Appendix 4 – role of academic supervisors

Each Honours/Minor Thesis/Research  Project student will be assigned a primary supervisor for their thesis. The aim  of supervision is to guide and inspire the student through the design and  conduct of an appropriate thesis and to train the student in the ability to  analyse, synthesise and evaluate critically the literature relevant to the  topic in their area of specialisation, so that the student can carry out original research.

The role of the supervisor  is to:

  • Provide academic guidance concerning the nature and  practice of research;
  • Facilitate the student’s access to the relevant literature  and support development of their critical appraisal skills;
  • Assist the student to understand the rationale behind the  development of the research project;
  • Instruct the student in the appropriate experimental techniques,  where appropriate;
  • Assist the student in the planning of experimental  protocols and provide guidance on statistical analyses, where appropriate;
  • Assist the student in the critical analysis and  interpretation of experimental data;
  • Make the student aware of any compulsory ethics clearance  and/or health and safety requirements;
  • Make the student aware of relevant university and faculty  policies and procedures;
  • Make the student aware of facilities and resources  available to students, in particular the services offered by the library; and
  • Assist the student to develop oral and written  communication skills.

In particular,

  • Prior to the commencement of any thesis, the supervisor/committee must establish that the proposed research component is appropriate in scope,  and is feasible in terms of time, facilities, equipment, technical and resource  requirements.
  • At the commencement of candidature the supervisor must  meet and discuss with the candidate their mutual expectations and establish an approved program of study including clearly identified objectives for the  research component; as well as discussing relevant ethical and safety  requirements, intellectual property issues, and at this point should establish  frequency of communication.
  • The supervisor must provide regular and systematic  feedback to students

The supervisor should meet  with students under his/her supervision at least once every fortnight for  fulltime students and once a month for part time students to discuss their thesis  and work through any problems associated with it. The supervisor should also  provide feedback on at least one draft but no more than two drafts of the thesis.