Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Research Supervision Self-Assesment Questionnare

Cover of Successful Research Supervision: Advising students doing research by Anne LeeAnne Lee's book "Successful Research Supervision: Advising students doing research" (Routledge, April 2012),  includes a set of questions for research supervisors to help evaluate their approach.
Lee evaluated questions on groups of supervisors in the UK and Scandinavia. The supervisors were asked to rate different approaches to supervision, considering their value, current use and desired skills. The rating was done with a five point Likert scale: unimportant to important.
A refined set of twenty questions for supervisors is included opposite  page 160 of the book [Table 8.15a Academic version - a questionnaire to enable greater understanding of the framework of approaches to research supervision (adapted from Lee 2008a)].  A typical question is the first one: "I always allocate time well ahead for preparation, teaching and marking work for my postgraduate students".
The numeric scores are then added up in five categories, corresponding to the framework proposed by Lee:
  1. Functional
  2. Enculturation
  3. Critical Thinking
  4. Emancipation
  5. Relationship development
I answered the questions myself and the results were:

Priorities As a Supervisor
Functional 20 29%
Critical Thinking 15 22%
Relationship development 12 18%
Emancipation 11 16%
Enculturation 10 15%

Obviously these questions are intended for self reflection by the supervisor, not an objective score. One problem was that in attempting to answer the questions, it was not clear if I was to assess what I was the current situation, or what was desirable. For example, did I prepare ahead, or did I think it was important?
There is also there a set of corresponding questions for students opposite page 163.
It would be interesting to interrogate the university records system and see of there is any correlation between the supervisor and student perceptions and the records of what the students and staff actually did. In addition to the official university records of meetings, reports and submissions, any Learning Management System used would have detailed records of staff and student actions.

ps: The cover of Lee's book shows a student at their laptop with a plie of books. What is unrealistic are the shelves of books behind the student. Modern unviersity libraries have moved books to the basement, to make more room for student "learning commons".


Lee, Anne Dr (2012). Successful research supervision : advising students doing research (1st ed). Routledge, Abingdon, Oxon

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