Higher Education

, Volume 34, Issue 1, pp 81–103

Style and quality in research supervision: the supervisor dependency factor

  • Booi Hon Kam

DOI: 10.1023/A:1002946922952

Cite this article as:
Hon Kam, B. Higher Education (1997) 34: 81. doi:10.1023/A:1002946922952


Research degree supervision is a bi-lateral process, a complexinteraction between the supervisor and the student. This interaction plays asignificant role in affecting the quality of the supervisory process. Using250 responses to a mail-out questionnaire sent to 932 post-graduate researchstudents, this study examines the extent to which students of disparatecharacteristics are dependent on their supervisors in a range ofresearch-related tasks, and how that dependency affects the researchsupervision process. It finds that a student's reliance on her or hissupervisor for guidance and motivation on work organisation and problemsolving, research preparation, and communication exerts a significant effecton the relationship between style and quality of research supervision. Thisfinding suggests that appropriate research supervision has no setprescription. Rather, the interactions among quality and style ofsupervision, role expectations of student and supervisor, field of study,and other characteristics, have all to be jointly considered.

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Booi Hon Kam
    • 1
  1. 1.Transport Research CentreRoyal Melbourne Institute of TechnologyMelbourneAustralia