The study first looked at quality of the relationships that participants shared with other doctoral students, in addition to the emotional and instrumental support they received from their fellow doctoral students. Little difference was observed between completers and non-completers in the quality of support received from the doctoral peers.
No clear distinction could be made between student supervisory experience and student persistence. What seems to be more important is how students deal with their supervisory experience.
What seems to differentiate those who complete their doctoral degree from those who do not is the extent to which they are moving forward on a project that makes sense to them.
They propose three possible key elements in successful candidature:
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