Master’s Dissertation and Supervisor Expectations

Introduction

Students and supervisors have different views when it comes to the feedback of the masters dissertation. This was clear through the questionnaires that were filled by the students with regards to the feedback that they get from the supervisors. Another major issue that was noted in terms of the preparation of the masters dissertation is student and supervisor contact where the student expects to have more contact with the supervisor yet the supervisor is not willing to have a lot of contact with the student in the process of dissertation preparation (Mason 2002).

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On the other hand, some of the supervisors will take into consideration the stage in which the student is during the preparation of the dissertation when providing feedback. During the preparation of the research question, the supervisor is willing to give the student a general feedback in that the student must be able to understand the feedback and must also be in a position to agree or disagree with the feedback that is given by the supervisor.

In addition to that, during the preparation of the research questions, the supervisor will also be in a position to inform the student about the relevance of the questions and how they would relate to the dissertation that they will be preparing in the masters level (Downton 2003).

Also, depending on the stage in which the student is during the preparation of the dissertation the supervisor will be willing to give the student specific feedback when it comes to the preparation of the dissertation (Mason 2002). A very good example would be when a student is in the process of preparing the research question; the supervisor would inform him / her on the areas of the research questions which are not relevant to the dissertation that he / she is preparing in the masters level.

The supervisor will also give a feedback on the effect of the research question on the preparation of the dissertation which is the most important aspect. The supervisor will also develop questions of his own towards the student that will be able to help him / her in their bid to being able to create research questions that they would use in the preparation of the masters dissertation (Coffey & Atkinson 1996). Some of the most important questions that may be posed to the student include; asking whether he / she is sure about the type of research he / she is willing to undertake.

Other important questions that may be used by the supervisor to guide the student in the preparation of the dissertation include the surety of the research questions that the student will have chosen and how they are related to the research that the student is undertaking (Sherman & Webb 1997).

In addition to that, the supervisor will also be in a position to be able to give feedback with regard to the research design that is undertaken by the student. This feedback would be important in that the student will be able to understand the appropriateness of the research that he / she is undertaking and how he / she may be able to conduct a perfect research (Williams 2008). On the other hand, the supervisor will guide the student on what kind of research that will be possible for the student to carry out without having to bring up issues with regard to the ethics of the research.

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This will go a long way in helping the student to understand clearly on the kind of research that he / she will be undertaking and how to approach it. The student will also be in a position to be able to create effective research questions that will help him / her in the preparation of the masters dissertation. The supervisor will also help the student by providing effective feedback to the stages that the student is going through that will enable him / her to be able to conduct effective research in terms of the questions which will be used as a guide in the preparation of the dissertation (Robson 2002).

Research Methodology

Quantitative versus Qualitative Research Strategy

This type of methodology involves the use of a questionnaire that is highly structured with the research questions in form of questionnaires that are handed out to people who are willing to undertake the research whereby a response will be expected from them for every question that is asked. This type of research method is commonly used when it comes to the presentation of the research question because it is very objective in that the person being asked the questions will be in a position to answer the research questions without any objections whatsoever.

In addition to that, this research method takes all samples involved in the research into consideration in that the person being asked the question is in a position to answer the questions asked based on all aspects as opposed to other types of research (Corbin 2007).

In this research, the questionnaire was used to be able to understand clearly if the student and the supervisor are able to understand what is needed of each other in the preparation of the masters dissertation. The questions in the questions were set in a bid to understanding the kind of feedback the supervisor will give to the student in the process of the preparation of the masters dissertation (Corbin 2007).

The questions were also simple and clear thereby making it easy for the person being asked to understand thereby giving the correct answer with regard to the question that was given. It is very important to take into consideration the simplicity of the language used in the questionnaire because by using complex words, the person who is answering may not be able to understand the given question thereby giving a different answer generally.

The use of choices in the answering of the questions is also an important aspect to consider because some of the questions may require a little bit of guidance which will be possible by one reading the answers that are available. In this research, the questions in the questionnaire have been set and the use of choices in the answers segment makes it easy for the person being asked to come up with a general conclusion of what is being required of him / her.

On the other hand, the questions that are set in the questionnaires must not be biased on one side in that the questions are not supposed to lead the person being asked to answer in any given way. In this research, the questions that are set are general questions and do not lean on one side which makes it easy for the person being asked to give a general view according to the requirement of the question asked.

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Results

According to the answers that were given in the questionnaires, it is clear that both the student and the supervisor is clear on what is expected of each other when it comes to the preparation of the masters dissertation. It is clear that interviewees are willing to give the students general feedback when it comes to the preparation of the masters dissertation. The interviewees also claim that, the stage by which the student is also determines the kind of feedback that the student will get in that if the student is in the preparation of the research question, the kind of feedback to expect more feedback as opposed to when the student is in the stage where he / she is handing out the questionnaires (Flick 2009).

