Students’ experiences of support during doctoral studies in industrial engineering and management

Katja Lahenius

Research output: ThesisDoctoral ThesisCollection of Articles


This dissertation investigates doctoral students’ experiences of the practices in supervision and in doctoral education promoting doctoral studies in industrial engineering and management. Previous research has noted that doctoral students need scientific, financial, and mental support, and identified several sources of support for doctoral students: family and friends, peer students, their supervisor, an additional supervisor, course work, study planning, and the learning environment. While investigating doctoral students’ experiences of support during their doctoral studies, this study focused on support from supervisors, support from study planning and support from peer students. The overall intent of this study was to gain an understanding of doctoral education from the doctoral students’ perspective, relying as much as possible on doctoral students’ views of doctoral education. The main research questions of the study are: 1. What kind of practices in supervision and in doctoral studies promote doctoral studies according to student evaluation?, and 2. How do different doctoral student groups differ in their support needs?. The study was conducted within one technical university department in Finland during 2008-2009.This single case study explored a bounded system through detailed data collection, using a mixed-methods approach as the research design. The overall findings of this study show that all doctoral students need support and guidance during their studies, especially in the early stages of their studies. The results suggest that that besides the single supervisor, doctoral students have other sources of support during their studies that have not been widely discussed in previous studies, such as study planning and peer students and an additional supervisor. Further, this study highlights the different support experiences and needs of different student groups. Part-time students’ poor resources and experience that they received less support from academia mean that their studies are conducted under totally different conditions when compared to the support and resources enjoyed by full-time students. This study also highlights the students’ role as active learners, acting as self-regulated learners acknowledging their own responsibility for making learning meaningful and monitoring it.
Translated title of the contributionOpiskelijoiden kokemukset tuesta jatko-opintojen aikana tuotantotaloudessa
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor's degree
Awarding Institution
  • Aalto University
  • Järvenpää, Eila, Supervising Professor
  • Martinsuo, Miia, Thesis Advisor, External person
Print ISBNs978-952-60-4948-9
Electronic ISBNs978-952-60-4949-6
Publication statusPublished - 2013
MoE publication typeG5 Doctoral dissertation (article)


  • doctoral education
  • mixed methods research
  • students’ experiences
  • doctoral students support

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