Dissertation support groups

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Friends by David Joaquim, Attribution-ShareAlike Licence

One of the things that helped me through my own doctorate was having the support of a few other fellow doctoral students. Our research was all really different but our trials were similar, and the group provided real support for each other. It was something we had to work on – each of us was a busy part time doctoral student with a full time job as well as a family and in order to make the group work we had to commit and find the time. We scheduled regular breakfast meetings and I always came away inspired and energised. There were also a few notable times when talking through a theoretical issue with my doctoral student friends helped make something I had been struggling with really click. They listened and they asked good questions. And just to have others to compare with helped me to see how I was going.

Our group was not as structured as recommended in this posting by Michael Kiparsky but it worked for us. Kiparsky has another take on how to set up a group and what to do at group meetings. His ideas sound great too but my experience shows that it’s not the only way that works. Find what suits you and do that. But do find people to hang out with. It’s worth the time and effort.

Michael Kiparsky (2007) Thank You for Your Support, The Chronicle of Higher Education, https://www.chronicle.com/article/Thank-You-for-Your-Support/46487/

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