The University of Newcastle, Australia


SORTI activities are directed toward the understanding and development of research and higher order problem solving skills, the impact of research training and knowledge use, professional development and pathways to professions, and e-learning in a wide variety of contexts. Below is a snapshot of research projects and program.

Excellent researchers

Recent evidence concerning metacognitive learning and affect reveals that research degree candidates are a diverse group of learners, and little is known about explaining wasteful attrition, stress and delays in progress. Such a study is essential, especially given the growth in research degrees, new transitional pathways, diversity in candidate backgrounds and chronic high attrition. This longitudinal study applies new findings about doctoral learning profiles in a direct intervention (DOCLearn) that targets individual differences across students in doctoral and masters degrees to improve learning outcomes significantly and contribute theoretically, methodologically and substantively to advance understanding of researcher development.

Examiner Feedback

This project directly investigates the final stage of doctoral examination across institutions in Australia, with particular emphasis on examiner feedback, candidate engagement with feedback, and the decision processes involved. Doctoral examination is high stakes, and evaluative comment in the form of feedback is central to the process. In what way examiner comment contributes to the committee decision and how the different categories of comment and recommendation are approached, valued and used by the committee and candidate is not clear. This study accesses data from multiple sources and disciplines to illuminate this least visible yet critical end stage of the doctoral examination process and its impact on thesis quality and candidate development.

Other Recent Projects