Semester One 2019

Monday 3 June


Dr Ilektra Spandagou, Higher Degree Research Coordinator

The long road and timely completion; resolving conflicted expectations as a research student

6pm Lecture Theatre 424

A commonly used analogy is to describe the research degree as a journey in a long, winding road full of unexpected obstacles. This, mostly lonely, quest of knowledge has the prize of the thesis at its end, and the promise of new avenues of opportunities after graduation. This paper questions the extent that this analogy captures the research degree experience in the current climate of timely completion, research training, graduate qualities, milestones, and set expectations of performance, which shape both the journey’s direction and its duration. This climate may more aptly describe the research degree as a packaged, organised tour allowing for limited glimpses to the authentic experience of the journey.

Analogies are powerful in evoking meaning but necessarily simplistic. However, this presentation uses these two analogies as a device to explore how different understandings of the research degree journey influence what is seen as the scope of this journey, and what kind of knowledge, scholars and future pathways they open.

This discussion will lead to an examination of the implications for research students and will provide practical suggestions on how to navigate this journey.

Ilektra Spandagou worked as a special teacher and completed her PhD at the University of Sheffield, UK in the area of inclusive education. She worked as a researcher at the University of Sheffield, UK, and as a lecturer at the University of Athens and the University of Thessaly, Greece before moving to the University of Sydney. Her research interests include disability, classroom diversity, and curriculum differentiation.

Ilektra currently teaches in the pre-service special education mandatory units of study and the Master of Education (Special Education) in the area of special and inclusive education. She is involved in higher degree supervision and other research projects. Her publications included the book ‘Inclusive Education: International Policy & Practice’ (co-authored with A.C. Armstrong and D. Armstrong) and published by Sage).

Keynote recording

The slides and audio recording of the keynote is available in Canvas.


Please contact, if you have queries regarding the Research Students Forum.