This synthesis article presents the results of a study aimed at describing the difficulties encountered by the female student population during their doctoral studies and identifying the coping strategies that enable them to demonstrate resilience.

Thirteen students from a university in England took part in the study. The analysis revealed contexts likely to present challenges, including:

  • Dissatisfaction with the supervisory relationship or an unexpected change in research direction
  • Adopting and maintaining a work and writing routine
  • Difficulties associated with data collection and analysis
  • The challenges of family responsibilities
  • The extra adaptation required for international students

The study also shows the various strategies that students adopt to adapt, such as setting clear, realistic goals, breaking down the tasks to be carried out and seeking support from other doctoral students, notably through writing groups or by taking part in social activities.

Les résultats présentés par Kokotsaki montrent que les personnes doctorantes savent adopter de bonnes stratégies pour surmonter les obstacles rencontrés dans leur parcours. La chercheuse recommande néanmoins que les établissements agissent davantage avec les leviers dont ils disposent, par exemple en favorisant les échanges entre les personnes doctorantes ou en les soutenant en cas de problèmes dans leur relation avec leur directeur ou directrice de thèse.

Study reference

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Kokotsaki, D. (2023). What does it mean to be a resilient student? An explorative study of doctoral students’ resilience and coping strategies using grounded theory as the analytic lens. International Journal of Doctoral Studies, 18.

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