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PhD student Lisa's story

Lisa has now done more than half of her doctorate, and feels that she has very little space or time to finish her doctoral thesis before her time runs out. The reason for the loss of time, she believes has to do with the change of supervisor.

In the interview Lisa talks about her relationship with her first supervisor. He told her that she should have a written document each time they met. He said that there was no reason to waste time supervising and “just speculate”. Lisa found it difficult to deliver a written document without first having a discussion about the content. But because of what she was told, that she was not expected to have such conversations with her supervisor, and so time passed without any meeting at all. Lisa also felt increasingly nervous about the idea of meeting her supervisor for guidance. In the research environment in which Lisa took part she often met her supervisor, but this was always in lab situations and together with other doctoral students and master students.

At one point, Lisa had the courage to write a document which she handed over to her supervisor and they had a meeting. Lisa felt that she did not have any feedback and that she got nothing back from that meeting which could help her forward.
– I got some commentary, but I did not feel as it was any useful content. However, my supervisor was good in other ways, he organized a lot and we could go to conferences, says Lisa.

In the end Lisa’s work with her dissertation more or less stagnated. But the situation slightly dissolved itself when her supervisor retired, and she had a clear reason to switch supervisor. Afterwards, she regretted that she had not changed before she actually did.
– Yes, I would have loved to have had a better structure from the beginning, she says.

It also turns out that Lisa was in contact with the vice-prefect during the difficult period, and that she offered to help Lisa to change supervisor. But when the vice-prefect told Lisa about the imminent retirement of her supervisor Lisa chose to wait until he retired. Now, looking in the rear-view mirror, Lisa finds that she has lost too much time, something which her current supervisor is unable to repair. Also Lisa became ill for a while and she needed to talk to her current supervisor about her family situation, but fairly quickly she found out that there was hardly any understanding from her current supervisor. This means that Lisa is still not completely satisfied with the supervision.

Contact person for Advice for doctoral supervisors

Margareta Jernås
Phone: +46 (0)31-342 94 33
Send e-mail to Margareta

These web pages were created by Silwa Claesson and Gina Wisker.

Page Manager: Olof Siverbo|Last update: 6/13/2016

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