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IGS RESEARCH SKILLS – MODULE 2 WORKING WITH YOUR SUPERVISOR Zuhaina Zakaria, PhD Head of Graduate Studies (Academic Development, Resources & Students)

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Presentation on theme: "IGS RESEARCH SKILLS – MODULE 2 WORKING WITH YOUR SUPERVISOR Zuhaina Zakaria, PhD Head of Graduate Studies (Academic Development, Resources & Students)"— Presentation transcript:

1 IGS RESEARCH SKILLS – MODULE 2 WORKING WITH YOUR SUPERVISOR Zuhaina Zakaria, PhD Head of Graduate Studies (Academic Development, Resources & Students) IGS, UiTM Zuhaina Zakaria, PhD Head of Graduate Studies (Academic Development, Resources & Students) IGS, UiTM

2 Goals of the Session 23/04/2015 Explore the role of supervisors and students Identify the expectations of students and supervisors Develop action plan

3 Outline 23/04/2015 Role of supervisorChoosing supervisor Great expectations Understanding your supervisorManipulating your supervisorDealing with conflict

4 Why are we here? Why am I here? Why are you here? Why am I here? Why are you here? Talk to someone next to you and tell them – who you are & the area of your research – why you decided to do a MSc/PhD – where you hope it will take you Talk to someone next to you and tell them – who you are & the area of your research – why you decided to do a MSc/PhD – where you hope it will take you 23/04/2015

5 So common things are /04/2015 You have a supervisor You have some ideas on your research You have been accepted to UiTM

6 How does doing a research degree differ from coursework? Independent Research Self-motivation Creativity Time Management Publication Working with a Supervisor Independent Research Self-motivation Creativity Time Management Publication Working with a Supervisor 23/04/2015

7 Supervisors You need at least one. They can be beneficial. They can be frustrating. They can seem invisible. They are human. You need at least one. They can be beneficial. They can be frustrating. They can seem invisible. They are human. 23/04/2015

8 Role of Supervisor Definition: person who is responsible for guiding doctoral student (Murray, 2002) Other terms used are “tutor” or “thesis advisor”

9 Roles of Supervisor Director Facilitator Adviser Teacher Guide Critic Director Facilitator Adviser Teacher Guide Critic Freedom giver Supporter Friend Manager Examiner Freedom giver Supporter Friend Manager Examiner Brown & Atkins, 1990

10 Role of Supervisor To ensure early that there is a clear sense of the research question To help student engage with the field of scholarship – to understand the scholarly context of the work - Confirmation To ensure Final product is scholarly – as editor: active and energetic – help the candidate be lucid, coherent and fluent. – As scholar: facilitate the candidate’s expression of originality and ensure that the work makes a contribution: keep them on track. – As broker: to introduce the candidate to the community, develop his/her networks 23/04/2015

11 Choosing Supervisor Important Step – Identify the professors working in the area(s) of your interest – Go and talk to them Study their current projects – Are they in an area current interest? – Are the projects interesting / appealing to you? Important Step – Identify the professors working in the area(s) of your interest – Go and talk to them Study their current projects – Are they in an area current interest? – Are the projects interesting / appealing to you? 23/04/2015

12 Choosing Supervisor (cont..) Look at his/her recent publication record Choose professors that are currently active in research – The best indication is the publications are in the last 3-4 years A certain professor may have been very active 10 years ago and established himself but hasn’t done anything in the last 5 years – He/she might have switched to administrative duties 23/04/2015

13 Choosing Supervisor (cont..) Consider his/her recent graduates If the last alumni of the supervisor have been successful, there are chances you may be too – This supervisor help you graduate in a reasonable time frame – Looks out for you professionally The same applies for the opposite case However, there are always exception – Remember you and your attitude make the difference! Consider his/her recent graduates If the last alumni of the supervisor have been successful, there are chances you may be too – This supervisor help you graduate in a reasonable time frame – Looks out for you professionally The same applies for the opposite case However, there are always exception – Remember you and your attitude make the difference! 23/04/2015

14 Choosing Supervisor (cont..) Finally, talk to the current students – They can give you an insider’s perspective – But be cautious Different people might have totally different perception Finally, talk to the current students – They can give you an insider’s perspective – But be cautious Different people might have totally different perception 23/04/2015

