Studentship opportunity

Career information literacy and decision-making behaviours of young people

This studentship is funded by the ESRC and Skills Development Scotland through the Scottish Graduate School of the Social Sciences

Edinburgh Napier University
Science, Technology and Innovation Studies and Information and Communication Studies
Mode of study

Full time / Part time

Application deadline
22nd March 2019

Project details

The main aim of this doctoral study is to generate new knowledge on career development learning with reference to decision-making amongst young people in S2-S6 (aged 12-18) who are preparing for their lives beyond school education. As well as developing theoretical insight, the findings will contribute to the effective design and delivery of enhanced careers services that take into account the means by which these young people recognise, respond to, and make decisions about varied learning and career opportunities.

Recognising the crucial role of information in career decision-making, the focus of the work is the identification of means of enhancing career information literacy amongst young people as key to their career development learning, and to their future career success in the challenging employment environment of the Information Society.

Mixed multi-methods will be deployed to gather and analyse data to address five research questions:

RQ1: How do young people recognise, respond to, and make decisions about the varied learning and career opportunities (e.g. vocational versus academic) available to them?

RQ2: To what extent have the responses of young people to information on different career pathways (e.g. modern/foundation/graduate apprenticeships, academic) changed over time?

RQ3: How can career information literacy be developed amongst young people so that they are best equipped to engage effectively in career development learning and career decision-making?

RQ4: How should information on career development be delivered to young people for the best outcomes?

RQ5: How do variables related to demographics of young people (e.g. gender) and features of information (e.g. format) influence career decision-making behaviours?

It is anticipated that this research will furnish improved understanding of current levels of career agency amongst young people in respect of their decision-making. Furthermore it will provide recommendations for implementation that will lead to improved confidence and self-efficacy. The capacity for lifelong learning amongst this population will also be enhanced due to improved skills in critical thinking, reflection, research capability, problem solving, social engagement, and professional engagement.

About the institution

The Centre for Social Informatics (CSI) is situated within the School of Computing at Edinburgh Napier University. The research undertaken by the staff and research students within CSI provides critical perspectives on sociotechnical interactions across a range of subject areas. These include democratic digital engagement, e-government, information policy, information seeking behaviour and use, knowledge management, the Information Society, online communities, and open data and open government. Currently CSI research students are conducting doctoral research on topics such as the social impact of youth digital engagement, workplace learning and innovative work behaviour, the value of the census to policy making, and the role of public libraries in the development of citizenship. CSI has a track record of supervising SDS collaborative studentships with one completion to date, and another in 2019. Both of these candidates secured employment by the end of their funding period: one in the NHS, and the other with the Scottish Government.


We are interested in receiving applications for the studentship on a full-time or a part-time basis. Your eligibility to apply will depend on your current level of degree qualification, prior training in advanced research methods, and your ability to meet the additional criteria for the studentship award. If you hold, or are nearing successful completion of, a Masters degree in a social science subject which includes 60 credits of research training, you may be eligible to apply for the fully-funded PhD programme: 3 year full-time; 5 year part-time. If you do not hold a Masters qualification and are not currently working towards one (or the Masters degree that you hold/are working towards does not include 60 credits of research methods training), you will be required to undertake an approved Masters-level research training programme for one year before transferring to this PhD programme. This route is also fully funded, i.e. you will be funded for the approved Masters-level research training programme and for the PhD. In addition to the above, you must meet the following eligibility criteria:
  1. Hold a good first degree (2.1 or first class).
  2. Demonstrate in interest in, and knowledge of, the broad theme of the studentship as described above.
  3. Have a good grounding in social research, including both qualitative and quantitative methods, with a keen desire to develop this further.
  4. Demonstrate an excellent level of spoken and written English.
We are particularly interested in receiving applications from those with qualifications in subjects such as: Careers; Education; Information Management; Information Science; Information Systems; Knowledge Management; Management; Organisational Studies; Psychology; Science, Technology and Innovation Studies, Social Research; and Sociology. However, this is not a requirement: if you have a qualification in another social science subject and meet the criteria listed above, we would still be keen to hear from you.

Students must meet ESRC eligibility criteria. ESRC eligibility information can be found here.

Award details

The scholarship is available as a +3 or a 1+3 programme depending on prior research training.  This will be assessed as part of the recruitment process.  The programme will commence in October 2019.  It includes
  • an annual maintenance grant at the RCUK rate (2019/20 rate £15,009 full-time)
  • fees at the standard Home rate
  • students can also draw on a pooled Research Training Support Grant, usually up to a maximum of £750 per year

Other information

A criminal record check (Disclosure Scotland Protecting Vulnerable Groups for work with young people) will be required prior to the award of the scholarship being confirmed for the candidate selected from the recruitment process. For further information about the Centre for Social Informatics, please see For further information about this studentship, please contact Professor Hazel Hall at

How to apply

  1. Please register on GradHub at and complete the equal opportunities data (as a requirement of the application process)
  2. Please complete and upload the prescribed list of required documentation to include:
  • Your completed application form
  • Your academic transcripts
  • References
  • Your CV
  1. Please submit your application through GradHub

Selection process

Applications will be ranked by a selection panel and applicants will be notified if they have been shortlisted for interview by Wednesday 27th March 2019. Interviews will take place on Thursday 11th April 2019. All scholarship awards are subject to candidates successfully securing admission to a PhD programme within Edinburgh Napier University. Successful scholarship applicants will be invited to apply for admission to the relevant PhD programme after they are selected for funding.

Supervisor/Contact details

Professor Hazel Hall