'Tough love and tears': Learning doctoral writing in the sciences

Claire Aitchison*, Janice Catterall, Pauline Ross, Shelley Burgin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

123 Citations (Scopus)


Contemporary changes to the doctorate mean student researchers are likely to be expected to write differently, write more and more often, and yet, despite a growing interest in doctoral education, we still know relatively little about the teaching and learning practices of students and supervisors vis-a-vis doctoral writing. This paper draws from a research study into the writing experiences of higher degree students and their supervisors in one science, health and technology-based university Faculty. The study used surveys, interviews and focus groups to collect information from students and supervisors about their experiences of doctoral writing and their perceptions about its development. By attending to the writing-related pedagogical practices of supervisors, this article explores how doctoral writing can be the stage for the playing out of tensions over changing roles and identities aggravated by contemporary pressures on doctoral education.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)435-447
Number of pages13
JournalHigher Education Research and Development
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2012
Externally publishedYes


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