Handling the Loss of Innocence: First-Time Exchange of Writing and Feedback in Doctoral Supervision

Higher Education Research and Development 38, No. 1 (January 2019)

Posted: 16 Dec 2018

See all articles by John Wei

John Wei

Laureate International Universities - Media Design School

Susan Carter

University of Auckland

Deborah Laurs

Victoria University of Wellington

Date Written: January 31, 2019

Abstract

The first time of many significant encounters is the most intense, raising awkwardness, anxiety and hope. This article presents data from doctoral students (n=80) who described the first time that they submitted writing to their supervisor and received feedback. The first writing/feedback exchange is an initiation into the cultures of academia. Student accounts captured the intensity of the initiation for students, excitement or dread on submitting writing, with increased emotional reaction when going through the feedback process, that liminal first time. Close focus on the first-time writing feedback exchange makes a contribution to the literature on the social interactions of doctoral writing. Data backs our argument that students and supervisors need to carefully manage the first-time exchange of writing. Our findings are analysed thematically and through an autoethnographic lens of the lead author, who was both a research assistant for the research survey and an international doctoral student experiencing the same processes in his cross-disciplinary joint doctorate. We draw on conceptual threshold crossing theories established in regard to doctoral learning.

Keywords: Doctoral writing; supervision; writing feedback; threshold concepts; autoethnography

Suggested Citation

Wei, John and Carter, Susan and Laurs, Deborah, Handling the Loss of Innocence: First-Time Exchange of Writing and Feedback in Doctoral Supervision (January 31, 2019). Higher Education Research and Development 38, No. 1 (January 2019), Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3290086

John Wei (Contact Author)

Laureate International Universities - Media Design School ( email )

PO Box 5927
Wellesley St
Auckland, 1141
New Zealand

Susan Carter

University of Auckland ( email )

Private Bag 92019
Auckland Mail Centre
Auckland, 1142
New Zealand

Deborah Laurs

Victoria University of Wellington ( email )

P.O. Box 600
Wellington, 6140
New Zealand

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