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Quis custodiet: who helps the research supervisors? April 2008 Anne Lee University of Surrey

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Presentation on theme: "Quis custodiet: who helps the research supervisors? April 2008 Anne Lee University of Surrey"— Presentation transcript:

1 Quis custodiet: who helps the research supervisors? April 2008 Anne Lee University of Surrey

2 Is there a framework that can help to expand the range of approaches that a supervisor can use? Do different disciplines supervise differently? What are the implications for supervisor development?

3 Data used LITERATURE SEARCH Functional approach (Wisker 2005, Eley and Jennings 2005 Taylor and Beasley 2005) Qualities approach (Wisker 2003a, Zuber Skerrit & Roche 2004) Critical thinking (Barnett 1997, Wisker 2005) Enculturalisation (Leonard 2001, Pearson & Brew 2002, Lave & Wenger 1991) Mentoring (Pearson & Kayrooz 2004, Brew 2001) Feminist approach (Leonard 2001) INTERVIEWS Interviews with PhD supervisors across a range of disciplines Interviews and focus groups with students SURVEYS 55 supervisors in UK and Sweden INTERACTIVE POSTER SESSION

4 A framework for concepts of research supervision FunctionalEnculturationCritical Thinking EmancipationRelationship Development Supervisors Activity Rational progression through tasks GatekeepingEvaluation Challenge Mentoring, supporting constructivism Supervising by experience, developing a relationship Supervisor’s knowledge & skills Directing, project management Diagnosis of deficiencies, coaching Argument, analysis Facilitation, Reflection Emotional intelligence Possible student reaction Organised Obedience Role modelling Constant inquiry, fight or flight Personal growth, reframing Emotional intelligence

5 Functional approach “I have a weekly timetabled formal slot for them and follow-up if they do not turn up” “3 months: literature search 6 months: focus fixed, 12 months transfer report completed…” “In the 2nd year we see them monthly and they produce 5000 words before each meeting” Regular pair or small group meetings with supervisor to present findings

6 Enculturation I would feel I had failed if they did not stay in the field My students all know their academic grandfather I give my book to all my students Students need to know what ‘good enough’ looks like You need frequent meetings for international students The international student especially can implement all your corrections and think that is good enough. Some cultures expect you to tell them what to do

7 Critical thinking “I avoid dependency by getting them to think about some problems and giving them resources” “I want them to stand on their own feet and challenge the thinking” “My tutor was not confrontational, she encouraged me to be critical of my own ideas” “They need to explain to me why, what and how” “I ask them to me a question about their project every week” “I use ‘magic’ words to help them identify the thread in their argument eg arguably, conversely, unanimously, essentially, early on, inevitably etc”

8 Emancipation “Your job as a supervisor is to get them knowing more than you” “I try to get the students to take the initiative” “My supervisor encouraged me to read widely, think critically, find examples in newspapers” “I try to get them to admit and confront their problems” “You get a lot of satisfaction, you have facilitated that growth in them”

9 Developing a relationship Enthuse: You need to fire the imagination, it is different for different students Altruism: My supervisor helped me with my writing but never pressed me to publish. Encourage: Need to inspire and encourage them to be brave in what they are thinking Recognise achievement: I wanted to call my supervisor the moment I solved the tough maths Pastoral support: this was as important as intellectual support to get me through

10 Problems students face: the supervisor’s view Dependency Not admitting to problems Poor progress. Not understanding required standard of work. Insufficient initiative Supervisor not interested in topic Conceptual difficulties Differences between supervisors

11 Problems: student view Loneliness Not enjoying the topic Not knowing what is expected Practical issues: money, lifestyle, getting hold of the supervisor Ethical issues: are we being used? Stress (especially at transfer and viva) Supervisor being too prescriptive ‘my way is the only way’.

12 , TOPIC occupational fertility UNIVERSITY PROCEDURES recruitment, upgrading, networking financial support SUPERVISOR’S CONCEPTIONS contacts, own PhD experience METHODS OF SUPERVISION department norms, co-supervision, team supervision, group supervision Occupational influences STUDENT previous experience, contacts, knowledge aptitude, skills, financial aims

13 SAMPLE WORKSHOP ACTIVITY Describe a problem you have encountered as a supervisor Where was/were the supervisor(s) in the framework? What might the student’s expectations have been?

