A personal approach to research degree supervision: from

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A personal approach to
research degree supervision:
from practice to adult learning
theory
Four useful Chinese sayings and
connections to the “Great Tradition”
in adult education
Differences in the approach to
research doctorate supervision:
financial & economic
educational & learning
The doctoral learning
journey & the
student/supervisor
relationship
Financial & economic
An administrative perspective:
•Cost-based approach to service provision
•“One size fits all” management ethos
•Ration the amount of personal contact
between student and supervisor
The doctoral learning
journey & the
student/supervisor
relationship
Educational & learning
Learner-centred approach
Based on adult learning theory
Focused on the learning process
& individual learner needs
Focused on natural development
of learning capability and
‘warming up’ through
delayed selection.
Supervisor-centred approach
Focused more on knowledge
acquisition than the adult learner or
the learning process
Focused on early assessment and
‘cooling out’ selection.
The doctoral learning
journey & the
student/supervisor
relationship
Adult learning issues:
what role for supervisors?
• Most students can only study part-time and have heavy
responsibilities elsewhere.
• Some students underestimate the commitment of time,
energy, intellectual and emotional resources required.
• Many students have limited experience of thinking, writing
and operating in academic research mode.
• Sometimes it is well into the supervision process before
‘cognitive click’ occurs and students really understand
what they want to know.
• Many students lose momentum, often feeling lonely and
isolated.
The “Long March”
“万里长征”-- Mao Zedong
“ภาระผกู พันระยะยาว”
sustain the commitment
มีความเข้าใจว่า การทาวิจยั เป็ นกระบวนการที่ตอ้ งอาศัยเวลากว่าจะเสร็ จสมบูรณ์ และให้
ความสนับสนุนผูเ้ รี ยนอย่างต่อเนื่อง
“Stretch and bend”
“能屈能伸”
“มีความยืดหยุน่ เข้าใจ รวมถึงมุ่งที่ส่งเสริ มผูเ้ รี ยน”
enable learner to work in partnership with the
supervisor, comprehend Western mode of
discourse and submit to the ‘dictatorship of the
academic’
มีความเข้าใจในการทางาน ปรับตัวให้สอดคล้องสถานการณ์ของผูเ้ รี ยนและส่ งเสริ มการ
พัฒนาองค์ความรู้ของผูเ้ รี ยน
“Walk on two legs”
“两条腿走路”
“สร้ างความสมดุลระหว่ างทฤษฏีและปฏิบัต”ิ
balance between theory & practice,
evidence & interpretation
สามารถนาความรู ้ทางทฤษฏี มาประยุกต์กบั สถานการณ์จริ ง ได้เหมาะสม อันนี้หมาย
รวมถึง กระบวนการคิด วิเคราะห์ และการปฏิบตั ิ
“Guide, philosopher and friend”
“良师益友”
ให้คาแนะนา เป็ นผูร้ อบรู้ และมนุษย์สมั พันธ์ที่ดี
sustain the working relationship
ที่ปรึ กษา ต้องสามารถให้คาแนะนา ปรึ กษา แก้ปัญหาในกระบวนการทาวิจยั ให้ผเู้ รี ยน
อย่างเต็มใจ และสอดคล้องกับความเป็ นจริ ง
Balance in supervision
Knowing and
liking the person
เข้าใจและยอมรับในความเป็ นไปของแต่ละบุคคล
Facilitating the
learning process
สนับสนุนกระบวนการเรี ยนรู้
Focus on task
performance and
knowledge
accumulation
มุ่งไปที่คุณภาพของงานและการเพิ่มพูนความรู้
Supervision: what philosophy
and working practice to adopt?
The liberalhumanist &
cosmopolitan
knowledge camp
The didacticinstructional
& functional
knowledge
camp
Two forms of knowledge in the
‘Age of Industry’
and their influence on supervision and learning
• Functional: related to science and technology,
instrumental in purpose, didactic and instructional
in the transfer of knowledge.
