Enabling part time doctoral researchers to develop effective support villages

Rainford, Jon (2024). Enabling part time doctoral researchers to develop effective support villages. In: Elliot, Dely L.; Bengtsen, Soren S.E. and Guccione, Kay eds. Developing Researcher Independence Through the Hidden Curriculum. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan (In Press).


For part-time doctoral scholars, the hidden curriculum can feel not just hidden but locked away from view with no keeper of the keys in sight. Proximity to other doctoral scholars and ‘hidden curriculum agents’ can provide the keys to the hidden curriculum through ‘informal interactions’ (Elliot et al., 2020, p. 6) and yet the nature of the part-time doctorate often limits these interactions, thus hiding the keys. Corridor conversations are a prime example of valuable informal interactions (Elliot et al., 2020) but what about when the corridors are removed? To facilitate these, this chapter argues that part-time doctoral scholars need to develop a ‘support village’ or multiple ‘support villages’ where these interactions can take place and enable them to find the keys they need. Whilst we can exist in isolation, it is often the people around us that provide support, companionship and help us make sense of the world around us. The village as a metaphor allows us to think of what neighbours might be able to help us in our search for the right keys. What support is needed from this village may change over time but broadly it is likely to fall under a banner of practical, academic, psychological or personal support.

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