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.

Höfundar: Auður Magndís Auðardóttir, Flora Tietgen, Katrín Ólafsdóttir

Efnisorð: doctoral studies; supervisors; qualitative methods; working conditions in academia

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