Praise and encouragement goes a long way towards building confidence in laboratory work

Charlotte Slaymark is a Technician at the University of Glasgow, and holds the UKCGE Recognised Associate Supervisor Award.

The Auditorium

By Charlotte Slaymark, Biogeochemistry Technician and PhD Candidate, University of Glasgow

A person with long hair adn heir back tot he camera, engages in scientific work at a lab bench

Supervision may be the most important aspect of a postgraduate’s experience during their masters or PhD programme. Supervisors are there to teach, guide, develop, support, and empower postgraduates into becoming independent researchers and highly skilled people. The experience is formative, and it is likely the candidate will remember it for their entire life.

Supervision in physical sciences often comes from several people to provide different expertise, training, development, and support. I think it is important all aspects of supervision are considered for a successful postgraduate experience which is why I took time to reflect on my supervisory practice by taking part in the UK Council for Graduate Education Associate Supervisor Award.

This blog piece is about my day-to-day experience as a research technician (and part time PhD candidate), supervising on post-graduate projects in the School of Geographical and…

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Being open to critique, transparent in your motives, and when needed, step out of the way

This is a guest post by Manuela Schmidt, currently working at Jönköping University and Linneaus University and Erika Hansson, of Kristianstad University. Manuela and Erika met during their respective doctoral programs. Manuela in health science and Erika in psychology. After reaching ‘the other side’, both with PhD’s after their names, they decided to ignore the …

The doctoral supervisor as methodological mentor: postgraduate methodological journeys

Dr Timothy Clark (@DrTimothyClark) is a Senior Lecturer, Supervisor and Researcher in Education and Childhood at the University of the West of England (UWE Bristol). The selection, and coherent application, of methodological approach is often highlighted as one of the most challenging aspects of doctoral study. In my own experience, as an EdD student, the …

‘Fail early and fail fast’: the value of research groups for breaking and rebuilding ideas

Dr Kirstin Wilmot is a senior lecturer and coordinator of the Higher Education Studies Doctoral Programme in the Centre for Higher Education Research, Teaching and Learning (CHERTL) at Rhodes University, South Africa. This post is based on her 2021 research paper ‘Fail early and fail fast’: the value of group supervision for doctoral candidates. Many …

Empowering researchers through ‘experienced uncertainty’

Ruth Albertyn and Kathy Bennett are both affiliated to Stellenbosch University in South Africa where they are involved in supervision and research development. Based on their research expertise in doctoral education and postgraduate supervision (Ruth) and experienced uncertainty and identity development (Kathy), they conducted a collaborative auto-ethnographic study to gain insight into the sources and …

Trust grows when supervisors take the lead in online supervision

This is a guest post by Dr Michele Jacobsen, Dr Sharon Friesen, and Dr Sandra Becker, higher education specialists at the University of Calgary. The rapid and widespread pivot to online teaching and supervision in the pandemic has created a pressing need to improve understanding of effective online supervisory relationships. Our case study research with …

In Defence of History – the changing context for supervision

This is a guest post from Professor Alistair McCulloch, Head of Research Education, University of South Australia. Photo by Chris Lawton on Unsplash If Jane Austen had been writing about PhD supervision, she might well have begun her account: ‘It is a truth universally acknowledged that the PhD, and the expectations placed on both student and …

Festive Five!

By Dr Kay Guccione, Blog Editor. Happy holidays supervision fans! Here below is your Festive Five. It’s the top 5 most highly read SupervisingPhDs blog articles from 2021. To support PGR wellbeing, focus on building a strong relationship by the University of Lincoln’s Dr Trish Jackman (@Trish_Jackman), Principal Investigator on the Getting Off to a Mentally Healthy Start in Doctoral …

The ‘sliding scale’ of supporting candidates with the literature during doctoral studies

This is a guest post by Dr Julia Everitt a post-doctoral researcher, supervisor and facilitator of supervisory development programmes at Birmingham City University (BCU). Photo by Wesley Tingey on Unsplash This post discusses a practitioner inquiry that I undertook, investigating how supervisors support candidates with the research literature during doctoral studies. Below, I describe this …

The curriculum hidden in different ways of doing

Kelly Preece’s article over on the Hidden Curriculum blog covers practical ways to support the development of criticality and independence, as you help PGRs to identify a structure for their thesis.

The hidden curriculum in doctoral education

Kelly Louise Preece is the Researcher Development Manager and Research and EDI Manager at the University of Exeter. You can find out more about Kelly on her website, or listen to her podcast Researchers, Development and the In-betweens on Apple Podcasts,Spotify,Amazon Music,Google PodcastsandStitcher!

Ceramic mugs of various colours arranged on a grid patterned shelf.

When I started my role as Researcher Development Manager at the University of Exeter, I inherited a (prolific) collection of PowerPoint slides for training sessions on everything from conducting a literature review to writing an academic CV. Despite the prolific nature of these materials, I was struck by the vagueness inherent within them. This is in no way to criticise my colleagues and as I immersed myself in the resources I had inherited, I found so much that was useful, insightful, and important for postgraduate researchers.

All materials emphasised the need for researchers to take responsibility for their…

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