A framework of postgraduate collaboration: postgraduate collaborative space in a UK university

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticle


A notable trend in UK universities has been the introduction of new collaborative learning spaces for postgraduate students, which provide space for students to interact with each other, study together, and collaborate. However, it is unclear what definition of ‘collaboration’ is driving the creation of these spaces and the types of activities expected to take place in them. This article provides an analysis of doctoral students’ understandings of ‘collaboration’ and collaborative space. The study involves focus groups with 24 doctoral students at a UK university. From an inductive thematic analysis, a framework of four types of collaboration is constructed, and it is seen that doctoral students want elements of each of these types of collaboration to be catered for by the spaces offered at their institution. The idea of PhD ‘collaboration’ needs to be broadened, so that a wider array of collaborations can be provided for and fostered by universities.
Original languageEnglish
Article number3
Pages (from-to)446-458
Number of pages13
JournalStudies in Higher Education
Issue number3
Early online date8 Sep 2017
Publication statusPublished - 4 Mar 2019



  • Collaborative work
  • PhD
  • doctoral education
  • doctoral study
  • group work

Cite this