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Making postgraduate students and supervisors aware of the role of emotions in the PhD process

Angus Morrison-Saunders
Environmental Assessment, Murdoch University
Sue Moore
Environmental Sociology, Murdoch University
David Newsome
Eco-based Tourism, Murdoch University
Amanda Smith and Kate Rodger
PhD Candidates, Murdoch University
Michael Hughes
PhD Candidate, The University of Notre Dame Australia
Emotions are an integral part of the PhD process. A range of emotions are common and to be expected. How do emotions affect the PhD process for both postgraduate students and their supervisors? How can we make our emotions work positively for us in the PhD process? To explore answers to these questions, three lecturers currently supervising postgraduates and three postgraduates at various stages in their doctoral studies collectively pooled their experiences. We developed an interactive workshop that was recently conducted for postgraduate students at Murdoch University and at the Australian Association for Social Research annual conference 2002.

This presentation will explore the role that emotions play in the PhD process and how supervisors and postgraduates alike can benefit from reflecting on this issue. A number of practical (and humorous) tips will be provided as well as examples from others' PhD experiences. The role of emotions at the beginning, middle and end of a PhD program will be explored. The data collection and analysis phases are a time when emotions may run riot. Trepidation is especially common when fieldwork or data collection is involved, as is anger when postgraduate's views about how the world works are challenged and then sadness (and relief!) when the data collection phase is finished. We will discuss how supervisors can assist their postgraduates to make these feelings work for them. The presentation will also explore the emotions that arise from the supervisor-postgraduate partnership.

Please cite as: Morrison-Saunders, A., Moore, S., Newsome, D., Smith, A., Rodger, K. and Hughes, M. (2003). Making postgraduate students and supervisors aware of the role of emotions in the PhD process. In Partners in Learning. Proceedings of the 12th Annual Teaching Learning Forum, 11-12 February 2003. Perth: Edith Cowan University. http://lsn.curtin.edu.au/tlf/tlf2003/abstracts/morrison-saunders-abs.html


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Last revision: 5 Feb 2003. This URL: http://lsn.curtin.edu.au/tlf/tlf2003/abstracts/morrison-saunders-abs.html