Appendix 4 – role of academic supervisors

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.