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  • 2021anietiephd

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Together But Alone: Belongingness and Troublesome Socio-Academic Identities of Distance Doctoral Students

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

  • Anietie Godswill Ukpabio
Publication date25/05/2021
Number of pages244
Awarding Institution
Award date8/03/2021
  • Lancaster University
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Doctoral studies can be daunting and arguably even more daunting when studied from a distance away from the university. In this context, the relevancy of questions surrounding how a sense of belonging is built via interacting from a distance becomes more salient as well as how the student is viewed by members of the doctoral community (peers and staff members).
This study aims at exploring how distance doctoral students interact towards building their belongingness and identity within their doctoral community. Through the lenses of Hodgins’s (2018) Psychological Construct of Belonging, the study explored the data collected from semi-structured interviews using a narrative inquiry approach.
The interviews involved 25 distance doctoral students across six higher education institutions in the United Kingdom (UK). The students were studying in various doctoral programmes and at various stages of their programmes.
The results contribute significantly to the existing body of knowledge, but also highlight some relevant issues that can enable or constrain the development of a sense of belonging and identity from a distance. Key recommendations are offered that oscillate between those that are within the control of the institutions and those that are not.