Postgraduate research supervision: The students' viewpoint

Year: 2001

Author: McKenzie, Barbra, Andrew, Sharon

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

As doctoral students progress through their studies they will have developed very specific ideas and opinions about postgraduate supervision. To identify what students thought were necessary for a supervisor to consider when undertaking postgraduate supervision, students enrolled in a Faculty of Education's doctoral programs were surveyed by an open-ended questionnaire. Students' responses were analysed qualitatively and 5 themes emerged. These were: Meetings with the Supervisor, Feedback, The Supervisor's Characteristics, Having Two Supervisors, Special Circumstances and Other. The theme 'Meetings with the Supervisor' included two areas relating to the timing and conduct of the interviews. The theme 'Feedback' related to the frequency and type of feedback given to postgraduate students. The theme 'The Supervisor's Characteristics' included discussion about the supervisor's experience and their mentoring role. Students discussed their concerns when they have two supervisors in the appropriately named theme 'Having Two Supervisors'. International students described having specific difficulties whilst others students mentioned personal problems in the theme 'Special Circumstances' and the last theme 'Other' included students' comments on areas such as study leave, supervisors workloads, sharing research findings, and guidelines for written work.