Iranian Ph.D. Candidates’ Perceptions Toward Their Supervisors’ Responsibilities and Activities

Farzad Rostami, mohammad hosseein Yousefi
International Journal of Doctoral Studies  •  Volume 17  •  2022  •  pp. 227-241

The present qualitative study examined the perceptions of Iranian Ph.D. candidates toward the responsibilities and activities that supervisors should take during the dissertation writing.

Writing the dissertation is the main concern for Ph.D. candidates. In the view of doctorate students, supervisors are the main contributors to establishing a well-prepared dissertation.

To this end, 15 Ph.D. candidates who either graduated recently or were about to have their viva sessions participated in the study. The data were collected through phone interviews as well as narrative inquiry. The current study adopted the mentorship model as its theoretical framework. The framework is well suited because the supervisors as mentors and persons that are more competent transfer their experience and knowledge to the supervisees as less competent students. The multiple case study has been applied as the design of the current study. Geared toward the objectives of the qualitative study, the data analysis process embraced Braun and Clarke’s (2006) thematic analysis approach.

The study has a number of theoretical and practical implications for both supervisors of Ph.D. students as well as teacher educators.

The authors presented and discussed their perceived themes, and they consented to the following four major themes: practicality, professionalism, emotional engagement, and career traits.

To ease the burden of writing a Ph.D. dissertation and to soothe the stress of Ph.D. candidates’ experience, supervisors should take the responsibility for their task of supervision by providing moment-by-moment care and guidance to their students.

The researchers utilized the two instruments of telephone interviews and narrations to collect data. It is suggested that other sources of data collection like observations and focus group interviews be included to gain further conceptions of the attendants. The researchers interviewed the dissertation writer in various majors; however, the topic was not questioned. It is recommended to evaluate the extent of the supervisor’s interest in the topic on the success rate of the project.

The present study revealed that students have different and varying needs and expectations of their supervisors. To meet these needs, supervisors should ask their students to submit a weekly report of their work as well as possible problems and questions.

The findings were based on the Ph.D. candidates’ perspectives; it is recommended that future research include the voices of the supervisors, too, particularly the supervisors of the same supervisees.

Ph.D. program, Ph.D. candidate, supervisor, supervision, mentorship
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