Similar or different? Researcher Community and Supervisory Support Experiences among Danish and Finnish Social Sciences and Humanities PhD Students

Research output: Contribution to journal/Conference contribution in journal/Contribution to newspaperJournal articleResearchpeer-review


    Solveig Cornér, Univ Helsinki, University of Helsinki, FinlandKirsi Pyhältö, University of Helsinki, University of Oulu, FinlandJouni Peltonen, University of Oulu, Finland
  • Søren Smedegaard Bengtsen
This paper aims to explore the support experiences of 381 PhD students within the humanities and social sciences from three research-intensive universities in Denmark (n = 145) and Finland (n = 236). The study investigates the cross-cultural variation in the researcher community support and supervisory support experiences, factors associated with their support experienced and the perceived support fit.

The study used a mixed methods design, both quantitative analyses and qualitative analyses (open-ended descriptions) were used.

The results showed that students in both Danish and Finnish programs emphasized researcher community support over supervisory support. The Danish students, however, reported slightly higher levels of researcher community support and experienced lower levels of friction than their Finnish counter partners. The results also indicated that the only form of support in which the students expressed more matched support than mismatched support was informational support.

Practical implications
The results imply investing in a stronger integration of PhD students into the research community is beneficial for the students’ progress. Building network-based and collaborative learning activities that enhance both instrumental and emotional support and a collective form of supervision could be further developed. The possibility of Phd student integration in the scholarly community is likely to lead to more efficient use of finacial and intellectual resources in academia and society more broadly.

This study offer a unique contribution on doctoral students’ academic and socialization experiences in terms of explicationg the sources of support, support forms and support fit among Danish and Finnish doctoral students. Both invariants and socio-culturally embedded aspects of support experience among the students were detected.
Original languageEnglish
JournalStudies in Graduate and Postgraduate Education
Number of pages23
Publication statusPublished - 15 Nov 2018

    Research areas

  • Doctoral education, Doctoral support fit, Doctoral supervision, Doctoral Students, Doctoral learning

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