15 Young vs Senior Faculty Member Young faculty – More active and motivated – Less administrative duties – Closer to your age group and therefore more fun – More friendship percentage to the relation advisor-student Young faculty – More active and motivated – Less administrative duties – Closer to your age group and therefore more fun – More friendship percentage to the relation advisor-student Senior faculty – More experienced and connected – More grants – More alumni -- has had the chance to give the world some successful PhDs Senior faculty – More experienced and connected – More grants – More alumni -- has had the chance to give the world some successful PhDs 23/04/2015  An everlasting dilemma Extracted from QUT, Australia

16 What are the expectations? Your expectations Their expectations Great Expectations Activity 23/04/2015

17 Your expectations 23/04/2015

18 Their expectations 23/04/2015

19 Understanding your supervisor Their goals Their skills Their hates Their inadequacies 23/04/2015

20 Their goals Supervision is a not a well paid job – supervising students at different universities – Clearly the goal is not (directly) money So what is their motivating? 23/04/2015

21 Their goals Giving back to the system Creating a scientific “legacy” Multiplying their output 23/04/2015

22 Their skills They offer different skills over the life cycle of your PhD At the start – Identifying a good question – Knowing what has already been done – Anticipating when a problem will be too hard or too easy 23/04/2015

23 Their skills In the middle – Watching over the “bigger” picture – Nudging your in good directions – Identifying common pitfalls (see later) – Keeping an eye on the clock 23/04/2015

24 Their skills At the end – Telling you when to stop – Knowing what a thesis looks like – Anticipating problem areas for your viva 23/04/2015

25 Their hates Students who quit – Wasted effort all round Students who finish late – They know writing up isn’t that pleasant – But it needs to be done 23/04/2015

26 Their inadequacies Supervisors are human too They are unable to – read your mind – manage their time – remember much 23/04/2015

27 DEALING WITH CONFLICT

28 Undergraduate teaching MSc supervisees Other PhD students Research assistants and research staff Their own publications Departmental administration Other professional roles (editor, referee, examiner, etc) Be aware of your supervisors’ other concerns 23/04/2015

29 Dealing with conflict Conflict is common Supervision is like a marriage Even divorce is possible 23/04/2015

30 Potential problems for students Lack of guidance Unavailability Insufficiently critical Overly critical Lack of knowledge in subject area 23/04/2015

31 Potential problems: supervisors Overly dependent Lack of honesty Uncontactable Lack enthusiasm Don’t follow advice Oversensitive to criticism Lack commitment 23/04/2015

32 Basis of problems Lack of communication Mismatched expectations Personality clash Competing pressures 23/04/2015

33 Dealing with conflict Communicate – Conflict often caused by breakdowns in communication Keep your expectations realistic Be organised Be professional Be open, flexible and honest Alert supervisor(s) to problems as they arise 23/04/2015

34 Dealing with conflict Compromise – There are two of you in this “marriage” Discuss expectations at the beginning Give sufficient notice for requests Draw up an agenda for your meetings Record the outcome of meetings and to supervisor(s)/use PhD Logbook Arrange next meeting ahead of time 23/04/2015

35 Dealing with conflict If problems persist : Speak to your second supervisor Approach your faculty’s Coordinator of postgraduate studies Approach your faculty’s Dean 23/04/2015

36 Dealing with conflict If all else fails, you can “change” your supervisor – Formally : there are procedures to follows – Funding may be an issue 23/04/2015

37 MANAGING YOUR SUPERVISOR

38 Why should you manage your supervisor(s)? S/he probably busier than you are S/he may not be aware of the regulations to extent you are Your enthusiasm and organisation may impress them You want to complete on time with as few problems as possible S/he will be your key reference for future jobs etc 23/04/2015

39 Managing your Supervisor Have a weekly meeting (very important) – Sets a quick pace for your projects Take the initiative -- the MSc/PhD is yours – Supervisors have many PhDs to think about and are much busier Learn how to communicate, including disagreeing without making it personal 23/04/2015

40 Managing your Supervisor Try to meet the deadlines – It is important and will build the trust of your advisor in your capabilities Try to understand their character – Will help you in getting things done 23/04/2015

41 When submitting work to your supervisor Cover sheet on every piece of work submitted with: Your name and year of PhD Your up-to-date thesis title An up-to-date chapter structure with full headings Highlight where today’s chapter or bit of work fits within this 23/04/2015

42 Maturing Recognise that priorities change – Individual external issues affect all partners Develop negotiation skills – Coaching students to see the way ahead – Duty of care to ensure target is reached Keep the enthusiasm – New grants, new duties, new opportunities – New social groups, technologies, “-omics” 23/04/2015