• Cosmopolitan: related to the idea of progress and
improvement in human affairs (political, economic
and cultural), expressive in purpose with a
preference for a learner-centred and empowering
approach to acquiring knowledge
“The Great Tradition”
liberal-humanism in adult education
Some key writers & practitioners:
R H Tawney and University Extension
A H Mansbridge and the W E A
R B Madgwick and Australian Army Education
Bishop Grundtvig and the Danish Folk High Schools
R Tagore, Indian poet and philosopher
Cardinal Newman and “The Idea of a University”
M S Knowles and adult learning theory
and many more of my heroic figures
Contributions made to adult
education in the ‘Great
Tradition’:
• Cosmopolitan knowledge and “the search for social
relevance”.
• Education for all and the ladder of opportunity.
• Adult education and the ‘second chance’ for the ‘late
developer’ (or delayed selection and continuous ‘warming
up’ to prevent premature ‘cooling out’).
• Andragogy and a person-centred, experiential approach to
knowledge with the role of the teacher/supervisor as an
empowering learning facilitator.
Cardinal John Newman (1801-1890)
A truly liberal education is the best
aid to professional and scientific
study…learning to think and reason..
and to analyse…form judgements
and sharpen mental vision
Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941)
The idea of adult education is to
learn to think independently and
express oneself freely using the
personal relationship between
teacher and student as the
catalyst to discover one’s own
style of learning
WRONG
WAY
GO BACK
• By tightening up with early assessment we
replace a ‘late developer’ ethos with a
‘front-end’, early selection and ‘cooling
out’ model of adult learning, and go back to
the elitism of the 1950s and a narrow,
instrumental university culture.
WRONG
WAY
GO BACK
• We reduce the person and learner-centred
‘nurturing’ model of supervision with a
performance-assessment model that is more
focused on functional knowledge outcomes
than the adult learning and maturation
process needed and valued by mid-career
professional people.
How to make a research proposal
in easy steps
Think about the importance of having a cognitive
roadmap before your journey begins.
Don’t rely on inspiration and luck!
Some key learning principles
of the ‘cognitive apprenticeship’
• Higher degrees, especially research-based
ones, develop capability in independent,
self-directed learning.
• They also move the learner from a
consumer to a producer of knowledge.
• You learn to take full responsibility for your
own learning (a Buddhist precept) and not
become dependent on your supervisor.
Some background ideas
• Eventually your proposal should pass the
test of plausibility (does it make sense?)
and manageability (can it be done in a
reasonable time?).
• You can either design a very detailed
research plan (or roadmap) or one that is
flexible enough to develop as you go
further. This will depend on how you learn.
Step one: what do you want to know?
• Start with the most basic question: What do
you want to know?
• Translate the question into a problem
statement.
• Explain why research on your topic is
useful and required.
• Explain what contribution to knowledge
your research will make. Is it more about
theory or practical application?
Step one (continued)
•
•
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
Produce the core research questions.
Make use of the six ‘friends’ to create the
research questions:
What?
Why?
How?
Where?
When?
Who?
Step two: the literature
•
•
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
Who else has written on your topic?
Identify the ‘need to know’ literature that can
help you do these thingsExpress the research problem more fully
Provide conceptual frameworks
Provide examples of research design & methods
Data to compare and contrast your own
Ideas on how to generalise your research
Step three: research design & methods
• “Let the problem drive the method”
• Explain, justify and defend whatever research
design & methods you take (eg. Case study)
• How are you going to collect data?
• Pay special attention to your population sample (if
applicable). How representative?
• How are you going to process and analyse your
data?
• Advise on your research limitations
• Is your research ethical?
Step four: the research plan
• Provide an outline structure and content
plan of the entire work.
• The plan is certain to change as you
discover and learn more but it is still a
useful exercise to think ahead
Step five: the research timetable
•
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
Provide an outline timetable of your
research management plan.
How long on the overall research plan?
How long on reviewing the literature?
How long on getting the fieldwork
completed?
How long on data-set analysis?
How long to write up your research?
Step six: is the proposal presentable?
•
•
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
Check through the proposal carefully for
simple errors of presentation
Pay special attention to yourProblem statement
Core research questions
Key concepts and theories,
The literature review & ‘knowledge gap’
Research design & methods

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