Hringborðsumræður II

Háskóli Íslands

Kl. 8:30-10:00

The complex nature of doctoral studies at the University of Iceland 

Moderator: Sue Gollifer, adjunct SOE  

Main speakers: Allyson Macdonald, professor SOE; Flora Tietgen, PhD candidate; Dr. Auður Magndís Auðardóttir, postdoctoral researcher; Katrín Ólafsdóttir, PhD candidate 

In this session, we address two concerns related to the doctoral studies at the University of Iceland: first, the complexities of the doctoral candidate-supervisor relationship, and second, the difference between the Ed.D. and the Ph.D. in light of changes in doctoral studies, and educational systems and society at large. We start with a presentation of what doctoral candidates at the University of Iceland value most in communications with their supervisor and where they feel improvements can be made. The 148 voices of doctoral candidates are drawn from qualitative survey data. Findings show that doctoral candidates value most, an available, encouraging and supportive supervisor who provides a sense of autonomy while giving quality feedback. Candidates experiencing inactive, disorganised, and dismissive and/or overly controlling supervisors express dissatisfaction, anxiety and stress. These patterns are similar across the University’s five schools. Based on these findings we suggest that doctoral candidates be allocated an ombudsman and that supervisors get increased support and training. 

We then focus on the doctoral programme at the School of Education. We provide a background of the programme and explain the three different options offered: the PhD by thesis, the PhD by publication and the EdD, a professional doctorate (which can be done either as a single monograph or by publication). We provide an overview of past and current courses and discuss how the structure of the doctoral programme is a manifestation of established schools of thought, shifting education policy and practice and affiliations to academics and/or institutions in different country contexts. We suggest that ad hoc changes to the doctoral programme risk diluting important differences between the three modes of doctoral degrees. A focused review of the SoE doctoral programme would ensure doctoral students make right choices as regards the mode of study and supervisors are aware of the type of professional guidance needed to produce quality contributions to scientific knowledge and society. 

 

The complexities of the doctoral candidate-supervisor relationship: Voices of candidates at the University of Iceland  

Flora Tietgen, PhD student, School of Education, UI, Auður Magndís Auðardóttir, postdoctoral researcher, School of Education, UI and Katrín Ólafsdóttir, PhD student, School of Education, UI 

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 experience a stressful working environment and that one of the most important factors influencing this is their 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. This aim is achieved by analysing qualitative survey data from 148 PhD students at the University of Iceland. Findings show that what doctoral candidates value the most is an available, encouraging and supportive supervisor who gives their candidate a sense of autonomy while still providing quality feedback on their work. Candidates that experience inactive, disorganised, dismissive and/or overly controlling supervisors state 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 should be allocated an ombudsman and that supervisors be provided with increased support and training.