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Understanding Supervisor-Doctoral Student Relationship: A Qualitative Interview Study in Austrian Universities
Doctoral students’ relationship with supervisors and co-supervisors supports their socio-academic integration and contributes to their academic success. The study purports to explicate a deeper understanding of doctoral students’ lived experience of how they tend to develop their relationship with the supervisors and how they assist them in adjusting to the university's institutional environment. Eleven purposively selected doctoral students described their experiences in response to open-ended questions posed in the semi-structured interviews. A phenomenological approach was employed to execute the study and analyze the qualitative data (Van Manen, 1997). As a result, significant thematic aspects were identified from the participants’ conversations that include ‘supportive relationship’, ‘friendly and informal interaction’ and ‘interactive communication’. The emergent themes informed that most of the doctoral students experienced positive and supporting relationships with the supervisors and co-supervisors that helped them integrate into the university's academic communities. The study has implications for the supervisors and doctoral students for establishing and strengthening the academic relationships.
Dr. Syed Abdul Waheed
Assistant Professor, Department of Educational Research & Assessment, University of Okara, Okara, Punjab, Pakistan