22 SES 06 A, Student Supervision
Research questions, objectives and theoretical framework
This paper presents a research that examines students’ (n=302) views on thesis supervision and related responsibilities between the supervisors and students in International Master’s Degree Programmes (IMDPs) of four Finnish universities. Aspects that students consider important during supervision are analysed with special focus on expertise, interaction and studying cultures.
In this research, supervision is understood as a complex social process (Hodza, 2007) and a vulnerable relationship (Delamont, Parry and Atkinson, 1998) which includes emotional and cognitive involvement. Previous research highlights the importance of effective supervision that leads to students’ success (Lessing and Schulze, 2002) and good communication as the main key factor of supervision (Waitie, 1994). Additionally, consistent rules, understanding the supervisor’s and student’s roles (Hodza, 2007), tactical meetings, supervisor’s expertise, feedback and finding solutions in issues that emerge, are equally important (Drennan and Clarke, 2009). The procedural aspect of supervision is equally important with the emotional aspect of supervision. A number of studies underline the importance of emotional involvement between the student and supervisor during supervisor which can increase students’ satisfaction and learning (Klein, Meijer, Brekelmans and Pilot, 2012)
Finland is one of the non-English speaking European countries that offer many programmes in English and thereby aim to gain a higher share in the international education market (OECD 2013). This trend reflects the increased cultural, economic and political globalization that has led to a new era of cross-border education and educational internationalization (Knight, 2011). Despite the high number of IMDPs, the research into these programmes in the Finnish context has so far been limited. Moreover, research on supervision in higher education focused more on doctoral level supervision (Dysthe, 2002) and less attention has been paid to research on master’s theses (Anderson, Day and McLaughin, 2008). However, thesis writing constitutes the widest and most challenging share of studies which is why it has been experienced that it may often obstruct the completion of studies (Ylijoki, 2001).
The main research questions of this paper are:
(1) What are students’ views on the roles and responsibilities of the supervisor and student during thesis supervision?
(2) Which are the aspects that students consider important for master’s thesis supervision?
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