The Value of Design Thinking for PhD Students: A Retrospective Longitudinal Study

Guilherme Victorino, Pedro S. Coelho, Roberto Henriques


Doctoral studies are changing worldwide, with growing concerns about doctoral graduates' employability and ability to develop relevant links with industrial challenges. The present study aims examine the impact of Design Thinking skills on PhD students on their future academic and professional performance. Drawing on 7 years of pedagogical experimentation, we conducted a mixed methods longitudinal study to investigate the perceptions of students who attended a two-day Design Thinking workshop. Two questionnaires, with a total of 40 items measuring the quality and course impact dimensions, were given to 415 and 41 students, respectively. Finally, 12 students were chosen for in-depth interviews to learn more about how they applied their newly acquired design thinking skills in their research and work. Our findings show that developing Design Thinking skills impacts the professional lives of students of all fields of knowledge, ages, and stages of their PhD. The primary outcomes mentioned are associated with increased creative confidence and collaboration abilities. This study focuses on relevant dimensions for designing and delivering Design Thinking skills within doctoral programmes, as well as the impact of design thinking on the quality of PhD education and student employability opportunities.


Doi: 10.28991/ESJ-2023-SIED2-02

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Doctoral Education; Design Thinking; Employability; Transferable Skills; Integrative Learning; PhD Pedagogy; Teaching; Learning.


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DOI: 10.28991/ESJ-2023-SIED2-02


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