Higher Education Research: Challenges and Practices

A special issue of Education Sciences (ISSN 2227-7102). This special issue belongs to the section "Higher Education".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 1 June 2024 | Viewed by 12255

Special Issue Editors


E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
CIPES – Centre for Research in Higher Education Policies, 4450-227 Matosinhos, Portugal
Interests: higher education; student satisfaction; student success; institutional actors; student experience; gender studies; assurance of learning (AoL); quality assurance in higher education; higher education in developing countries; digital literacy
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

E-Mail Website
Guest Editor

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Higher education has long been considered one of the cornerstones of scientific development through teaching and learning (the so-called first mission), but also in the research dimension (second mission) and as the main driving force in social and economic progress (third mission).

However, the purpose and the expectations of higher education stakeholders—not only institutions but also academics, researchers and students from different study cycles, policymakers and companies—are shifting. We are witnessing the reshaping of teaching higher education institutions (HEIs) into research HEIs, with the increase in research hubs, the development of scientific knowledge that can be put into practice for the improvement and progress of society, and the establishment of partnerships with the business community, namely via spin-offs generated in the HEIs.

It is in this context of reformulating the mission of higher education of researching to (re)create scientific knowledge that this Special Issue—Higher Education Research: Challenges and practices—was designed, with the purpose of presenting different kinds of contributions on ways to problematize this scenario, which varies according to the countries and organizations in question. Additionally, we aim to collate studies that analyze the research practices in several HEIs to understand and, thus, develop the potential of Higher Education Research, the means of its future development, the innovations that have emerged from it and their contribution to the evolution of society as a whole.

We look forward to receiving your contributions.

Dr. Maria José Sá
Dr. Sandro Serpa
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Education Sciences is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • research in higher education
  • higher education and the creation of scientific knowledge
  • ethics in research
  • research and career promotion
  • types of research
  • communication of research
  • potential and innovation of higher education research
  • the second mission of HEIs
  • theories and methods in higher education research
  • interdisciplinary research areas for higher education

Published Papers (7 papers)

Order results
Result details
Select all
Export citation of selected articles as:

Research

16 pages, 3608 KiB  
Article
Students’ Epistemological Framings When Solving an Area Problem of a Degenerate Triangle: The Influence of Presence and Absence of a Drawing
by Estela Juárez-Ruiz and Josip Sliško
Educ. Sci. 2024, 14(3), 224; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci14030224 - 22 Feb 2024
Viewed by 463
Abstract
This study explores the epistemological framings of undergraduate students when solving an area problem of a degenerate triangle, without or with a triangle drawing. Through mixed research with a triangulation design, the resolution processes and responses of students were analyzed. The aim was [...] Read more.
This study explores the epistemological framings of undergraduate students when solving an area problem of a degenerate triangle, without or with a triangle drawing. Through mixed research with a triangulation design, the resolution processes and responses of students were analyzed. The aim was to analyze how students’ epistemological framing changes during the problem-solving process depending on whether the task contains the drawing of the triangle or not. Quantitative results show significant differences between students who solve the problem without a triangle drawing and those who do. Qualitative results evidence that students who solved the problem with the drawing established an initial epistemological framing that contained an “obvious fact”: the non-zero area of the triangle. They hardly modified this epistemological framing during the solving process, forcing the response to be a positive number. In contrast, students who solved the problem without the drawing easily modified their initial epistemological framing by observing that the area of the triangle was zero. Students’ perceptions of the level of difficulty of the problem are discussed, too. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Higher Education Research: Challenges and Practices)
Show Figures

Figure 1

14 pages, 681 KiB  
Article
Research Performance: A View of Research Self-Efficacy, Interest, and Gender
by Irit Sasson and Shirley Miedijensky
Educ. Sci. 2023, 13(12), 1166; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci13121166 - 21 Nov 2023
Viewed by 982
Abstract
There is great interest in promoting research in academic institutions and a need to understand the various factors influencing it. The main goals of this study are to investigate the factors that predict academic research outcomes and how gender and research authority (RA) [...] Read more.
There is great interest in promoting research in academic institutions and a need to understand the various factors influencing it. The main goals of this study are to investigate the factors that predict academic research outcomes and how gender and research authority (RA) support programs affect the relationship between research self-efficacy and research interest. The participants included 143 faculty members who completed a questionnaire, 19 of whom were interviewed. The results indicate that the faculty members’ research interests and the RA’s support significantly predicted academic research outcomes. A positive and significant correlation was found between research self-efficacy and research interest. Gender and RA support were found to significantly moderate this relationship. Research self-efficacy had almost no effect on research interest among female faculty members and among faculty members who had received support from the research authority. In contrast, among male faculty members and among those who did not receive support from the research authority, the higher the research self-efficacy, the higher the research interest. An analysis of faculty members’ perceptions points to four factors that can advance research outcomes: support from the RA, mentoring, collaboration among researchers, and allotting time for research. Understanding the moderating role of gender is important to reveal the underlying mechanism of a gender gap in research interest and consequently in academic performance, considering the increased recognition that universities worldwide are male dominated and that women are underrepresented in senior positions in academia. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Higher Education Research: Challenges and Practices)
Show Figures

