Collaborative research in the doctorate: Benefits and challenges from a case study

Irene López Secanell, Georgina Llobet Bernaus, Quim Bonastra Tolós, Glòria Jové Monclús


This article proposes to show the benefits and challenges of collaboration in research processes. We start from the account of the experience of two directors and two doctoral students to problematize the academic regulations for which doctoral theses in traditional modalities be signed individually. A qualitative case study methodology is used to analyze the autobiographical accounts and the field diaries of the doctoral students, as well as the fragments of the field diaries of the two thesis supervisors. The results show first-hand narrated experiences about both the meaning and lived experience of developing two collaborative theses. The researchers detected four benefits, which at the same time are challenges, that emerge from the fact of working in a collaborative way and narrating together. First, we find the ability to transcend individuality and create collective knowledge. This finding leads to the second, related to the need to create an atmosphere of trust, and the third, the creation and use of the same language; which relate to the fourth, goodness and the challenge of treating the information collaboratively. Given the importance of developing research where collaboration is increasingly common, this experience concludes the need to highlight inconsistencies between the legal framework regarding doctoral theses and the acquisition of a doctoral degree and the needs involved with current collaborative investigations.


educational researchers; collaborative writing; doctoral theses; autobiographical account; higher education


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Copyright (c) 2021 Irene López Secanell, Georgina Llobet Bernaus, Quim Bonastra Tolós, Glòria Jové Monclús

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