Research supervision as pedagogy

By far the most dominant discourse in the research supervision literature is the discussion about research supervision as pedagogy.

Although not using the term ‘pedagogy’, Connell (1985) established this strand of thinking about research supervision in her personal account of research supervision in which she referred to it in the context of an academic’s other teaching practices. Lee and Green (1995) added to this agenda and made explicit the term pedagogy in their Australian Universities review special edition dedicated to Postgraduate Pedagogy. By the early 2000s, when this particular slant on research supervision took its stride, it was being commonly referred to as Research Supervision as Pedagogy (Pearson and Brew, 2002; Bruce and Stoodley, 2010; Grant and Manathunga, 2011; Zeegers and Barron, 2012)

Coming into this debate while completing my doctoral degree (Hill, 2002) I was influenced in my thinking about research supervision as pedagogy by a discourse to which I had been exposed in my consultancy work called Productive Pedagogies. In essence this was an array of strategies for teachers to use to make them much more effective in their teaching. Although designed for an audience of Early Childhood, Primary and Secondary teachers, I found the agenda useful for naming the pedagogies involved in research degree supervision, an aspect of the literature which I felt had not been sufficiently advanced. I specifically advanced my thinking with regard to the productive pedagogies of making assessment criteria clear (Hill, 2007) and prior knowledge (Hill, 2008). I also put forward the idea that the whole frame work of Productive Pedagogies was beneficial to a study of research supervision (Hill, 2110).

The series of articles in this blog advance the agenda of trying to name specific pedagogy for research supervision, either by borrowing from names of pedagogies in other contexts of teaching or by promoting a name myself.
These included:

  • Narrative (taken from the Productive Pedagogy suite)
  • Problem solving pedagogy (taken from the Productive pedagogy suite)
  • Career pedagogy
  • Reflective practice, and
  • A pedagogy for group supervision

…as well as a number of articles related to supporting academic writing. The strategies for supporting academic writing have been developed in conjunction with other research supervisors and the Enago the editorial service. The articles about supporting academic writing include:

  • Using Powerpoint to support academic writing development
  • Helping a student with their thesis statement
  • Providing feedback on academic writing
  • 5 strategies to help your student learn to write.

Use the Research Supervision as Pedagogy portal at the end of this blog to access each of these articles.

Bruce, C., and I. Stoodley. (2010). Science and technology supervision resource and cases. Brisbane: Queensland University of Technology.

Connell, R. W. (1985). How to Supervise a PhD, The Australian Universities Review, 28(2), 38-41.

Grant, B. and Manatunga, C. (2011) Supervision and cultural difference: rethinking institutional pedagogies, Innovations in Education and Teaching, 48(4), 351-354

Hill, G. (2007) Making the assessment criteria explicit through writing feedback: A pedagogical approach to developing academic writing. International Journal of Pedagogies and Learning 3(1), 59-66.

Hill, G. (2008) Supervising Practice Based Research. Studies in Learning, Evaluation, Innovation and Development, 5(4), 78-87

Hill, G. (2010, September) Making use of pedagogic models as reflective catalysts for investigating pedagogic practice. In The 5th International Inquiring Pedagogies Conference (iPED 2010), Coventry, United Kingdom.

Lee, A. and Green, B. (Eds) (1995) Postgraduate studies/Postgraduate pedagogy. Australian Universities review.

Pearson, M. & Brew, A. (2002) Research training and supervision development, Studies in Higher Education, 27(1), 135–150.

Zeegers, M. and Barron, D. (2012) “Pedagogical concerns in doctoral supervision: a challenge for pedagogy”, Quality Assurance in Education, Vol. 20 (1), 20 – 30


About the (research) supervisor's friend

I work at a university helping university academics who are supervising research students. I am a research supervisor myself and also work as a research coach for people undertaking their research I was originally in a Management Faculty and when I completed my doctoral studies on 'doing a doctorate' I started working with research supervisors to help them improve their practice.
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One Response to Research supervision as pedagogy

  1. Great website, thanks a lot !!

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