Figure 1

19 pages, 327 KiB  
Article
“A Common Danger Unites”: Reflecting on Lecturers’ Higher Education Experiences during the COVID-19 Pandemic Using an Ethnographic Fictional Analysis
by Gerald Griggs and Helen J. Heaviside
Educ. Sci. 2023, 13(11), 1085; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci13111085 - 27 Oct 2023
Viewed by 832
Abstract
The sudden transition of Higher Education (HE) from predominately face-to-face to online delivery during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns placed many lecturers in unfamiliar situations. This study aimed to explore and represent the experiences of lecturers working in HE during this time. We used [...] Read more.
The sudden transition of Higher Education (HE) from predominately face-to-face to online delivery during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns placed many lecturers in unfamiliar situations. This study aimed to explore and represent the experiences of lecturers working in HE during this time. We used a storytelling approach to represent an amalgamation of experiences collated from lecturers. Data were collected using (i) a focus group interview, (ii) reflections on our experiences, and (iii) experiences alluded to by academics via online blogs. The data were presented using an ethnographic fiction. Salient experiences detailed throughout the ethnographic fiction include (i) challenges building a community between colleagues, academics, and students; (ii) concerns regarding the capacity of institutions and staff to deliver online; (iii) a lack of synergy between the expectations of staff to fulfil duties and the reality of being able to do so in time; (iv) the challenges of engaging students; (v) concerns regarding the accessibility of online learning for a diverse body of students; and (vi) challenges with work–life balance. The ethnographic fiction provides a voice for HE lecturers who candidly shared their experiences of working during the pandemic. Stakeholders are encouraged to develop their own interpretations of the story and apply these to policy and practice. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Higher Education Research: Challenges and Practices)
12 pages, 267 KiB  
Article
Health and Well-Being in Higher Education: Student Perception of an Australian University
by Nazlee Siddiqui, Hazel Maxwell and Maria Agaliotis
Educ. Sci. 2023, 13(10), 1046; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci13101046 - 18 Oct 2023
Viewed by 1162
Abstract
The health and well-being of university students is a priority agenda, given the need to advance health in the university system and the United Nations Sustainability Development Goal regarding quality and inclusive education. However, current literature lacks adequate insights regarding health and well-being [...] Read more.
The health and well-being of university students is a priority agenda, given the need to advance health in the university system and the United Nations Sustainability Development Goal regarding quality and inclusive education. However, current literature lacks adequate insights regarding health and well-being considerations. This study investigated students’ perceptions concerning how university students experience health and well-being. The study is underpinned using the biopsychosocial model of health and was conducted via a cross-sectional student survey with quantitative and open-ended questions at an Australian university in 2021. A hierarchical regression model with 625 respondents indicated health and well-being are significantly influenced by mental (t-value = 15.7, p < 0.001), physical (t-value = 9.48, p < 0.001), university learning (t-value = 5.16, p < 0.001), and economic (t-value = 4.78, p < 0.001) domains regardless of the demographic and study characteristics of students. Students’ perception of their health and well-being varied according to student age, the college of study, and whether they were an international student. Both the quantitative and qualitative findings supported that the mental, physical, university learning, and economic domains of students’ health and well-being are interdependent. There is a case for a proactive, continuous, inclusive, and holistic health and well-being approach to support student success in higher education. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Higher Education Research: Challenges and Practices)
21 pages, 1036 KiB  
Article
Does Mentoring Directly Improve Students’ Research Skills? Examining the Role of Information Literacy and Competency Development
by Anesito Cutillas, Eingilbert Benolirao, Johannes Camasura, Rodolfo Golbin, Jr., Kafferine Yamagishi and Lanndon Ocampo
Educ. Sci. 2023, 13(7), 694; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci13070694 - 08 Jul 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 4904
Abstract
This work proposes a structural model highlighting the research skills of undergraduate students. Due to the stages in their research project implementation, mentoring students becomes a crucial initiative in higher education institutions. Despite substantial progress in the literature linking mentoring and skills development, [...] Read more.
This work proposes a structural model highlighting the research skills of undergraduate students. Due to the stages in their research project implementation, mentoring students becomes a crucial initiative in higher education institutions. Despite substantial progress in the literature linking mentoring and skills development, there is a lack of greater emphasis on research skills, especially for undergraduate students facing research work for the first time. Consequently, the direct relation between mentoring and research skills may not be straightforward. Thus, driven by social learning theory, the proposed model highlights the mediating effects of information literacy constructs and competency development on the relationship between mentoring and research skills. An empirical study of 539 participants via Partial Least Squares–Structural Equation Modeling supports six of the seven hypothesized paths. Three major theoretical contributions arise from the findings. Firstly, mentoring improves information-seeking skills and information-sharing behaviors and facilitates students’ competency development due to the technical knowledge transfer from the faculty mentor to student mentees. Secondly, information literacy constructs and competency development promote research skills, emphasizing that students with those behaviors and capacities will achieve enhanced research skills. Finally, our findings suggest that mentoring does not directly translate to improved research skills; instead, information-seeking and sharing behaviors and competency development fully mediate such a link. Thus, mentors must shape these behaviors for mentoring to develop students’ research skills. Theoretical and practical insights are outlined from these findings for university leadership to inform the design of mentoring initiatives for undergraduate students. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Higher Education Research: Challenges and Practices)
Show Figures

