Dissertation Supervisor

Dissertation Supervisor-23
They should not be an unquestioning emotional prop with a need to demonstrate superior knowledge in all things: that simply encourages an unhealthy dependency.Supervising a student’s dissertation is by any measure a sophisticated role, the relationship with the student being at its core.

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Rather, their level of knowledge and interest should be such that they develop a deeper understanding of the subjects their students are writing about as dissertations progress.

Supervisors should have an inherent interest in learning through systematic enquiry, be student-focused and have a personality that enables them to be both nurturing and challenging.

Their view is echoed by Kimani (2014), who considers the relationship between student and supervisor on a hierarchical basis. It may be better to see the supervisor-student relationship as a mature and symbiotic one in which each has responsibilities to the other, rather than one being entirely dependent on the other – which may be unhealthy.

The role of supervisor is certainly far more than just being a sounding board for ideas.

This article, part of an occasional series on study skills, gives an overview of how students and supervisors should handle the process, what each party’s responsibilities are, and how to resolve potential conflict.

Citation: Lowry M (2018) Making the most of the relationship with your dissertation supervisor.Todd et al (2004) investigated students’ perceptions of the experience of undertaking a dissertation and found that “a strong consensus existed among respondents that the role of the supervisor is to give academic guidance on managing the dissertation, to motivate and encourage and to possess (and communicate) academic expertise in the area of the dissertation”.However, the idea that the supervisor should provide academic expertise in the topic area is at odds with the idea that a dissertation is mostly about process.What can you expect from your dissertation supervisor?What should you do if issues arise in the relationship with your supervisor?For both student and supervisor, it is paramount to invest in that relationship.The first step is to meet as early as possible to agree on principles for their shared journey.This article explores how to make the best of the supervisory relationship.Although it has a long tradition in psychology, guidance, counselling and education (Agu and Odimegwu, 2014), there is no clear definition of supervision.According to Kimani (2014), the role of supervisor is multifaceted and can be described as that of a foreperson, overseer, coach, facilitator and coordinator.Supervisors therefore need a range of personal and professional qualities.

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