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
Date Written: January 31, 2019
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: Suggested Citation