43 Integrating Others into Partnership Specialist researchers (not supervisors) – Advisory/mentor groups External activities – Work/tutoring – Sports, hobbies, theatre, etc Families – Partners, parents, grandparents, etc – Awareness without intrusion 23/04/2015

44 Manipulating your supervisor Be positive – Your supervisor is more likely to want to help – You’ll feel better Work hard – They will be more willing to work hard too – You’ll more likely to get results – A thesis is hard work 23/04/2015

45 Manipulating your supervisor Write – Internal notes – Conference papers – Journal articles They will find it hard to ignore paper 23/04/2015

46 Writing is the driver of good supervision 23/04/2015 Writing is constitutive of thinking Personal relations in conversation often mask divergences of views or misunderstandings Your supervisor gains information about your progress from your written work Supervisors cannot comment usefully on your progress or provide sound advice unless they can see your thoughts in writing

47 Manipulating your supervisor Be their ambassador – Scientific contacts – Social networking Make yourself invaluable – Reviewing papers – Helping run conferences – Running the lab/group 23/04/2015

48 A relationship to consider: the research student / supervisor balance Authority of the SUPERVISOR Freedom of the STUDENT Supervisor sells decision Supervisor presents decision & invites questions Supervisor presents tentative decision subject to changes Supervisor presents problem, gets suggestions, makes decisions Supervisor defines limits but expects student to make decision Supervisor expects student to function within limits set by him/her/dept / University Student accepts decision and takes action Student listens, questions and negotiates amendments Student takes action and presents results Student listens and questions decisions Student presents problem & proposes action but seeks approval before acts Supervisor makes decision & announces it Developed by University of Leeds 23/04/2015

49 Common Problems Divided attention Confusion about purpose Not contributing Too much contributing No record of discussions No mechanisms to monitor progress Responsibilities poorly defined 23/04/2015

50 Try to Remember They are learning on the job – There are no classes to be a supervisor They have little experience – Like in medicine: do one, watch one, teach one 23/04/2015

51 IGS RESEARCH SKILLS SEMINAR - MODULE 2 51 Recharging the Batteries

52 PhD is a Long Journey not a 100 m Sprint All things in moderation Body –Physical activities (workout, your favorite sports…) –Enough sleep –Relationships All things in moderation Body –Physical activities (workout, your favorite sports…) –Enough sleep –Relationships Mind –Hobbies, languages, reading Soul –God –Friends Mind –Hobbies, languages, reading Soul –God –Friends 23/04/2015

53 All Things in Moderation You need to combine work with fun – If you are happy you will produce more and better research – If you are miserable you will burn-out Try to do something outside your lab/home at least once a week Take a break and reward yourself after a big project deadline You need to combine work with fun – If you are happy you will produce more and better research – If you are miserable you will burn-out Try to do something outside your lab/home at least once a week Take a break and reward yourself after a big project deadline 23/04/2015

54 Everyday Activities Go for a coffee with a friend Have a nice meal Go to the movies Go the gym Play sports : futsal, bowling, badminton Go for a coffee with a friend Have a nice meal Go to the movies Go the gym Play sports : futsal, bowling, badminton 23/04/2015

55 Conclusion Working with your supervisor need skills: – Listening – Negotiating – Interpersonal Skills – Creativity – Remembering that they too have a life Working with your supervisor need skills: – Listening – Negotiating – Interpersonal Skills – Creativity – Remembering that they too have a life 23/04/2015

56 Your MSc/PhD could be the best time of your life Efficient time management Good supervision – Succeed at work – Have fun Your MSc/PhD could be the best time of your life Efficient time management Good supervision – Succeed at work – Have fun

57 Your action plan

58 Continue to communicate Write down agenda for meetings Schedule next meeting at the end Meeting minutes Write more often in advance of meetings Make note of outcome of meetings Draw up organised agendas for meetings Expect a bit less (warm relationship, guidance, etc) Be less intimidated to approach the ‘goddess’ with my own thoughts and critical ideas Improve the communication Write the ideas Create a formal agenda Be more independent Have a meeting about student-supervisor expectations and/or supervision procedures Write ‘minutes’ of my meetings and use them as a reference in the future Set up a meeting agenda More communication with my supervisor Create more regular meetings schedule with written input/output

59 Thank you for your attention!! 23/04/2015

60 References Tracking Postgraduate Supervision, Queensland University of Technology Planning, Structuring and Managing your PhD, Dr. Mark Matthews, Managing your supervisor, Toby Walsh, National ICT Australia, Universities of NSW and Uppsala 23/04/2015IGS RESEARCH SKILLS SEMINAR - MODULE 2 60


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