Special issue on university internationalisation – towards transformative change in higher education. Internationalising doctoral research: developing theoretical perspectives on practice

Magyar, A. and Robinson-Pant, A. (2011)

Teachers and Teaching: Theory and Practice, 17(6): 663–76


The current internationalisation agenda in UK higher education (HE) is still seen as most relevant to those university departments involved in international student recruitment and support. This approach has been influenced by the dominant deficit’ discourses from earlier decades, which emphasise the need for international students to catch up on’ English language and academic skills. 

By contrast, we argue that a more critical and holistic approach towards internationalisation can have implications for all staff and students in the university, and in all areas of activity, including curriculum development, assessment and research. Through examples from recent research conducted with doctoral students, we draw on conceptual approaches from the fields of academic literacies and intercultural communication to develop a lens for exploring educational research and teaching practices from an internationalisation perspective. 

We discuss some of the issues that arose in relation to the unfamiliar academic literacy and communicative practices that international students encountered in the UK institution. These included: negotiating different procedures and approaches when conducting research as a UK university-based researcher as compared to their home’ institution; developing understanding of the supervisory relationship and feedback, and the challenges of reading and writing across cultures. 

We conclude by reflecting on the implications of these research findings for developing a transformative’ approach to internationalisation of HE.

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