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The complexities of the doctoral candidate-supervisor relationship: : Voices of candidates at the University of Iceland

The complexities of the doctoral candidate-supervisor relationship: : Voices of candidates at the University of Iceland


Title: The complexities of the doctoral candidate-supervisor relationship: : Voices of candidates at the University of Iceland
Author: Auðardóttir, Auður Magndís   orcid.org/0000-0002-3959-2731
Tietgen, Flora
Ólafsdóttir, Katrín
Date: 2022-01-07
Language: English
Scope: 21
School: Education
Department: Faculty of Education and Diversity
Series: Tímarit um uppeldi og menntun; 30(2)
ISSN: 2298-8408
DOI: https://doi.org/10.24270/tuuom.2021.7
Subject: Doktorsnám; Leiðbeinendur; Eigindlegar rannsóknir; Starfsumhverfi; Samskipti kennara og nemenda; Doctoral studies; Supervisors; Qualitative method; Working conditions in academia; Education
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11815/3238

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Citation:

Auðardóttir , A M , Tietgen , F & Ólafsdóttir , K 2022 , ' The complexities of the doctoral candidate-supervisor relationship: Voices of candidates at the University of Iceland ' , Tímarit um uppeldi og menntun , vol. 30 , no. 2 , pp. 1-21 . https://doi.org/10.24270/tuuom.2021.7

Abstract:

 
The aim of this study is to examine the complexities of the doctoral candidate–supervisor relationship within the doctoral programme at the University of Iceland through the voices of the doctoral candidates. Numerous studies suggest that doctoral candidates endure a stressful working environment and that one of the most important factors influencing this is the relationship with the supervisor. In this study we have chosen to focus on what doctoral candidates at the University of Iceland value most in communication with their supervisor and where they feel improvements can be made. Findings show that what doctoral candidates value the most is an available, encouraging and supportive supervisor who gives their candidates a sense of autonomy while still providing quality feedback on their work. Candidates who experience inactive, disorganised, dismissive and/or overly controlling supervisors indicate that these factors contribute to their dissatisfaction, anxiety and stress. These patterns are similar across all the University’s five schools. Based on these findings we suggest that doctoral candidates be allocated an ombudsman and that supervisors receive increased support and training.
 
The aim of this study is to examine the complexities of the doctoral candidate–supervisor relationship within the doctoral programme at the University of Iceland through the voices of the doctoral candidates. Numerous studies suggest that doctoral candidates endure a stressful working environment and that one of the most important factors influencing this is the relationship with the supervisor. In this study we have chosen to focus on what doctoral candidates at the University of Iceland value most in communication with their supervisor and where they feel improvements can be made. Findings show that what doctoral candidates value the most is an available, encouraging and supportive supervisor who gives their candidates a sense of autonomy while still providing quality feedback on their work. Candidates who experience inactive, disorganised, dismissive and/or overly controlling supervisors indicate that these factors contribute to their dissatisfaction, anxiety and stress. These patterns are similar across all the University’s five schools. Based on these findings we suggest that doctoral candidates be allocated an ombudsman and that supervisors receive increased support and training.
 

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