Skip navigation
Scholarly Communication

Using personal development planning for career development with research scientists in sub-Saharan Africa

McCullough, Hazel (2010) Using personal development planning for career development with research scientists in sub-Saharan Africa. Doctoral thesis, University of Liverpool.

PDF - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution No Derivatives.



This research study evaluated the use of Personal Development Planning (PDP) as a strategy to help a group of ten doctoral and fourteen postdoctoral research scientists, based in eight developing countries in Africa, enhance and progress their career development. To achieve this, a PDP system, with built-in tools and support systems was developed specifically for this purpose. Using an Action Research approach, within a framework adapted from Kirkpatrick’s “Four Levels of Evaluation” the research study evaluated the PDP system, tools and processes; and from lessons learned developed a transferable system and tools for future use with research scientists based in these and other developing countries in Africa. The study explored the following questions: (1) How do these research scientists feel about using PDP, the system and tools? (2) What is being done differently as a result of engaging with PDP – are there any learning gains, and are they applied in practice? (3) To what extent has PDP helped these research scientists feel confident about planning and managing their career development? (4) How far is it feasible to implement PDP more widely with other research scientists in Africa? Using both quantitative and qualitative data from the Group’s PDP documentation, questionnaires, nominal group technique, an online focus group discussion, and semi-structured interviews, the main study findings showed that overall the majority of the group felt that PDP made a positive contribution to helping them enhance and progress their career development; and was successful in helping them to feel confident about planning and managing their career development and progression. Given the focus and limited time, the study does not evaluate the broader impact that engagement with PDP might have on career progression. A longitudinal, follow up study would be needed to evaluate this aspect of PDP in relation to career development in Africa. The data showed that PDP is a concept that can be transferred successfully to developing country settings in Africa. It also indicated that, with the essential support elements of personal support, financial support, time and institutional support built into a PDP programme, it would be feasible to implement PDP with a similar group of research scientists in Africa. Further studies are needed to evaluate feasibility of implementing this strategy more widely in countries in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Uncontrolled Keywords:Personal Development Planning (PDP); Sub-Saharan Africa; career development; capacity development; malaria research; learning and engaging with PDP; PDP evaluation and career development; developing PDP systems and tools
Subjects:L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2300 Higher Education
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine
Departments, Research Centres and Related Units:Academic Faculties, Institutes and Research Centres > Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine
ID Code:2973
Deposited On:29 Nov 2011 15:01
Last Modified:29 Nov 2011 15:01

Repository Staff Only: item control page


Full text only
Peer reviewed only

Cross Archive Search
Top 50 authors
Top 50 items
[more statistics]

These pages are maintained by Library Staff @ University of Liverpool Library


All pages © The University of Liverpool, 2004 | Disclaimer | Accessibility | Staff | Students