"5 secrets they won't tell you": The content and rhetoric of YouTube advice videos about searching for a doctoral supervisor

Sophia Kier-Byfield, James Burford, Emily Henderson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Abstract

Much guidance on how to identify and contact a doctoral supervisor can be found on YouTube. There is a wealth of advice videos presented by ‘insiders’ including students, academics, consultants and institutional representatives. This article explores such ‘find a supervisor’ videos, characterising them as texts in the broader genre of doctoral writing advice. The article examines a sample of these videos thematically and then discursively, offering insight into the advice they give, as well as their positionality and rhetorical constructions of authority. Although potentially helpful to applicants, particularly those without strong networks, these videos nonetheless contribute to a complex advice market which requires critical scrutiny in terms of motivation and message. The article argues that, although supervisor advice videos may provide accessible support, they also capitalise on doctoral anxiety and perpetuate a culture of compliance with higher education norms, rather than encourage institutional and cultural transformation towards inclusivity.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2279580
Number of pages15
JournalInnovations in Education and Teaching International
Volume00
Issue number00
Early online date12 Nov 2023
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 12 Nov 2023
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Higher Education
  • doctoral admissions
  • doctoral advice
  • doctoral supervision
  • YouTube

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