Personal statement in PhD applications: Gatekeepers' evaluative perspectives

Article


Chiu, T. 2015. Personal statement in PhD applications: Gatekeepers' evaluative perspectives. Journal of English for Academic Purposes. 17, pp. 63-73.
AuthorsChiu, T.
Abstract

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.

JournalJournal of English for Academic Purposes
Journal citation17, pp. 63-73
ISSN14751585
Year2015
PublisherElsevier
Accepted author manuscript
License
CC BY-NC-ND
Web address (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jeap.2015.02.002
Publication dates
Print27 Feb 2015
Publication process dates
Deposited29 Mar 2016
Accepted05 Feb 2015
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https://repository.uel.ac.uk/item/85715

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