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Table 2 Thematic analysis of the question: “What (if anything) do you wish that the supervisors/mentors would change in order to help you cope with the COVID-19 related restrictions during your PhD?”. Note that the total % may be higher than 100 %, as a respondents’ complete answer may fit several themes

From: Challenges in PhD education due to COVID-19 - disrupted supervision or business as usual: a cross-sectional survey of Swedish biomedical sciences graduate students

  Group 1
56 answers
Group 2
30 answers
Positive examples of support received during COVID-19 Nr of answers % of answers Nr of answers % of answers
Theme 1: Good help with the doctoral studies
• Help rescheduling and reorganizing project due to COVID-19
• Flexible meeting times and lab-work duties
11 20 % 0 0 %
Theme 2: Good emotional support
• Received more contact, support, sympathy.
• Received support related to mental health.
• Supervisor has more time for the student.
• Supervisor/student/group has an open dialog on COVID-19.
• Supervisor gives advice on how to stay focused when working from home.
14 25 % 3 10 %
Theme 3: Good administrative support
• Supervisor arranges an PhD extension
• Supervisor provides administrative help, rearranging courses
1 2 % 1 3 %
Theme 4: Good work environment
• Supervisor arranged ergonomic support in home environment
• The student is offered ample opportunities to work from home and/or in a safer environment (e.g. online calendars to avoid crowds, encouraging zoom meetings etc.)
4 7 % 1 3 %
Negative examples highlighting lack of support during the pandemic   
Theme 5: Lack of support in doctoral studies
• Requests help re-structuring the PhD in response to COVID-19
• Need of more follow-up meetings and clearer rules
10 18 % 4 13 %
Theme 6: Poor emotional support
• Requests more contact, encouragement and empathy.
• Requests support with mental health issues.
• Would have liked a better understanding of that is its difficult to work from home, e.g. with kids around.
• Requests an open dialog regarding COVID-19.
9 16 % 12 40 %
Theme 7: Lack of administrative support
• Requests PhD extensions
• Requests practical advice, e.g. administrative help, rearranging courses
3 5 % 8 27 %
Theme 8: Poor work environment
• Requests ergonomic support in home environment
• Requests help adjusting to online work
• Requests that journal clubs are available online
• Requests that at-home work would be encouraged
• Feels pressure to work in the lab with exposure to COVID-19
7 13 % 6 20 %