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Factors influencing institutional research culture: the case of a Pakistani university

Lodhi, Ahmad Sohail (2016) Factors influencing institutional research culture: the case of a Pakistani university. PhD thesis, University of Leeds.

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Abstract

This study aimed to explain the prevailing situation of research culture in a state-run Pakistani university by identifying and analysing research-related cultural factors (e.g. ideas, beliefs, values, and assumptions etc.) characterising it. The study also examined the ways in which the influence of these factors condition academics’ research practices. Moreover, the contribution of academics’ research practices in maintaining or modifying existing research culture was also explored. A combination of Archer’s social realist framework of cultural analysis and Evans’s model of researcher development was used to meet the needs of the study. The latter was used as a thinking tool to point out various aspects of the complex phenomenon of research culture from the literature produced in different academic areas within the wider field of higher education while the former provides the overall theoretical basis for conceptualising the phenomenon as well as analysing the data. In line with critical realism, the data about different aspects of the phenomenon was collected from two social sciences faculties of University X. Multiple tools were used including audio recording of semi-structured interviews of twenty-two academics with diverse research experiences, numeral data of questionnaires gathered from 70 academics, and the written texts in the form of relevant policy documents. The study identified seven sets of prominent research-related cultural factors namely; aspects of academics’ job, natural and social sciences divide, utility of research, choices of research strategy, research-related skills, intellectual engagement, and research productivity/outputs that characterised the research related cultural system of the university. Most of the cultural factors entail constraining causal influences on academics’ research practices as they were in the relationship of contingent/competitive contradiction which indicates a low level of integration in the research culture of the university. The study also found that the majority of constraining cultural factors were reproduced after the socio-cultural interaction occurred during 2008-11. However, the emergence of three cultural factors present in discourses about research-led teaching, quality of research outputs and research related skills was evident which suggested slight increase in the level of cultural integration during this period. The detailed analysis of the existing situation of the university may serve as a resource for its leadership of the university to adopt appropriate policies to promote research culture in the university, especially in social sciences faculties.The theoretically driven concept of research culture (based on Archer’s approach)used for this study may also help other researchers and academics investigate this phenomenon in other universities.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: research culture, social sciences, critical realist perspective, morphogenetic cultural analysis, researcher development model, research-related skills, intellectual engagement, research productivity
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law (Leeds) > School of Education (Leeds)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.714256
Depositing User: Mr Ahmad Sohail Lodhi
Date Deposited: 22 May 2017 12:35
Last Modified: 25 Jul 2018 09:55
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/17256

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