The disciplinary context
While institutions set the framework for doctoral studies, those studies have historically usually been undertaken within a single academic discipline. Indeed, part of the definition of the doctorate has been to make an original contribution to knowledge and understanding within the candidate’s discipline. But different disciplines have different paradigms of research, which in turn are reflected in different conceptions of what constitutes an original contribution and in different ways of organising and conducting doctoral studies. So supervisors need to be aware of the disciplinary context, particularly in so far as it relates to the criteria for what is appropriate as a research project and to their roles and responsibilities and those of the candidates.