Illuminating Honours: exploring the experience of Allied Health students using a phenomenological approach

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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This thesis provides an insight into the experience of ten Australian Honours students and questions the purpose of Honours in Allied Health.This study was conducted at a regional university in New South Wales and a metropolitan university in Victoria, with students from Occupational Therapy, Physiotherapy, Podiatry and Speech Pathology. The undergraduate research experience for these students was an embedded' Honours program, spanning one to two years. The research is grounded in social constructionism and used a phenomenological methodology to illuminate the being' and becoming' of these Honours students. Interviews conducted at the early, mid and late stages of Honours explored a range of issues such as motivation for Honours, learning through Honours, and the relevance of Honours to career planning. Nine major themes emerged from the data and these enabled a representation of the students' experience of Honours: challenging self'; a different way of being'; communities of practice'; self-actualisation'; becoming a practitioner-researcher'; new perspectives'; research-practice nexus'; and career decision making'.By studying the experience of Honours students in Allied Health, this research is suggesting that the purpose of Honours needs to be reconsidered. The current accepted role of Honours in Australian higher education is as a mechanism to advance disciplinary knowledge, provide research training and produce a substantial independent research thesis/project. However, it is inadequate to articulate the complexity of the Honours experience. The recommendations arising from this study ensure that the purpose of Honours, from the perspective of the institution and the Allied Health professions, more closely aligns with the motivations of the Honours students.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Charles Sturt University
  • Smith, Erica, Co-Supervisor
  • Whiteford, Gail, Co-Supervisor
Award date01 Oct 2011
Place of PublicationAustralia
Publication statusPublished - 2012

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