Personal statement in PhD applications: Gatekeepers' evaluative perspectives
Chiu, T. 2015. Personal statement in PhD applications: Gatekeepers' evaluative perspectives. Journal of English for Academic Purposes. 17, pp. 63-73.
This paper explores academic readers’ views of the doctoral Personal Statements (PSs) written by student applicants across institutional contexts. The analysis was based on in-depth semi-structured interviews with 19 faculty members involved in evaluating the PhD applications within Education at one UK-based and one US-based university. Data were coded by NVivo software and then analysed using methods drawn from critical discourse analysis and conversation analysis to unravel participant intended meaning. Results suggest that the situated knowledge of institutional settings where these academics are based will affect the ways in which they act and think in relation to particular forms of discourse. Specifically, the UK and US academics’ interpretations of PSs and its associated evaluation practices are related to their conceptual understanding of the culture of doctoral level study and the structure of the admissions process in their own particular academic community. The paper concludes with some pedagogical implications and a discussion of potential areas for further study to investigate the ‘academic’ and ‘rhetorical’ aspects of the PS and to understand the different and often implicit features of the PS across different disciplines, programmes, and institutional contexts.
|Journal||Journal of English for Academic Purposes|
|Journal citation||17, pp. 63-73|
|Accepted author manuscript|
|Web address (URL)||http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jeap.2015.02.002|
|27 Feb 2015|
|Publication process dates|
|Deposited||29 Mar 2016|
|Accepted||05 Feb 2015|
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