socialization experiences, such that different students learn about the norms and practices within doctoral study in different ways.
International Journal for Researcher Development – Emerald Publishing
Published: May 9, 2016
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