As doctoral students, we were well aware of the social, cultural, and economic isolation experienced by many students working towards a PhD. In this paper, we provide an account of an informal peer support model that assisted us to successfully complete our PhDs. We used co/autoethnography to write into each other’s story, seeking to improve our research practice through creative reflection. Data included over 215 emails generated through our “weekly check-ins” during our PhDs, for a period of over 18 months. Following the iterative nature of co/autoethnography, we generated further data through collaborative analysis and reflexive, creative writing. Analysis involved each of us conducting inductive analysis of the data separately, followed by a collaborative process of checking and co-identifying themes, and collaborative writing of the co/autoethnography. We identified three major themes in the data: Being an Academic, Doing Academia, and Sharing in Academia. We continue to transform through the co/autoethnography and lay bare our experience of peer support for the purpose of supporting others undertaking a PhD, including ways to approach writing (or support writing), and ways to navigate the corporate university setting.
Co/Autoethnography, PhD, Peer Support, Mentoring, Critical Reflection, Higher Degree Research, Doctoral, Reflective Journaling
Thank you to Inger Mewbern, Pat Thompson and our @suw_tues colleagues who inspired and supported us during our PhD study. Thank you also to Mark Brough for reviewing an earlier version of this manuscript. The PhD studies were funded by an Australian Postgraduate Award scholarship (KMB), and the National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia (GNT1038658) and College of Medicine and Dentistry, James Cook University, Australia (MRM).
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Recommended APA Citation
McPhail-Bell, K., & Redman-MacLaren, M. L. (2019). A Co/Autoethnography of Peer Support and PhDs: Being, Doing, and Sharing in Academia. The Qualitative Report, 24(5), 1087-1105. https://doi.org/10.46743/2160-3715/2019.3155