A1 Journal article (refereed), original research

Mentoring PhD students working in industry: Using hermeneutics as a critical approach to the experience

Open Access hybrid publication

Publication Details
Authors: Vauterin Johanna Julia, Virkki-Hatakka Terhi
Publisher: SAGE Publications (UK and US)
Publication year: 2020
Language: English
Related Journal or Series Information: Industry and Higher Education
ISSN: 0950-4222
eISSN: 2043-6858
JUFO-Level of this publication: 1
Open Access: Open Access hybrid publication


While there is abundant research looking at the impact of mentoring in academic environments, inquiry into and the construction of knowledge from the experience of mentors has remained limited. This is mainly because of the methodological difficulty that is inherent in the study of mentoring experiences. The authors address this difficulty by using hermeneutics as a research method, and developing a learning framework based on the Laurillard conversational framework to reflect on a mentor’s journey throughout her experience of mentoring a group of PhD students working in industry. From this we learn that mentoring working PhDs is a common goal focused learning partnership between all actors involved. This partnership is defined by the actors and the forms of interaction within the partnership, and is enabled by the mentor’s availability and capabilities. The paper also demonstrates how hermeneutics can be used as a robust research method to study the many subjective meanings of professional mentoring – meanings that are challenging to translate into transferable knowledge for ourselves and others to learn from. In particular, the authors wish to encourage colleagues and readers to use hermeneutics as a critical approach to explore complex, human-made academic–industrial collaborative mentoring practices from different perspectives and to produce a new understanding of the potential of alternative academic–industrial collaboration links.

Research Areas

Last updated on 2020-30-11 at 08:31