Let’s help ‘stressed PhD Students’: Designing-in pedagogies of self-care

The Supervision Whisperers

This post is by Kay Guccione (@kayguccione), who works at the University of Sheffield where she designs mentoring and coaching programmes for research staff and students. She is researching trust and the supervision relationship and tweets about supervision from @predoctorbility.

Discussion ofacademic workloads, measurement culture, and the impact of stress onmental health, andwellbeing has seen some recent andwelldeserved attention.Many of us have known in an uncoordinated,experiential, day-to-day wayaboutacademic strainand stress for a while,through doing, supervising, or supporting research work. Those of us to whom doctoral researchers turn when they’re stressed, areglad to see the mental healthneeds of an at risk group of peoplebeing better documented and championed.

But aside from saying ‘see,ain’t it awful’ — what do we do now we have the proof that the PhD is statisticallysignificantlystressful?

We can design in pedagogies of self-care; creating a (new) academic priority

Calls forraising awareness of stress symptoms and…

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أن تعيش بالحد الأدنى


*تصوير خالد بشير

وسط سيل من أخبار رفع الرسوم والضرائب الأخيرة، التي تصدّرت أحاديث الأردنيين منذ مطلع العام الحالي، مرّ خبرٌ آخرٌ مرور الكرام بدون أن يلفت نظر كثيرين، وهو خبر رفع الحكومة الحد الأدنى للأجور للأردنيين من 190 دينارًا إلى 220 دينارًا.

أصبح هذا القرار نافذًا ابتداءً من شهر آذار الفائت، ولكنّ كثيرين ممن يفترض أن يستهدفهم لم يأبهوا به، إما لأنهم لم يصلوا في سابق عهدهم للحد الأدنى السابق، ولم تطال عيون مفتشي وزارة العمل أرباب عملهم يومًا على الرغم من هذه المخالفة القانونية الصريحة، أو لأنهم يعتقدون أن هذا الرقم لا يزال مدعاة للسخرية، فهو بالكاد يلبي حاجاتهم الأساسية.

التقت حبر بثلاث نساء، يتقاضين الحد الأدنى أو ما دونه، يروين كيف تتأقلم عائلاتهنّ مع هذا الرقم وتتدبر مصاريفها الشهرية الأساسية، بعد «البركة» التي ذكرها أغلبها مرارًا وتكرارًا لوصف حالتها.

عمل 365 يومًا في السنة

صحيح أن يوم الجمعة هو يوم العطلة الرسمية الوحيدة الممنوحة لها، ولكن سهر، والتي…

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What does it mean to ‘theorise’ research?

DoctoralWriting SIG

By Cally Guerin

Researchers, and especially those working on doctorates, are advised that their work needs to be much more than a description; they must also ‘theorise’ their work. Many of us are a little unsure about what this really means, especially when instructed to ‘theorise your practice’, so here is my attempt to try and define it.

Doctoral writers generally need to tie their research to existing, well-established theories, for example, feminist theory, attachment theory, social constructivist theory. Such theories act as a lens through which the research is perceived, and often determine the direction and focus of the research.

But on another level, doctoral writers are also required to ‘theorise’ their findings. This second kind of ‘theorising’ demands that the writer step away from the mass of details to enable a big-picture view of data in order to understand its broader meanings.

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Enjoying your viva

The Thesis Whisperer

The Viva – a live presentation of your thesis to examiners – is not common in Australia. Our thesis examination is a blind peer review process, which has its own fears, but nothing like the anxiety that a viva can provoke. Horror stories tend to circulate, which is why I was happy to be sent this post by a student who preferred to remain anonymous.

“I had my doctoral viva. And I enjoyed it.”

Yes, what you are reading is indeed true. I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of my 3 3/4 hour viva voce. But it wasn’t just me. Both of my examiners also enjoyed the experience.
Why was this the case and what lessons does it hold?
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFrom handing in my thesis until my viva, I was overcome by a crippling state of anxiety. I had heard all of the horror stories: people having their work rubbished, examiners proclaiming…

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