Master’s degree programmes are on the rise, attracting growing numbers of international students who speak English as a second or additional language. Experiencing Master’s Supervision: Perspectives of International Students and their Supervisors explores the experiences of supervising and being supervised at Master’s level, charting the difficulties and joys of learning for second language speakers of English while based at a UK university.
The authors report the findings of a year of studying both supervisees and their supervisors in four different departments in the social sciences and humanities at a UK research-intensive university. Using a multiple case study approach, and examining supervision in its natural context, this book presents rich descriptions of five case studies: three student-supervisor dyads and two cases of individual students. Analysing rich, first-hand narratives, chapters identify key aspects of satisfaction and dissatisfaction through the eyes of the participants, focusing upon expectations, supervision styles, feedback and students’ support networks, and discussing the broader implications for university and departmental policy makers, responsible for guidelines and requirements.
This book contains important insights into the supervisory experience at Master’s level and will appeal to researchers, academics and postgraduate students in the fields of higher education, TESOL, TEFL/TESL and applied linguistics. This book will also be a useful resource for supervisors, leaders of training sessions for supervisors, and for postgraduate directors and teaching committees at universities who develop supervisory guidelines and preparatory sessions for Master’s students.
‘Harwood and Petric’s book is a very welcome addition to the literature of research student supervision. Its focus on master’s level supervision is especially welcome given the very large numbers of international students undertaking master’s degrees that require the writing of a dissertation in English. The fine-grained analysis of both students’ and supervisors’ experiences of this are an important strength of the book. The multiple case studies and the longitudinal nature of the research, further, provide the opportunity for detailed observations to be made that are both revealing and important about students’ and supervisors’ experiences.’
Brian Paltridge, Professor of TESOL, University of Sydney
‘Thisis an interesting and useful book for all supervisors, not just those who supervise international students. Its strength lies in the in-depth interviews, which bring the reader in close contact with very different students and their supervisors at crucial stages of the dissertation process. The case studies also give valuable insight into the problems students experience with academic writing, the varying amounts and forms of feedback supervisors give, and particularly how critical it is for students who don´t understand how to utilize the feedback. This highlights the importance of discovering the student´s real needs, as failure to master academic discourse may jeopardize the whole master project.’
Olga Dysthe,Professor, Department of Education, University of Bergen
‘Experiencing Master’s Supervision reminds us that engaging in research at any level is an inherently uncertain, even risky, business! Through undertaking five case studies that span the life of a UK master’s dissertation, Nigel Harwood and Bojana Petric explore the manifold pedagogies of supervision in the social sciences and humanities. Their study offers a vivid and detail-rich view of what goes on in master’s research education, especially from an international student’s point of view. The stories in this book flesh out more abstract insights offered elsewhere in ways that will deeply engage readers – supervisors and students alike.’
Barbara M. Grant,Associate Professor, Critical Studies in Education, The University of Auckland, Aotearoa/New Zealand
1. Introduction 2. Our Study 3. 'This is not my topic but I'll help as much as possible': Jay & Billy's story 4. 'I've not done this before, I want to be told exactly what to do': Victoria and Harriet's story 5. 'And I panicked and I couldn't focus and I felt it all crumbling down on me again!': Laura and Rosie's story 6. 'I had this opportunity. So yes - I took it': Clara's story 7. 'My objective is not to learn how to work without supervision. My objective is somebody can teach me something': Janet's story 8. Discussion and conclusion References Appendices Appendix A: Sample interview schedule for supervisees Appendix B: Sample interview schedule for supervisors Appendix C: Writing log instructions Appendix D: "Talk aloud" instructions Appendix E: Information sheet for participants Appendix F: Coding: independently summarizing interviews Appendix G: Refining start list of codes: an excerpt from the record of disagreements, problems, and action taken Appendix H: Examples of refinements of the start list of supervisee codes using Word's Track Changes Appendix I: Final list of codes: supervisee interviews Appendix J: Final list of codes: supervisor interviews