Postgraduate Research Students’ and their Supervisors’ Attitudes towards Supervision

Parveen Ali, Roger Watson, Katie Dhingra
International Journal of Doctoral Studies  •  Volume 11  •  2016  •  pp. 227-241
There is a need for research exploring postgraduate research students’ expectations from research supervisors, the characteristics of effective student-supervisor relationships, and the opinions of students and supervisors about research supervision. We also need instruments to explore the student-supervisor relationship. The present study investigated postgraduate research students’ and research supervisors’ views about postgraduate research supervision and the student supervisor relationship. It also reports on factor analysis conducted to identify the underlying dimensions in their views about postgraduate research supervision and the student supervisor relationship. Such information can be used to develop strategies to promote student-supervisor relationships and enhance the student experience.
Data were collected using an online questionnaire with 30 Likert-scale statements from 131 postgraduate research students and 77 supervisors. Following exploratory factor analysis, a three factor model consisting of leaderhip, knowledge, and support was extracted. Results indicate that students and supervisors agree about the attributes of effective supervision. Both supervisors and students consider that a supervisor should have an interest in the student’s research. The supervisor must provide timely and constructive feedback and should help the student to manage time effectively. Students and supervisors believe a supervisor should help the students where limitations and learning needs are identified. Students believe supervisors must encourage students to work independently and use opportunities to present their work.
supervision; effective supervisor; research students’ expectation; supervisors’ expectation; PhD supervision; opinion
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