In addition to that, the interviewees also states that the first draft handed to the supervisor will contain more comments that will be found on the margin of the paper as compared to the second draft where the supervisor will check for grammatical errors and insert the necessary feedback. The supervisor does no spell check the drafts that are handed because the student is expected to be in a position to spell check the document before it is handed to the supervisor. In addition to that, the interviewees are of the opinion that the students will be given the general feedback on their progress in the research and how they are progressing (Patton 2002).

On the other hand, the interviewees expected to give the student feedback on a given chapter only twice and it is up to the student to be able to follow the feedback that are provided to him / her to be able to come up with a masters dissertation that is up to the right standard. In addition to that, the interviewees are of the opinion that the students should be given feedback when it comes to the research design in that the supervisor will develop questions that will help the student in coming up with the best ideas that can be used in the preparation of the masters dissertation.

Discussion

The supervisor is willing to help the student in the preparation of the masters dissertation by providing feedback on the drafts that would enable the student to come up with a masters dissertation that is of the right quality. The supervisors that were interviewed are willing to be in a position to help the students develop the right quality of masters dissertation.

The feedbacks that will be provided by the interviewed supervisors to the students will be used to guide the students on how to go about it when it comes to the process of masters dissertation preparation. The feedbacks that will be provided by the supervisors will also give the students a general idea of what is expected of them when it comes to the preparation of the masters dissertation.

In addition to that, the supervisors will take into consideration the stage in which the student is before giving feedback in that some of the stages may involve less work for the students hence will require less feedback from the supervisor (Sherman & Webb 1997). A very good example of this type of stages that require less feedback from the supervisor due the simplicity is literature review which is considered by the supervisors as the simplest of the stages.

During the preparation of the research questions, the supervisor will give more feedback because this is the most important part of the research in that the questions that will be put in the questionnaires will have a great impact on the general outcome of the masters dissertation thereby making it important for the student to prepare questions that are easy and well understood so as to get the right quality of answers that will help in the preparation of the masters dissertation.

The supervisors that were interviewed would also give feedback on the research design that is taken by the students in that the supervisor will develop questions that will guide the students by giving them the general idea of what is expected of them and how the specific research may be carried out. The supervisors also had the idea that a student should have feedback twice in that if the first feedback is taken into effect seriously by student then they would not require having a second feedback from the supervisor.

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If the first feedback is not fully taken into account then the second feedback would be able to remind the student of the specific areas that are important in the preparation and this time it would be easy for the student because the feedback that will be given by the supervisor will be specific hence making it easy to correct on the intended areas (Sherman & Webb 1997). The supervisors were also of the opinion that they would read the masters dissertations before the students submit in a bid to making sure that the students have take into consideration all that is expected of them to develop a masters dissertation that is of the right quality and standard.

References

Coffey, A & Atkinson, P 1996, Making Sense of Qualitative Data: Complementary Research Strategies, Sage, London.

Corbin, J 2007, Basics of Qualitative Research: Techniques And Procedures, Oxford University Press, London.

Downton, P 2003, Design Research, Sage, London.

Flick, U 2009, An Introduction To Qualitative Research, Cengage Learning, Oklahoma.

Mason, J 2002, Qualitative Researching, Sage, London.

Patton, M 2002, Qualitative Research and Evaluation Methods, Chicago University Press, Chicago.

Robson, C 2002, Real World Research, Blackwell, Oxford.

Sherman, R & Webb, R 1997, Qualitative Research in Education: Focus And Methods, Routledge, London.

Williams, J 2008, The Craft Of Research, Harvard University Press, London.

Appendix

Table Representation of the Questionnaire Result for 13 students.

Preparedness of the Student towards the research
  • 2 students were sure that they were ready
  • 6 students were not ready just of yet to conduct a research on their own.
  • 5 students were almost ready to conduct a research
Responsibilities of the students
  • 3 students thought of planning and conducting the initial research
  • 3 students thought of maintaining contact with the supervisor
  • 3 students thought of completing the tasks given before meeting with the supervisors
  • 2 students thought of doing more research on their own
  • 1 student thought to follow the rules that have been set
  • 1 students thought its being responsible for the supervision in the process of research
Characteristics of an ideal supervisor
  • 2 students thought approachable in a friendly manner
  • 4 students though interested in the kind of research they were conducting
  • 2 students thought supporting in the sense that he/she must support them during the research
  • 3 thought of someone who has a critical sense of view toward the research
  • 2 students though of a supervisor who is open to anything from the students
Expectation of the student towards the kind of relationship
  • 5 students thought of a friendly supervisor who will open towards the student in terms of the research they are conducting
  • 2 students thought of an informal supervisor who will be able to concentrate on the research project
  • 3 students thought of a friendly and trustworthy supervisor towards the students
  • 2 students thought of a supportive supervisor who will be able to give feedback to the student
  • 1 student thought of a supervisor who is able to attain goal in a given period of time
Other types of support to expect from the school
  • 3 students thought of access to journals and books from online libraries
  • 2 students thought of a good interaction between the students and supervisors until the end of the research period
  • 3 students thought of access to other researcher who have done the same projects
  • 3 students thought of access to the school library where they will be able to access literature that is necessary for the research process
  • 2 students thought of a timeline on how the research process should be conducted
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