14 Analysis of dependence to independence FunctionalEnculturationCritical thinking EmancipationRelationship Development DependenceStudent needs explanation of stages to be followed and direction through them Student needs to be shown what to do Student learns the questions to ask, the frameworks to apply Student seeks affirmation of self-worth Student seeks approval IndependenceStudent can programme own work, follow own timetables competently Student can follow discipline’s epistemological demands independently Student can critique own work Student autonomous. Can decide how to be, where to go, what to do, where to find information Student demonstrates appropriate reciprocity and has power to withdraw

15 HOW DOES KNOWLEDGE APPEAR IN YOUR SUBJECT? Results of interviews with doctoral supervisors and students: Anne Lee Personally experienced, risky, exciting, transforming Useful when applied Constrained by procedures Controversial, contested, provisional, Emerging, moving, growing unbounded Constructed through dialogue Can be absolute, verfiable

16 CHARACTERISTICS OF SUBJECTS HARD Similar paradigm for content and research methods. More co-authors, more influences on research. Subjects more physical. Reality is more objective. SOFT Similar paradigm for content and research methods. Research more independent. Subjects more relative/relational. Reality is more subjective PUREBiochemistry, Botany, Chemistry, Maths, Microbiology Physics, Physiology Dance, English, Languages, Linguistics, Political science, Philosophy, Psychology, Sociology, Theology, Translation, Music APPLIED More time spent on service activities Econometrics, Engineering (inc Chemical, Civil, Structural, Electronic, Materials etc) Computer science, Environmental science, Food and nutrition, Medicine Space technology Business Studies, Accounting, Finance, Economics, Education, Educational development Law, Management (inc Tourism, Retail, & Hospitality) Nursing and Health Care

17 Disciplinary differences? Evidence mixed. All disciplinary groups showed interest in all approaches to supervison. From survey data: Hard-pure subjects might respond more readily to critical thinking, enculturation and quality of relationships. Enculturation is a word which needs clear explanation

18 Implications for supervisor development Workshops, mentoring, action research, modules…..? Accredited or non-accredited? Discipline based or generic? Involving doctoral students, co-supervisors, supervisory teams, industrial supervisors? University or area based? Affect of national imperatives? Timing and funding? Evaluation?

19 References Barnett R (1997) Higher Education: A Critical Business. Buckingham. SHRE/OU Brew A (2001) Conceptions of Research: a phenomenographic study. Studies in Higher Education. Taylor and Francis Oct 2001, 26 (3), , Cryer P (2006) 3 rd Ed The Research Student’s Guide to Success Maidenhead. McGraw Hill Delamont S, Atkinson P & Parry O (2000) The Doctoral Experience. Success and Failure in Graduate School. London. Falmer Press Eley A, Jennings R (2005) Effective Postgraduate Supervision. Maidenhead. OU Press McGraw- Hill Education Kamler, B. & Thomson, P. (2006). Helping Doctoral Students Write: Pedagogies for Supervision. Abingdon: Routledge. Lave & Wenger E (1991) Situated Learning: legitimate peripheral participation (Cambridge, Cambridge University Press. Lee, A. (2007). Developing Effective Supervisors’ Concepts of Research Supervision. South African Journal of Higher Education, 21(4) Lee, A (2008) How are doctoral students supervised? Concepts of research supervision. Studies in Higher Education (accepted for publication) 33(4) Lee A & Murray R A framework for developing doctoral supervisors: Focussing on writing (currently being reviewed for publication) Leonard D (2001) A Woman’s Guide to Doctoral Studies. Buckingham. OU Press Pearson M and Brew A (2002) Research Training and Supervision Development. Studies in Higher Education Vol 27 No Pearson M and Kayrooz C. (2004) Enabling Critical Reflection on Research Supervisory Practice. International Journal for Academic Development 9.(1) pp Routledge Taylor S and Beasley N (2005) A handbook for Doctoral Supervisors. Abingdon. Routledge Wisker G (2005) The Good Supervisor. Basingstoke. Macmillan


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