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The role of gratitude in enhancing the relationship between doctoral research students and their supervisors


Howells, K and Stafford, KE and Guijt, R and Breadmore, M, The role of gratitude in enhancing the relationship between doctoral research students and their supervisors, Teaching in Higher Education, 22, (6) pp. 621-638. ISSN 1356-2517 (2017) [Refereed Article]

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Copyright 2016 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group

DOI: doi:10.1080/13562517.2016.1273212


While increasing attention is being placed on the crucial importance of a positive supervisor–student relationship, few studies have investigated how to enhance this. Our paper investigates the effect of gratitude practices, proposing it brings both focus and intentionality to the student–supervisor relationship resulting in better research outcomes and, by implication, a positive impact on attrition rates. Recent research has demonstrated that increased attention to gratitude can enhance relational well-being, but only a few studies investigate the role of gratitude in the higher education context. This qualitative case study explores the impact of gratitude as an intervention, following eight Ph.D. students and their two supervisors, in the schools of physical sciences, and medicine over a six-week period of focused attention on practices of gratitude. Findings revealed that all participants noted a positive impact in the areas of communication, social and emotional well-being, as well as on the research process itself.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:gratitude, resilience, motivation, HDR supervision, positive psychology
Research Division:Education
Research Group:Education systems
Research Field:Higher education
Objective Division:Education and Training
Objective Group:Other education and training
Objective Field:Other education and training not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Howells, K (Dr Kerry Howells)
UTAS Author:Stafford, KE (Ms Karen Stafford)
UTAS Author:Guijt, R (Dr Rosanne Guijt)
UTAS Author:Breadmore, M (Professor Michael Breadmore)
ID Code:113623
Year Published:2017
Web of Science® Times Cited:19
Deposited By:Education
Deposited On:2017-01-09
Last Modified:2018-05-29

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