Negotiating a ‘Scary Gap’: Doctoral Candidates, ‘Writing Up’ Qualitative Data and the Contemporary Supervisory Relationship

Robin Humphrey, Bob Simpson


The complex task of ‘writing up’ qualitative data provides difficulties and challenges for both doctoral candidates and their supervisors, which can often result in detrimental effects on the supervisory relationship. These effects can be heightened by the pressures currently felt by supervisors, not least to ensure their supervisees submit in a timely fashion. We argue here that these pressures are in part responsible for a shift in supervisory pedagogy from a relational to a processual grounding. This article addresses some of the consequences of these effects via analysis of interviews with doctoral candidates and their supervisors from a series of interdisciplinary research training workshops in the UK designed to provide help for doctoral candidates engaged in writing up qualitative data. In these workshops doctoral candidates came together briefly for a residential workshop along with peers at the same stage of the doctoral cycle who were away from their institutional homes. We discuss the relationship between process and relationality and how a workshop of this kind might impact on writing and help with timely submission.

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Journal of Education and Training Studies  ISSN 2324-805X (Print)   ISSN 2324-8068 (Online)

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