To read this content please select one of the options below:

Good critical friends are hard to find: promoting peer review among doctoral students

Deborah Tyndall (College of Nursing, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA)
Shannon Baker Powell (College of Nursing, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA)

Studies in Graduate and Postdoctoral Education

ISSN: 2398-4686

Article publication date: 6 January 2023

22

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to examine entry-level PhD students’ experiences with participating in Critical Friends, a peer review protocol, used to support learning the threshold concept of literature review. It also sought to determine if, and how, students used the peer review protocol electively during their first year of doctoral study.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors used a sequential, QUAL-qual mixed-method design to guide the study. Reflective learning journals, surveys and interviews were collected from three cohorts of PhD students (N = 18).

Findings

Thematic analysis revealed that giving and receiving writing critique was uncomfortable for these novice peer reviewers and many described emotional disciplining associated with vulnerability. Critical Friends offered a safe space to begin mastery of the literature review and begin transforming new researcher and writer identities. While Critical Friends was a positive experience for students, they struggled implementing the protocol on their own following the course.

Practical implications

These findings support the need for faculty to embed peer review opportunities in courses during the first year to facilitate role modeling and mentoring. The findings also demonstrate the need to engage students with peer review early in the program to increase comfort, cultivate student resiliency for accepting critical feedback and build capacity for students to learn with and from others.

Originality/value

This paper advocates for the use of peer review practices early in the doctoral study to promote the development of researcher identity and positioning within the research community.

Keywords

Citation

Tyndall, D. and Powell, S.B. (2023), "Good critical friends are hard to find: promoting peer review among doctoral students", Studies in Graduate and Postdoctoral Education, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/SGPE-11-2021-0081

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2022, Emerald Publishing Limited

Related articles