A juggling act: Supervisor/candidate partnership in a doctoral thesis by publication

Nishantha Rohan Nethsinghe, Jane Elizabeth Southcott

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

    21 Citations (Scopus)


    Increasingly doctoral candidates are attempting to complete a thesis by publication. This format varies between universities but there are common issues particularly in terms of progression, planning and timing. There are both advantages and difficulties involved in undertaking a thesis in this format. Our discussion of the supervisor/candidate partnership is framed within the requirements of a tight journal publishing agenda. Different universities have different requirements about the number of published papers to be included, the extent of candidate's contribution as sole or joint author, the framing of the research as a unified thesis, presentation, and examination. The decision to attempt a thesis by publication must be taken early and data collection may need to be completed early. Articles then need to be written, polished, submitted, reviewed, revised and, hopefully, accepted. The thesis by publication is a juggling act between maintaining coherence and focusing on publishable segments. It is also a dialogue between supervisor and candidate involving the resolution of sometimes conflicting demands. Employing Cognitive Apprenticeship theory we present a shared autophenomenography that chronicles our doctoral journey that led to a successful thesis by publication. The findings are discussed under thematic headings: Logistics, Cognitive Apprenticeship in Action, and Building Trust.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)167-185
    Number of pages19
    JournalInternational Journal of Doctoral Studies
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015


    • Building trust
    • Cognitive apprenticeship
    • Doctoral supervision
    • Mentoring
    • Shared autophenomenography
    • Thesis with publication

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