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Call for Participants - Former Warwick Doctoral Students

We are seeking participants for our research study:

  • graduates who studied for their doctoral degree at Warwick (PhD or professional doctorate e.g. EdD),
  • who navigated reasonable adjustments due to e.g. disability during their studies, and
  • who have completed their studies and had any corrections confirmed.

The Mitigation and Adjustment for Doctoral Education (MADE) project, which is being led by Dr James BurfordLink opens in a new window (Department of Education Studies, University of Warwick), is funded by the Research England Enhancing Research Culture Fund. You can read more about the project on the project home page: MADELink opens in a new window. 

This aspect of the study seeks to understand the experiences of Warwick doctoral graduates in relation to Reasonable Adjustments (due to e.g. disability), particularly during assessments (upgrade, viva) and during their doctoral experience as a whole. 

Reasonable adjustments (RAs) are adjustments that are made to educational conditions in the light of disability. RA expectations are established in The Equality Act 2010 ( opens in a new window), which requires universities as public institutions to make RAs where a student/staff member who is disabled would be at a substantial disadvantage in comparison to someone who is not disabled, where ‘disabled’ is defined as ‘a physical or mental impairment that has a substantial and long-term negative effect on the ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities’.

Participation involves: one narrative interview (approx. 1 hour) online via Teams/in-person with a member of the research team, Dr James Burford, Dr Sarah Dahl, Dr Emily Henderson, Dr Meanu Bajwa-Patel, Felicity McKee, or Jess Moody. The interview will involve telling the story of navigating reasonable adjustments during doctoral assessment and the doctoral journey more broadly.

Eligibility criteria:

  • Graduate of any doctoral programme at Warwick (viva/final assessment completed, any corrections confirmed).
  • Completed the doctorate from 2019 onwards.
  • Navigated reasonable adjustments in relation to the viva – may have been officially recognised by Disability Services, or informally navigated within the department.

Doctoral researchers are integral to institutional research culture. However, due to their ‘in between’ position as both students and researchers, they can fall through the cracks of institutional policies and processes drawn up for Undergraduate and Post-graduate students.  Through research to understand the experiences of doctoral students and relevant staff, we aim to develop an evidence base that identifies required changes at the institutional level to ensure RA and Mitigating Circumstances policies and processes are effective.  

If you are interested in participating in this study, please email Dr Meanu Bajwa-Patel ( opens in a new window)  to discuss this further.  We would also be grateful if you would circulate this appeal to your networks.