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Masters Discussion Forum

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This Category:   PostgraduateForum.com > Masters Advice / Support


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Thoughts on my supervision


User: helebon - 18 July 2017 12:07

Hi, I am studying for my research masters and I found out this week my only supervisor passed their PhD vivia a few months before they became my supervisor. I was not made aware of this and my supervisor was chosen for me. I'm not sure what to think of this as I already had questions about the supervision. Any thoughts, please? many thanks.

User: Tudor_Queen - 18 July 2017 12:52

I really don't think this is a problem for your research masters. If however you go on to do a PhD, I think it would definitely be worth choosing one or more additional supervisors who do have more experience.

Don't worry - focus on your modules, research, and dissertation. Your success is in your hands : )

User: helebon - 18 July 2017 13:05

Hi, thanks. I have passed all modules and I'm just working on the thesis and then viva now. I feel uncertain about things but will try not to worry.

User: TreeofLife - 18 July 2017 13:13

I'm not sure perceived inexperience is such a bad thing. Having recently graduated in 2016, I think I would make a pretty good supervisor for a MSc or PhD student. I know how the system works and I have loads of previous management experience. I don't think you should assume that your supervisor will be not great just because they are a recent graduate.

User: helebon - 18 July 2017 13:23

Hi, thanks. I wasn't informed of a deadline for one assessed piece of work. No written or verbal notice of this deadline or the assignment. I received an email from the admin team asking where was my submitted work on the day it should have been submitted. It was the first I'd heard of the assignment and the deadline. It's an MRes. I had queries about the supervision from the start as mentioned, not just on hearing they are a recent graduate.

User: cml47 - 18 July 2017 13:41

Hi helebon, Are they your only supervisor? I supervised my first masters thesis a few months after my PhD (and trust me I was almost as invested in her thesis as she was because I really wanted my first student to pass) but the department insisted on a senior member of staff acting as co-supervisor because supervision was new to me. I think it's unusual for a first time supervisor to be unsupported.

User: Tudor_Queen - 18 July 2017 13:48

Quote From helebon:
Hi, thanks. I wasn't informed of a deadline for one assessed piece of work. No written or verbal notice of this deadline or the assignment. I received an email from the admin team asking where was my submitted work on the day it should have been submitted. It was the first I'd heard of the assignment and the deadline. It's an MRes. I had queries about the supervision from the start as mentioned, not just on hearing they are a recent graduate.

This sounds like an admin problem not a supervisor experience problem? Of course you should have been informed of the assignment and deadline, but whose role was it to do that - the admin team or lecturer of that module? Are there two separate issues here?

User: helebon - 18 July 2017 13:49

Hi cml147, thanks. They are my only supervisor. I don't have that long to go now as I finish this year. I have met my supervisor only twice, the rest of the contact has been via email. The first meeting was to say hi and introduce myself and my ideas, so not much supervision.

User: helebon - 18 July 2017 13:58

Re.

This sounds like an admin problem not a supervisor experience problem? Of course you should have been informed of the assignment and deadline, but whose role was it to do that - the admin team or lecturer of that module? Are there two separate issues here?[/quote]

Hi thanks. The assignment was an initial part of the research process. So not part of a separate module with a lecturer.

User: Tudor_Queen - 18 July 2017 14:26

It is terrible that you weren't informed. On the MRes I did we had a handbook informing us of all assignments and hand in dates. It was really helpful as we kept referring to it throughout the course.

I don't think this is to do with your supervisor's inexperience though. If it was their responsibility to tell you then they were negligent. But an experienced supervisor could make the same mistake. The main thing is that they have an understanding of what your project is about, are available on email or to meet if you have questions, and are happy to read a draft and give feedback on it. After all, they are the one who will be marking it so you want to make sure you are on the same page.

User: MrFox - 20 July 2017 23:02

Irrespective of how experienced or inexperienced your particular supervisor may be, for any research degree there should be two supervisors, a primary and a secondary one. At least that's how it is handled at my uni (I am about to finish an MSc by Research, just like you). In addition my uni has independent committees that regularly meet with each postgraduate research student to monitor their progress and resolve issues that you may have with your supervision.

I don't think it is much of a problem that your supervisor just finished their PhD, especially considering you are 'only' doing an MRes, not a PhD. The same went for my supervisor, who despite being relatively senior had never been a primary supervisor before (he is a clinician who went into academia relatively late).

But IF your primary supervisor is lacking in certain areas (e.g. knowing about organisational stuff), then there should definitely be a second point of contact for you, like a second supervisor.

User: tru - 21 July 2017 02:25

Get another more experienced supervisor (as secondary or replace your primary). I myself was previously under first time supervisor who just grad a few months prior, and I assure you, it is bad

User: helebon - 24 July 2017 20:37

I've taken the bull by the horns and contacted the other school I could have done the MRes in. I have booked a full days training (along with other participants) in the other school with academics (paid by me). It's not for another 6 weeks but I can ask the academics lots of questions. I know a few of them a little already from attending various research seminars. It feels good to have some backup support.

Although I am only doing an MRes and have not yet moved onto the PhD I found the following article in the Guardian helpful:[url=showthumb]https://www.theguardian.com/higher-education-network/2015/dec/11/bad-phd-supervisors-can-ruin-research-so-why-arent-they-accountable[/url]

User: tru - 25 July 2017 01:56

Helebon, it is great that you are taking actions. Try reading http://www.edithumbs.com/how-to-choose-a-good-phd-supervisor/ . Don't forget to talk to the current students to know more about the supervisor




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