• The challenge of achieving transparency in undergraduate honours-level dissertation supervision

      Malcolm, Mary; University of Bedfordshire (Taylor and Francis (Routledge), 2020-06-11)
      The undergraduate honours-level dissertation is a significant component of many UK undergraduate programmes, as a key stage in the longer-term intellectual and career development of potential researchers and knowledge-workers, and also a critical contributor to immediate award outcome. This study aims to identify how dissertation supervisors balance and deliver on these expectations. Qualitative analysis of twenty interviews conducted with supervisors at two post-1992 UK universities identifies how supervisors construct supervision as a multi-stage process. Supervisors describe how their individual supervisory practices enable them to maintain initial control of the dissertation, to extend supervisee autonomy at a central stage, and to distance supervisors further from the written output at a final stage in the process. This study questions whether this approach is satisfactory either in an institutional context where the supervisor is also first marker of work they may have shaped substantially, or as a pedagogic approach to developing research skills.