Figure 1

16 pages, 288 KiB  
Article
Agon—Are Military Officers Educated for Modern Society?
by Leif Inge Magnussen, Ole Boe and Glenn-Egil Torgersen
Educ. Sci. 2023, 13(5), 497; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci13050497 - 15 May 2023
Viewed by 1299
Abstract
The research question in this article concerns how a competitive environment affects the learner’s (officer cadet’s) personal leadership development and their relationship to their team and with future civilian foundations. More specifically, what are the possible learning effects of the ‘hidden’ curriculum? This [...] Read more.
The research question in this article concerns how a competitive environment affects the learner’s (officer cadet’s) personal leadership development and their relationship to their team and with future civilian foundations. More specifically, what are the possible learning effects of the ‘hidden’ curriculum? This article investigates how more than 250 years of leadership education provides new army officers with new skills and how this environment may affect the cadets’ leadership training. The article builds on ethnographic data gathered during the three-year education programme in most of the relevant practical locations and contexts. Data were collected using both interviews and a questionnaire. Regarding trust in their learning environment, cadets reported a mean score of 2.83 on a 1 (low trust) to 5 (high trust) Likert scale, underpinning interview data regarding the lack of trust in the Norwegian Military Academy (NMA) and in their fellow cadets. Cadets also pointed out that competition hindered their learning (mean = 2.50). These findings are interpreted in relation to possible negative effects stemming from internal competition and the evaluation system as a whole. The overall output of this system is a zero-sum game, and thus affects evaluative practices and learning processes. This study is of relevance to higher education officers responsible for designing learning environments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Higher Education Research: Challenges and Practices)
14 pages, 337 KiB  
Article
Mentoring and Research Self-Efficacy of Doctoral Students: A Psychometric Approach
by Juan Antonio Amador-Campos, Maribel Peró-Cebollero, Maria Feliu-Torruella, Alba Pérez-González, Cristina Cañete-Massé, Adolfo José Jarne-Esparcia, Xavier Triadó-Ivern and Joan Guàrdia-Olmos
Educ. Sci. 2023, 13(4), 358; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci13040358 - 30 Mar 2023
Viewed by 1601
Abstract
Effective mentoring is an integral component of the doctoral dissertation process. This study aimed to determine the psychometric properties of two questionnaires developed to assess research self-efficacy and the mentoring/supervision process. The sample comprised 1265 doctorate students (mean age = 32.36 years; standard [...] Read more.
Effective mentoring is an integral component of the doctoral dissertation process. This study aimed to determine the psychometric properties of two questionnaires developed to assess research self-efficacy and the mentoring/supervision process. The sample comprised 1265 doctorate students (mean age = 32.36 years; standard deviation = 8.20). Items in both questionnaires had adequate discrimination indexes and principal component analysis supported the unifactorial structure of each questionnaire, with adequate percentages of explained variance (47.5% and 60%, respectively). Reliability was good or excellent: α = 0.71 and α = 0.94. In the research self-efficacy questionnaire, there was a significant interaction between gender and year of doctoral studies. Men had higher scores in the first, second and third years of their doctoral studies than women, but this ranking was reversed for the fourth and fifth years. In the mentoring/supervision questionnaire, PhD students in their first year had a higher score than those in the third, fourth and fifth years, and students in the second year had a higher score than those in the fifth year. Understanding students’ perception of their research self-efficacy and the mentoring process is of great importance given the relationship between the mentoring process and students’ academic performance and personal well-being. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Higher Education Research: Challenges and Practices)
Back to TopTop