Style and quality in research supervision: the supervisor dependency factor
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- Hon Kam, B. Higher Education (1997) 34: 81. doi:10.1023/A:1002946922952
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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.