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Vicki Webster

The chapter discusses the support received by the author from her PhD supervisors. Overall the level of support has been good, when available. The key difficulty is not being able to access the support needed during the stages of the thesis when it is most required. As the author works full time and studies part time, the thesis is fitted around work projects and other commitments. Progress tends to stall during critical stages of study design, data collection or analysis, when an urgent issue needs to be addressed. The chapter explores the background to this problem and recounts what happened, before looking at the role of peer networks to augment supervision. It also summarises some positive aspects of the author’s supervision experience, before ending with a few lessons learned. The author reflects that different levels of structure and support were required from her supervisors throughout her doctoral journey.

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Vicki Webster

After many years of racking my brain for a research topic, I finally found one I could engage with for 8 years of part-time study. Finding a university and supervisor was relatively straightforward and, as it was a research-only qualification, I could incorporate my study into my career as a management consultant working for a large global company. As my diary was dictated by my clients’ needs, I was used to 60+ hours working weeks, including working on the weekend and juggling competing priorities – so how hard could it be? I approached my study with the same planning processes I applied to work projects. I prepared my literature review over six months. I already had access to data that I could analyse for my confirmation (a university process to get approval to proceed with my doctorate research).