Office of Education Development and Gateway Education

Quality of Research Degree Education/Training at the City University of Hong Kong: An Outcome-based Study

TDGs - Teaching Development Grants

Principal Investigator

  • NG Sik-hung

TDGs Project Highlight

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International research has identified three broad outcomes of research degree education. Disciplinary knowledge/productivity and employability are specific outcomes such as duration of study, publications, time between thesis submission and employment, and salary. "Graduate attributes" are generic qualities that are largely discipline-independent, e.g., critical and analytical thinking, problem solving, initiative, communication, leadership and team-work (Cumming, 2010; Gilbert et al., 2004; Manathunga et al., 2009).

Graduate attributes, though elusive, are important: "if universities do not promote the development of these attributes, they need only to (indeed, ought only to) provide vocational education rather than traditional liberal arts or theory-based degrees." (Platow, in press, ms. page 3).

All three outcomes are compatible in varying degrees with CityU's OBTL (outcome-based teaching and learning) policy and UGC's criteria for evaluating the quality of research degree education/training.

No CityU study has been conducted to evaluate the outcomes. Archival data, though scattered and incomplete, are available to afford a meaningful first study. The present proposal will collate existing data on outcomes and contributing factors (CFs) (e.g., students' academic background, English proficiency, gender, full-time/part-time study, local vs. nonlocal status, tuition scholarship, perceived supervisor support, conference attendance, and integration with the host Department). Models will be fitted to estimate CFs' effects on disciplinary knowledge/productivity and graduate attributes, test the extent to which graduate attributes may mediate CFs' effects on disciplinary knowledge/productivity, and identify the best predictors of employability from the pool of disciplinary outcomes and CFs.