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Learning Approach

This section outlines the main pedagogical aspects by which our doctoral programmes are designed:

  1. Use of scientific inquiry
  2. Learning through and from exposure
  3. Learning through constant engagement with the literature
  4. Learning from research scoping lectures

1. Use of scientific inquiry as the principle pedagogical approach

DoctorateHub doctoral programmes apply the principles of scientific inquiry and follow the essential features of classroom inquiry as outlined by the National Research Council (2000):

  1. Use of scientifically oriented questions.
  2. Giving priority to evidence in responding to questions.
  3. Formulation of explanations from evidence.
  4. Connection of explanations to scientific knowledge.
  5. Clear and logical communication and justification of the explanations.

Students are provided with a pre-defined set of instructional and learning materials but will be expected to make extent use of (self-selected) information, such as scientific publications, databases, and other secondary data.

2. Learning through and from exposure

DoctorateHub doctoral programmes acknowledge the potential to learn as a result of exposure (Unger & Sloutsky, 2022). Our programmes are structured in a way that maximises the exposure of the student to a wide number of scientific experts, as well as to learn from and with their peers.

This is a tremendous opportunity for the students to gain perspectives and to benchmark their work against the one of their peers. This will allow students to gradually mature into an independent researcher, to learn about the do´s and don´ts of scientific research, about what is reasonable and what is unrealistic, and what is up to the standard and what not.

DoctorateHub doctoral programmes are comprised of nine modules that take students through the doctoral journey start to finish.

There are 6 modules that comprise advanced courses, each with a duration of two months, that will be given by a scientific expert on the different phases of planning and executing scientific research projects.

There are 3 modules that make use of mentored periods, each with a duration of two months, during the critical research preparation and execution phases where students will be assigned a personal mentor with expertise in the student’s research project scientific area.

Each of the nine modules comprises a period dedicated to self-directed development in the study clubs, each period lasting for two months (six month for part time), where students engage with their cohort chair in weekly live video-orientation sessions and receive written feedback on their drafts.

Students will attend 9 conferences, one at the end of each of the nine study modules, where they will present their work to two experts from the scientific committee.


National Research Council, (2000). Inquiry and the National Science Education Standards - A Guide for Teaching and Learning. Available from

Unger, L., & Sloutsky, V. M. (2022). Ready to Learn: Incidental Exposure Fosters Category Learning. Psychological Science, 33(6), 999–1019.

3. Learning through constant engagement with the literature

The nature of the literature review

The literature review process is not a one-time-off activity, but a continuous process that accompanies the student from start to finish. What changes over time is, however, the purpose on why to engage with the literature, as well as the motivation for what one is seeking.

At the initial stage (around Module 1) the literature primarily provides perspectives and a theoretical underpinning about the wider research field.

Once the research problem becomes clearer (around Module 2) the literature is read with a view on the identification of related research, what is already known, and how this knowledge was created.

At that point in time (around Module 3) the literature takes on a crucial role in the scoping and shaping of one’s own research project by building on related studies and therefore in a structured manner and to advance the existing state of the art.

As such, the literature guides the researcher (around Module 4) on how to conduct the research, to collect data, build on established practice, and understand what could go wrong and what mitigations might be taken.

Once the data has been collected the literature then serves as a mean to critically analyse the data against the existing knowledge from within the literature (around Module 5).

While in the later stages (from Module 6 onwards) the literature takes on a less prominent role, there still will be a continued engagement with the literature and with a view of benchmarking one’s work and to stay informed on how the research field progresses. At that point in time the literature is perhaps less relevant for the doctoral thesis research project, but more relevant for the personal development as a knowledgeable scholar.

Module specific versus research specific literature

The students are expected to engage with both, module specific and research specific literature. Module level readings apply to all students and are geared to take the students through the research cycle. In addition to this, the students are also expected to engage with specific business literature within the field of their respective research project. The identification of research specific literature is an active element within the interaction with the cohort chairs, course tutors, mentors, club chairs and, notably, the supervisor.

4. Learning from Research Scoping Lectures

The DoctorateHub has been running research scoping lectures since 2017 and build up over these years a repository with well above 100 recorded sessions (see that cover all aspects of doctoral research generally and business related research specifically. These resources are tightly integrated in the DBA programme and its modules.

During the first three modules research scoping lectures are used as a mean to introduce the student to:

  1. Research foundational topics

    To allow students a smooth entry into the doctoral programmes a set of research scoping lectures will be provided to students within the first three modules. A set of pre-selected topics is included in the Module descriptions. Additional topics will be covered upon students’ request and identified student needs and interests.

    During the modules four to nine research scoping lectures will be organised alongside common focal points of research, such as on research methodologies, data collection techniques, critical analytics, writing skills, research presentation and communication, etc.

  2. The faculty and subject matter expertise

    The DoctorateHub faculty members will run research scoping lectures where they introduce their research fields to provide students with a perspective on how to develop their research. The lectures will also serve as a mean for students and faculty members to get to know each other and therefore to support the matching of students and future supervisors.

    The typical duration of research scoping lectures is 45 to 90 minutes with the first half of the session taking a lecturing format and the other half being reserved to a group discussion.

    Research scoping lectures are expected to take place on average each second week (4 weeks for part time).

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