By Ian Brailsford. Ian is Postgraduate Learning Adviser in the Libraries and Learning Services at the University of Auckland in New Zealand. With doctoral advising as his core work, Ian has an insightful approach to doctoral writing and the personal context that supports it.
Postgraduate research marks a transition from structured teaching and learning, with the lecturer deciding the course content, learning outcomes, assignment tasks and schedule, to fully fledged academic independence. To manage this in-between space, universities have for decades adopted an academic apprenticeship model where the less experienced researcher works under the supervision of a ‘master’. When it works well, as it does in most cases, postgraduate supervision is ‘win win’: the emerging early-career researcher is guided through the project to completion and the supervisor, as one experienced academic, Professor Robin Kearns, once put it, gains a new colleague. In an ideal world the balance of power shifts towards the end of the project; the postgraduate researcher becomes the expert and teaches the supervisor about their new-found knowledge.
However, we’re all human. Continue reading