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Managing your Dissertation Superviser Jason Schaub, course leader MSc Safeguarding.

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Presentation on theme: "Managing your Dissertation Superviser Jason Schaub, course leader MSc Safeguarding."— Presentation transcript:

1 Managing your Dissertation Superviser Jason Schaub, course leader MSc Safeguarding

2 Today’s workshop aims … Explore and understand roles and responsibilities in the student-supervisor relationship. Consider issues that may arise and think about how to overcome them. Discuss techniques for working with your supervisor and managing your relationship.

3 Roles and Responsibilities Take a few minutes to: Outline some ways that supervisors can help you complete your dissertation; Outline the ways that this process could become problematic; Outline some ways that you could make the supervision process easier.

4 Why should you manage your relationship with your supervisor(s)? They are probably busier than you think they are They may not be aware of your dissertation timeline to extent you are Your enthusiasm and organisation may impress them You want to complete on time with as few problems as possible They may be your key reference for future jobs etc.

5 Supervisor’s Responsibility Encouraging you to continue your programme Providing timely, constructive feedback Assisting in developing your ideas Ethics process

6 Students’ Responsibilities Behave ethically – including submitting to ethics committees Attend supervisions to discuss progress and any concerns Attend/participate in classes, seminars, lectures, other events Manage learning responsibly Understand good scholarly practice Submit work by deadlines Seek and respond to feedback on written work

7 Living up to the idea … ?

8 Submitting drafts to your supervisor Page numbers on each draft! Explain in each draft what stage you are at – is this a first draft, or a final version? Make sure you note missing references or areas where you know further work is needed Cover sheet/Intro. on every piece of work submitted with: Your name, student ID, and course name Research questions/topic/methods Ensure each chapter’s first page has: Chapter number Full current title Details of word length, plus any missing element(s)

9 Writing is the driver of good supervision Writing clarifies your thinking Conversation sometimes masks differences in view or misunderstandings Your supervisor gains information about your progress and thinking from your written work Supervisors cannot comment usefully on your progress, or provide sound advice, unless they can see your thought process in writing

10 Top Tip I Don't be afraid to put questions to your supervisor! But it is often better to ask specific questions that you have attempted to find answers to first. Instead of asking, "How am I doing?" you are more likely to get the detailed answer you need if you ask, "What do you think of the analysis in Chapter 2?"

11 Tips for working with your Supervisor Use whatever form of communication works for you and your supervisor Email Phone Face-to-face Send notes of what you’d like to discuss before supervision Don’t be afraid to make notes whilst meeting – often you may forget details later without notes. You may find that the dissertation guidelines or the University website are helpful in answering many of your questions. Be careful of relying on information from other students too heavily – remember, they’ve not completed the course yet, either!

12 What issues might arise … ?

13 Potential issues for Students Lack of guidance Lack of availability Insufficiently critical Too critical Lack of knowledge in subject area

14 Three unforgiveable traits Supervisors that: do not read your writing; never attend supervisions; are selfish, unforgiving brutes. Adapted from Brabazon (2013)

15 Potential issues for Supervisors Students that are: Overly dependent Lack of honesty Unresponsive/elusive Lack enthusiasm Don’t follow advice Oversensitive to criticism Lack commitment

16 Top Tip II It is your responsibility to monitor your own study and contact your supervisor if you are having problems: don't wait for them to email you. If they don't hear from you, they will probably assume you are doing fine.

17 BASIS of issues … Lack of communication Mismatched expectations Competing pressures Personality clash Is this an option when both individuals are (or soon will be) professionally bound?

18 Overcoming issues | 1 Keep expectations realistic Be organised Be professional Be open, flexible and honest

19 Overcoming issues | 2 Discuss expectations at the beginning Give sufficient notice for requests Draw up a list of questions for your meetings Outline the tasks you’ve agreed at the end of supervision Remind the supervisor of tasks they’ve agreed to do for you Arrange next meeting ahead of time (if possible) Alert supervisor to problems as they arise

20 Overcoming issues | 3 If problems persist: Approach Your supervisor (required, in the first instance) Your course leader If issue is not resolved, you should approach Student’s Union/Student Advice Centre LDU Head of Academic Department Head of School

21 Be aware of your supervisor’s other responsibilities Undergraduate Tutees/Supervisees (8+) and courses Other MSc Supervisees and courses Class teachers for BSc/MSc courses Academic Research & Publications Administrative role within the Course, Department, or School Other Professional roles – Editor, Referee for journals, Conference, External Examining (PhD, Masters degrees)

22 Top Tip III Be prepared for your supervisor to "wean you off" their guidance as your dissertation progresses e.g. in the Spring you may ask "Am I going in the right direction?" and they may reply "You should be able to decide that for yourself". Take this as a positive sign that your supervisor thinks you are ready to have more independence.

23 Summary of KEY POINTS Keep to time (meetings and tasks) Be honest and open with your supervisor about your progress Ensure that you provide your supervisor ample time to comment on your work given their other commitments. Respond to comments (feedback) as constructively as possible Seek advice or support as soon as you think something is beginning to affect your progress

24 Activity What is your dissertation topic? What are your broad methods? What is your timescale to complete?

25 Further Information and-key-relationships.html supervision-process.html supervisor/

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