Finding a supervisor

When put like this it conjures up notions of looking for these mysterious people in hard to find places or perhaps helping them because they are the lost ones not you!

If you think about your research journey, or time in the kitchen in terms of doing an apprenticeship then you need to find out what your potential sorcerer, er supervisor is good at.


Often students think about the problems or areas in which a supervisor may be working, e.g. early childhood or literacy education. While this is a consideration, the more interesting and important information to obtain is the ways the possible supervisor is theorising the area and what methodologies are being employed. Typically, coming to terms with theory and methodology and the toughest part of any research apprenticeship and this is where you will learn most from your supervisor.

Further, not only will your supervisor have skills and knowledge in his or her theory space and associated methodologies, he or she will have other students making use of these resources for their work. So there is much to be gained in working with others that draw on the same theory/theories and make use of the same methodologies.

All too often students see the job of a supervisor is to support their (the student's) pet idea for a project. This can make for difficult and often highly inefficient supervision if a supervisor agrees to your request to study underwater basket weaving. Pat Thomson, who maintains an excellent has some good advice about what a student needs to do to persuade a supervisor to take them on.

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