The Role Of Supervisor In A Research Process

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The role of the supervisor

The informants describe cooperation with the supervisor as very important. Cooperation was perceived as vital in all steps of the research process; planning, data collection, analysis and writing the thesis. Both good and bad experiences and attributes throughout this process were described. There were two categories in the theme, the superior and the inferior supervisor.

The superior supervisor

Experiences of positive qualities that were desirable in a supervisor was described by the informants based on their own experiences but also reflection after hearing about experiences of other students in the class.

Above all the informants said it was important that the supervisor is competent in the research design
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Some knowledge of what my work is about and also, of course, an understanding of statistics, because that was what we had a lot of questions about.’

A fundamental element was that the supervisor had time and was available. The participants described that it was important that there be enough time for discussion during the planned meetings. But that it was also important that the supervisor be available for contact via email or phone outside the pre-arranged meeting times.
’I think it is most important that you have time to supervise. That the supervisor has time’

The informants wanted a supervisor who was straightforward, clear, committed and was interested in the students ' work and respectful of the students ' opinions. They should also have a positive attitude and a willingness to guide students through the work with their thesis.
’That they primarily are interested. But also that they have to have the ability to know how the work should be written and structured ... to be respectful towards those who write’

The inferior
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. . . . I don’t know how you get to be a supervisor, but I think that if you are, you should have time for your student and the ability to devote time to them. You can’t say “Maybe I can reply [to your email] next week.’. In that case, you shouldn’t be a supervisor.’

Another aspect was that the supervisor should not be too strict and controlling which seemed to be a risk if they had a lot of expertise in the topic. The supervisor might not allow for the students to develop the process and influence the work as much as they would like. Instead controlling everything based on his/her own knowledge and understanding.

’It is possible that the supervisor takes a lot of control… if the supervisor is very good with methodology and very good in the area, it is possible that the supervisor takes over a little bit, provides a little too much input and the students then may not have the space to be creative and learn. But this is still a learning experience.’

The informants´perception of

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