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Using your supervisor

Chapter 4, Page 85

  • Use your supervisor to the fullest extent that you are allowed and follow the pointers you are given by them
  • You should not expect them to provide you with a ready-made topic or research question though. It is part of your assessment to develop your own.
  • If your supervisor is critical of your research questions, your interview schedule, drafts of your dissertation, or whatever, try to respond positively:
    • follow the suggestions that they provide, since criticisms will invariably be accompanied by reasons for them and suggestions for revision; it is not a personal attack
    • supervisors regularly go through the same process themselves when they submit an article to a journal, apply for a research grant, or give a conference paper
  • Students who get stuck in their dissertations or who get behind with their work sometimes respond by avoiding their supervisors:
    • they then get caught up in a vicious circle that results in their work being neglected and perhaps rushed at the end. This also means their supervisor might not have time to read their work.
    • try to avoid this situation by confronting the fact that you are experiencing difficulties in getting going or are getting behind and seek out your supervisor for advice

To see video clips of students talking about their experience of using their supervisor, click here