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telling those who are thinking of quitting that pushing on is worth. Distressed PhD students certainly in need of empathetic caregiving, from supervisors as well as family and friends. BJ Epstein called, should you quit your PhD? Should you quit your PhD? I knew I wanted to legitimise my academic work by getting a full time job when it was over, when I wasnt at all sure this plan was going to work out. Sometimes I think I told this ambilvalence story as a way of testing out loud what other options and identities were available. How then, can these stories become a valuable source of knowledge about the PhD experience? As you can imagine, it has been a popular post; so far its been viewed more than 30,000 times.

Still others seem to be falling into apathy, depression and general ennui. Mentioned less often were: Being asked to do extra work to make the project submittable (sometimes tied to lack of good formative feedback along the way, but not always). I think this story line is what Frank would call a preferred narrative: many of the comments either follow reslilience narrative, or react / reject it in some way.

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Are we actually just putting on additional pressure they dont need? He identifies three key narratives, which he calls listening devices. These narratives, he claims, can help us better understand and respond to the experience of people who are undergoing treatment. I noticed it was in these kinds of stories that many students expressed thoughts about not wanting to be an academic anymore. Next week Ill be at the. The ups and downs of PhD research). This is not the same as doing nothing. (Lovitts uses Durkheims phrase anomie to describe this phenomenon). Like Frank, I decided to stick with the three most common narratives I could see, while acknowledging that all the stories people tell are complex hairball stories with many threads. Is this a helpful way of thinking about how to help people thinking of quitting the PhD?

Chaos narratives are marked by anger, fear, powerlessness, misery and apathy. In her 2006 paper, The Changing Environment for Doctoral Education in Australia, Margot Pearson summarises prior research, mainly conducted in the United States, and names a complex set of interlocking factors: research mode (full time / part time or movement between the two) structure of the. Im not really sure, but Id be interested in your thoughts on it or any of the others. As it turns out, we already know quite a lot about why people quit their PhD. Heres the tentative list of narratives I came up with after this conversation: The resilience narrative This is when people talk about the PhD as a journey or trial which can, or must, be overcome through the diligent personal effort. Perhaps some listening devices might help? Quality in Post graduate Research conference (or QPR) the key gathering for research educators in Australia. Ernest Rudd conducted interviews way back in 1978 with research students who had either quit, or had taken a very long time to complete their studies.