Graduate Students’ Perspectives on Important Qualities of Ideal Research Supervisor and Tensions in Research Supervision


  • Htun Win


Research students, perspective, Master’s degree program, Supervision


At the Master’s degree program level, supervisor-supervisee relationship should be
ideally centered on research work. However, the relationship can become more complex
during research progress. Master’s degree program supervisors play a big role in the transformation by training research students how to investigate, conceptualize and create new
solutions (Barnett, 2004). Hence, effective Master’s degree program supervision is required
to train students how to investigate, conceptualize and create new solutions (Barnett. 2004).
Specifically, the study examined research students’ perspectives on important qualities
of ideal graduate research supervisor and tensions that arose between research students
and their supervisors. In this study, 115 student participants from various higher education
institutions of Myanmar responded the questionnaire and 63 teaching staff participated in
semi-structured interviews in this study. Findings from this study revealed that students
identified qualities of an ideal supervisor as one who provides direction and structure of the
research, possesses knowledge and relevant expertise in the field surrounding the student’s
research, has interest and enthusiasm in supervision and gives constant encouragement
as well as supportive among others. Findings revealed that level of supervision failed to
meet or exceed their expectations. Some major issues reported by the graduate students
were also identified when dealing with their supervisors; namely supervisor’s selfishness
and disrespectfulness in the communication of their learning journey, lack of commitment and interest of their supervisor in research
supervision and the supervisors not being
up-to-date with the field. In addition,
identifying tensions described by research
students can help supervisors to improvise
their supervisory skills and deliver effective
supervision throughout the various stages of
students’ research development.