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Experiences of First-year Doctoral Students in a Turkish State University
The current study was an attempt to explore the experiences of doctoral students at a state university. The subjects of the study were six PhD students (3 F, 3 M) in the first semester of their doctoral program. To gain a deep understanding of the subjects’ experiences, multiple devices were applied to collect data. To measure the general well-being of the subjects, Goldberg’s 28- item General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-28) was administered. Moreover, interviews were performed followed by complementary questions drawn from the questionnaires. Finally, the subjects were asked to write two anecdotes. The obtained anecdotal evidence provided a valuable source of data to grasp the overall experiences of the students since they revealed their general perceptions of the doctoral journey. The major findings of the study indicated that the main challenges of the students were high stress imposed by the assignments, unfavorable attitudes of supervisors towards students, and lack of time to manage family life, work and studies efficiently. Longitudinal research is required to examine if/how the doctoral students’ experiences change over time. Comparative studies between state and private universities can also yield interesting findings.

Doctoral Students, Well-being, Study Experiences, GHQ-28, Turkish State Universities

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