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Drowning in the shallows: an Australian study of the PhD experience of wellbeing


Beasy, K and Emery, S and Crawford, J, Drowning in the shallows: an Australian study of the PhD experience of wellbeing, Teaching in Higher Education, 26, (4) pp. 602-618. ISSN 1356-2517 (2021) [Refereed Article]

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© 2019 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group

DOI: doi:10.1080/13562517.2019.1669014


The number of students undertaking PhD studies is growing substantially; however, recent research indicates that doctoral students experience poor wellbeing outcomes during candidature. A study of doctoral student experiences at a regional Australian university (n = 222) explored some of the challenges that PhD students experience during their studies. Doctoral study requires deep sustained engagement to successfully contribute to a scholarly field, yet findings suggested that many PhD students experienced shallow supports, which they perceived as insufficient to meet their candidature needs. PhD student experiences are visualised through Bronfenbrenner’s bioecological systems model and the authors draw upon Bauman’s liquid modernity to trouble impacts of contemporary accountability and performative practices in postgraduate research. The authors propose that liquid institutional support encourages PhD student success to rest largely on self-navigation, individual resourcefulness and the ability to locate anchoring ports.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:higher education, ecological model, qualitative, wellbeing, PhD candidate experience
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:Beasy, K (Dr Kim Beasy)
UTAS Author:Emery, S (Ms Sue Emery)
UTAS Author:Crawford, J (Dr Joseph Crawford)
ID Code:135055
Year Published:2021 (online first 2019)
Web of Science® Times Cited:12
Deposited By:Education
Deposited On:2019-09-25
Last Modified:2021-11-09

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