“Mental health in doctoral students is receiving increased attention in the media and across higher education. Within this context, there is growing recognition of the importance of developing interventions to improve mental health in doctoral students. Our recent research, which explored mental health in PhD students from the beginning to the end of their doctoral journeys, identified that the transition into doctoral journey could offer a valuable window of opportunity to better equip students to maintain and improve their mental health. Inductions for new doctoral students often focus on institutional regulations, but a key finding from our research was that there is a need to move beyond such procedurally-focused induction approaches and shift towards student-centred induction models that help doctoral students to develop peer networks and connect with other students “like them” at the start of their journey. By developing a sense of belonging and a shared understanding of what it means to be a doctoral student at an early stage, this could be beneficial for improving mental health in doctoral students.
Student-generated induction (Bowskill, 2013) is a peer-led induction strategy that seeks to develop a sense of belonging in students, with one of the potential outcomes being improved mental health. The aim of our project is to develop an evidence base that will inform the development, delivery, and evaluation of a student-generated induction package to promote mental health in doctoral students. The package will be created by students for students to help them get off to the best possible start on their doctoral journey and reduce the risk of poor mental health later on.”
Dr Patricia Jackman and Dr Kelly Sisson will generate evidence to develop a student-led induction package for doctoral researchers.
University of Lincoln, College of Social Science Research
Dr Patricia Jackman, University of Lincoln, School of Sport and Exercise Science
Dr Kelly Sisson, University of Lincoln, School of Health and Social Care