Prøitz, T. & Wittek, L. (2019). New directions in doctoral programmes: Bridging tensions between theory and practice?
The development of new types of doctoral education in the last decades is part of a comprehensive trend in higher education. This trend has increased the number of research students, developed new markets, and consolidated links between research and practice. This article explores the experiences of candidates and supervisors in doctoral programmes in Sweden, Denmark, and Norway. The study draws on empirical information from interviews, survey data and document analysis. It shows how the new doctorates are heralded as instruments for strengthening the links between researchers and practitioners and between theory and practice. The study also displays how doctoral programmes are plagued by structural, organisational, and conceptual vagueness; tensions embedded in the theory-practice dimension are left to the candidates to be solved. This study discusses how these tensions may affect the professional identity formation of the candidates and its implications for the development of new directions in doctoral education.