Liminal space or in limbo? Post Graduate Researchers and their personal pie charts of identity


  • Martin Compton University of Greenwich
  • Danielle Tran University of Greenwich



posgraduate, research, PhD, GTA, PGR, identity


How do postgraduate researchers (PGRs) see themselves at the start of their PhD journey?  There is a duality of identity or even a triality when it comes to PGRs, since they exist in a space that is simultaneously researcher, student, and often ‘teacher’ in the broad sense of supporting other students in their learning.  This report draws on data from a source originally not intended to be one: personal pie charts of identity. The activity was originally conceived as a warmer or discussion prompt for ensuing focus groups (four separate groups all completing a Teaching, Learning and Assessment strand of the mandatory elements of their PhDs). However, the pie charts themselves provided surprising insights. The pie charts presented here show considerable variance in the ways they see themselves within the academic community and raise issues about the implications for them as they exist and traverse the spaces within and between these multiple identities.

Author Biographies

Martin Compton, University of Greenwich

Senior Lecturer in Teaching, Learning and Professional Development

Danielle Tran, University of Greenwich

Senior Lecturer in Teaching, Learning and Professional Development


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