A Study on Experiences of Students and Graduates of the University of Tehran on Exercising Power in the Research Process

Document Type : Scientific - Research


1 PhD in Higher Education Development Planning, Department of Education, Faculty of Education and Psychology, Shahid Beheshti University, Tehran, Iran

2 Associate Professor of Education Department, Faculty of Education and Psychology, Shahid Beheshti University, Tehran, Iran

3 Assistant Professor of Education Department, Faculty of Education and Psychology, Shahid Beheshti University, Tehran, Iran


Objective: Academic research is usually done in groups, teams and collaboratively. Researchers in this process have different identities, positions, abilities, personality types, desires and aspirations. Hence, power relations and inequalities in this process are its inherent characteristics. Since the students in terms of power, mainly with respect to other actors such as professors and administrators are less powerful, it is important to understand their experiences than other actors. Therefore, the main purpose of the research is to identify evidences of the exercise of power in the research process, based on the views of students and graduates.
Materials and Methods: Since the exploration and description of the experiences of students and graduates from the exercise of power in the research process has been the purpose of the research, the research plan is qualitative using descriptive phenomenological method. In this research, graduate students have formed the study population. The sampling method of the present study is non-targeted and criterion-based. Based on this, students and graduates participated in this research to have the criterion of team research experience, availability and agreement to conduct the interview. A semi-structured interview was conducted with 19 students and graduates of the University of Tehran. In order to analyze the data, the Stokes-Colaizzi-Kane analysis method was used.
Discussion and Conclusion: Students and graduates of the University of Tehran understood Exercising Power in the Research Process through collusion, misbehavior, discrimination and injustice, bullying, abuse of position, breach, inadequate/ inappropriate supervision, and immoral authorship. According to the research findings, the selection of a supervisor through department lobbying, zigzag authorship, factionalism in accepting articles in research journals, are the most important sub-themes of the collusion; maximum student participation and maximum benefit of the professor from the research privilege and exploitation of the student by the professor are the most important sub-themes describing bullying in the research process; abusing the student by the professor because of his or her ability to write articles, abusing the student's respect for him or her to determine the order of the authors by the professor, abusing the student's need for research by the professor, the referee's biased interference in student references, immoral acquisition of authorship credibility by the professor and default presence of the head of department in all theses or dissertations are the most important sub-themes of position abuse; inadequate guidance of the supervisor, lack of study of the dissertation by the referee and lack of the supervisor mastery on the subject of research are the most important sub-themes of inadequate/inappropriate supervision; the professor discrimination between students based on his or her feeling indebted to a student and injustice in the dissertation score are two sub-themes of discrimination and injustice; the nominal authorship of the professor by the student, the salvation articles and their fictitious names, the nominal role of the supervisor, adding the ghost author by the supervisor, and removing authors of the research are the most important sub-themes describing immoral authorship. Since students {and graduates} are one of the most important actors in the research process, their understanding of the exercise of power in this process should be considered; Because not paying attention to how they feel and understand about such events may lead to changes or deviations from research policies. Thus, the need to pay attention to open policy-making in higher education and to listen to the voices of all academic actors, including students and graduates, and to involve them in the higher education policy-making process doubles.


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