How to Keep your Doctorate on Track
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How to Keep your Doctorate on Track

Insights from Students’ and Supervisors’ Experiences

Edited by Keith Townsend, Mark N.K. Saunders, Rebecca Loudoun and Emily A. Morrison

The path of a doctoral student can feel challenging and isolating. This guide provides doctoral students with key ideas and support to kick-start a doctoral journey, inspire progress and complete their thesis or dissertation. Featuring observations from experienced supervisors, as well as the reflections of current and recent postgraduate researchers, this intimate and entertaining book offers vital insights into the critical moments in any doctoral experience.
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Chapter 22: No book or resource has all the answers

Rebecca Loudoun


‘No, I don’t have all the answers.’ This is the most common feedback I give to students in the first year of their doctorate. It is my experience that, until students take ownership of their doctorate (and I was certainly guilty of this as a student too), they think their supervisors have (or should have) all the answers. I sometimes thought my supervisors were simply hiding the answers from me because they wanted me to find them; I thought their feedback was largely intended to take me down a path to find that answer they already knew. I felt quite resentful at times about this, and I often get this feeling from my students when they receive feedback. It is as if they feel I am testing them or giving them unnecessary tasks or have changed my mind about something simply to add to their development as a student.

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