Data and performativity in doctoral education: Information gaps and suggestions for overcoming them


  • Catalina Wainerman Universidad San Andres
  • Iván Matovich Universidad de San Andrés



doctoral programs, performance measurement, completion rates, time-to-degree, graduate statistics


Since the mid-1990s, there has been an abrupt growth of doctoral enrollments and doctoral programs in Argentina and Latin America. However, completion rates at this education level are far from satisfying. Attrition rates in  Social Sciences doctoral programs “are known” to be high, and higher in Social Sciences and Humanities (which will be later called “Soft Sciences”) than in STEM (which will be later called “Hard Sciences”) disciplines, although there are no valid and reliable data. In order to address this problem, we carried out an investigation with two objectives: (1) to measure performance (efficiency or productivity) in 18 doctoral programs in STEM disciplines, the Social Sciences, and Humanities at various universities in Buenos Aires city and the surrounding Metropolitan Area; and (2) to design a procedure for collecting valid and reliable information that would allow us to assess doctoral programs' performance. This measure was defined along two dimensions: completion rates (regular time rates and extra time rates) and average time-to-degree by cohort. We compiled data on individuals' academic tracks in each cohort from their enrollment to their completion or dropout by using paper-files and digitized databases provided by academic departments. Information was analyzed by program, by cohort, and by six grouped cohorts for 2001-2006. Substantive and methodological results were found. Among the substantive results, we discovered better performance in STEM disciplines than in the Social Sciences and Humanities. As to the methodological results, postgraduate statistical registering matrix was designed and a series of recommendations are presented for use by doctoral programs and graduate programs generally.


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Author Biographies

Catalina Wainerman, Universidad San Andres

Catalina Wainerman is PhD. Sociology (Social Psychology) and Master of Arts in Sociology, Cornell University; Sociology Hnos., Buenos Aires University (UBA). She is director of the PhD Program in Education, at San Andrés University. She worked as a researcher at the Scientific and Technical Research National Council (CONICET) and at the Population Studies Centre (CENEP); among others. She published, among others: El empresario y la innovación.

Sociolingüística de la forma pronominal El trabajo femenino en el banquillo de los acusados; ¿Mamá, amasa la masa?; Escalas de medición en las ciencias sociales;  La trastienda de la investigación; El quehacer de la investigación en educación; La vida cotidiana en las nuevas familias; Familia, trabajo y género. Un mundo de nuevas relaciones; Vivir en familia; Del deber ser y el hacer de las mujeres.

Iván Matovich, Universidad de San Andrés

Iván Matovich is Education Sciences BA Hons from the School of Education of San Andres University. He has worked as a research assistant in “Training Researchers” programme directed by Catalina Wainerman. He worked as an evaluation consultant in diverse education programmes. Furthermore, he has worked in the “Teaching Improvement Programme” San Martin National University (Buenos Aires, Argentina).



How to Cite

Wainerman, C., & Matovich, I. (2016). Data and performativity in doctoral education: Information gaps and suggestions for overcoming them. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 24, 124.




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