is the PhD a ‘journey’?

In her latest blog post,Pat Thomson asks a question PhDs should consider.


It’s not at all uncommon for doctoral researchers to think about the PhD as a journey. And they generally use the PhD-as-journey as more than a simple metaphor – it becomes a, even THE way of explaining to other people what has and is going on in their candidature. The PhD-as-journey becomes a way of telling self and others the story of the PhD process and the various experiences, emotions, and challenges along the way. The notion of the journey sums up the sense of movement, personal growth and change. The journey becomes a meaningful way of narrativising the ups and downs of the whole doctoral experience.

But how good a metaphor is it really? As Christina Hughes and Malcolm Tight (2013) have pointed out, the journey is a pretty vague concept. There are various kinds of possible journeys, some pleasant some not. Hughes and Tight suggest that the most…

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