Barriers to a smooth doctoral journey and development of a library-based café service

By Lone Bredahl Jensen, Katrine Astrup Jacobsen og Kamilla Jensen Husen

Published in Universitetspædagogisk Tidsskrift, 13(25)

Obtaining a PhD degree is a precondition for a scientific career. The journey towards the PhD degree can be both lonesome and full of obstacles and may lead to drop out, regardless of the PhD students’ scientific potential.
This article communicates a project undertaken by University Library of Southern Denmark to litmus test the idea of a social service offered to PhD students by the university library, and to generate substantial ideas for specific contents of this service.
Insight into PhD processes was obtained through personal interviews with PhD students close to thesis submission. The interviews pointed to dysfunctional student-supervisor relationship, perceived teaching pressure and lack of knowledge of own organisation and rights as major barriers to a successful PhD process. Perceived lack of proficiency in time management and in information seeking turned out as major procedural barriers. The barriers resulted in loneliness, professional uncertainty, and general lack of well-being.
Based on the project, the library now offers a café service aimed at supporting both professional and social network among PhD students across SDU (

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