The role of social relations in the making of a doctoral thesis



dissertation writing, doctoral education, familial support, institutional support


Writing a doctoral thesis is a challenging process for most doctoral students. From a situated learning perspective, it involves more than just internalizing some objective knowledge about language, but entails developing an identity through participation and transformation of disciplinary communities of practice. Several works have analyzed the function that social relationships from the academic realm play in the dissertation process, paying special attention to the supervisor/candidate dyad. However, research on domestic or personal ties is rather scarce. This qualitative study explores if and how social ties from the personal sphere influence in a positive way the dissertation writing process. Analysis of in-depth interviews, with students and recent graduates from different Argentine PhD programs in the field of Linguistics and Education, indicate that these social relations do facilitate different types of support. These results can inform institutional initiatives to scaffold the dissertation research and writing process and thus improve the support offered to doctoral students from the academic realm.


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Author Biography

Laura Colombo, Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas, Instituto de Lingüística de la Universidad de Buenos Aires

Investigadora Asisstente del Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas, Instituto de Lingüística de la Universidad de Buenos Aires


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How to Cite

Colombo, L. (2018). The role of social relations in the making of a doctoral thesis. IJERI: International Journal of Educational Research and Innovation, (10), 366–378. Retrieved from