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Navigating Your Doctorate Journey at The DaVinci Institute

Taking the plunge into a doctoral programme is both exhilarating and challenging, filled with numerous questions like, "What happens after my application?" Here's a snapshot to guide you through your transformative journey at The DaVinci Institute.

After completing your application to one of our Doctoral programmes, you may wonder, “What now?”

Well, let’s start at the very beginning. After completing your admission, your dedicated Programme Convener will invite you to the onboarding. The onboarding phase consists of a number of online sessions that will introduce you to DaVinci staff, as well as a range of concepts applicable to the DaVinci approach.

Session one will begin with a virtual meet and greet by the Executive Management team, where you can virtually meet your fellow students.

Session two will focus on understanding two important concepts related to the DaVinci approach to leadership, namely Jarche and Cynefin.

  • The Jarche Model, developed by Harold Jarche, illustrates a modern work approach. It emphasises “Seek-Sense-Share": seeking knowledge, making sense of it, and sharing insights for personal growth and effective collaboration in today’s knowledge-driven environments.

  • The Cynefin Framework, developed by Dave Snowden, is a sense-making tool for decision-making. It categorises problems into Simple, Complicated, Complex, and Chaotic domains, guiding appropriate strategies to address challenges in various contexts.

From Classroom to Real-World Solutions: Navigating 5IR with Experiential Learning

Session three will begin with an understanding of the Mode 2 and Experiential approach to learning. This will be presented with a view of the Fifth Industrial Revolution (5IR) and how your studies will impact on the National Development Plan for South Africa. By the end of the session, you will have gained new perspectives and knowledge to help you excel in your learning journey.

  • The Mode 2 approach to learning, proposed by Carl Bereiter, emphasises experiential and collaborative learning. It focuses on solving real-world problems, fostering adaptability, and promoting creativity by integrating practical experiences with theoretical knowledge in dynamic settings. Complimentary to this is the experiential learning approach, which immerses learners in hands-on experiences to grasp concepts, fostering active participation, reflection, and application. It emphasises practical knowledge acquisition and skill development through engagement with real-world situations.

  • The South African National Development Plan is a comprehensive blueprint for the country's growth. It aims for inclusive socio-economic progress, reducing inequality, and addressing key challenges through sustainable development strategies, infrastructure enhancement, and social transformation.

From Onboarding to Dissertation: Navigating the DaVinci Research Journey

The final session concludes on the fourth day with information sessions by the Library and IT support.

Once the onboarding has been completed, your access to DaVinci Connect will be up and running, where you will be able to download additional reading, templates, referencing guides, and all other resources needed to be successful in your dissertation.

Once you have had some time to make sense of your onboarding sessions and the information available on DaVinci Connect, the research support workshops will begin. The research support workshops are presented to assist you in writing your research proposal, which is essentially chapters one and three of your dissertation. The research support workshops are presented in the order of consideration of where you need to begin thinking and writing in your proposal phase. These are presented each month over a period of seven months.

Session 1: Conceptual/theoretical frameworks

  • During this informative research session, your facilitator will discuss the differences between conceptual and theoretical frameworks and how to decide which is best for your research.

Session 2: Research philosophy and paradigms – from conceptualisation to method

  • During this session, the facilitator will enable an understanding of Research Philosophy and Research Paradigms and further distinguishes between the main paradigms and how they guide you to conceptualise your study.

Session 3: Research topic, aims, and objectives

  • The facilitator helps students decide on and refine the following: a topic for research, writing the aims and objectives of the study, formulating hypotheses and/or value propositions, and formulating research questions. This stage enables students to do their 1st proposal submission of Chapter 1.

Session 4: The Dale Method: Project management (PM) & literature review methodology

  • Join Caroline Dale as you explore key elements of PM, including timelines and planning, and then delve into a comprehensive methodology to help navigate your literature review process. By the end of this session, you will have gained valuable insights and practical tools that will be key to your entire thesis process.

Session 5: Research design and methodology and specific underpinning methods

This session assists students in describing their research design, strategy, methods, procedures, and data gathering and analysis techniques. Qualitative, Quantitative, and Mixed Methods are discussed.

Session 6: TIPS Managerial Leadership Framework

  • The TIPS Managerial Leadership Framework is demystified in this session. The different pillars of the framework, the competencies, the practices of leaders, and the actualisation of a systemic perspective to your work and research are discussed in depth.

Session 7: Proposal Development

  • After the first 6 research proposal development workshops, what is next? In this last session, you will be taken through the practical steps to bring it all together. Emphasis will be on integrating all your learning and presenting a feasible proposal for summative assessment.

Feedback, Refinement, and Defense: Perfecting Your Doctoral Proposal at DaVinci

After the workshops, chapter one must be submitted for feedback. Upon receipt of your qualitative feedback, you will make your recommended changes. Should you wish to consult with a member of the research office for further insights into your feedback, your Programme Convener may arrange this for you.

Approximately two to three months after submission of chapter one, your edited chapter one, plus your first draft of chapter three, is due for submission. Both will be assessed, and feedback will be provided. Within the next two months, feedback on your draft submitted (chapters one and three) must be submitted for assessment. Proposals that achieve a mark of 60% or more will be accepted. Once the proposal is accepted, a supervisor will be appointed. After consultation with your newly appointed supervisor, you will be invited to an oral defense of your proposal. You must apply for ethical clearance once your proposal has been successfully defended. Your supervisor will guide you through this process.

The Road to a DaVinci Doctorate: From Ethical Clearance to Dissertation Defense

After your ethical clearance has been approved, you will continue on your research journey to complete the remaining chapters in consultation with your supervisor. Continuous support will be provided by your supervisor, programme convener, the research office, and research seminars presented throughout the year. You have a maximum of 6 years in which to complete your dissertation.

When you are ready to submit, you must have your ‘intention to submit’ signed off by your supervisor so that the Research Office is ready to receive your dissertation and to appoint examiners. After examination of your dissertation, you will need to defend your research in an oral defense with a panel of seasoned researchers. Once completed and final comments actioned, you will be awarded your doctorate at a live graduation ceremony in either May or October.

From Aspiration to Dr.: DaVinci's Distinguished Doctorate Degrees

Ready to start your doctorate? DaVinci offers two doctorate degrees, a Doctor of Business Leadership and a Doctor of Management in Technology and Innovation. Both result in a doctorate, the title "doctor" (Dr.), and a red gown; your research focus will determine which designation you will register for.


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