The relationship between the supervisor and the candidate is one of utmost importance. It is one that requires balance, with the supervisor playing mentor and guide, but without leaving the candidate feeling that they are being pushed in a direction they do not want to go in. Conversely, the supervisor also needs to look at the candidate as an up-and-coming researcher in their own right, but one who needs advice on how to proceed who should not be left to find their way through the research process without support. Supervisors should take an interest in emerging technologies that can aid in supervision and research. If difficulties arise within the supervisor-candidate relationship, they must be dealt with in a manner that minimises conflict. Patterns of good and bad supervision can be studied. It is also important for the supervisor to know how to deal with candidates from different cultures, special interest groups and those working at a distance.
What constitutes a good supervision relationship?
The supervision relationship is an intense relationship. The interaction and discussion is at the level that people normally only experience between close friends. While this can be a very fulfilling part of the interaction, it also makes playing the equally important managing role difficult when there may be great emphasis on the mentoring mutual knowledge discovery role associated with supervision. Supervisory panels often help break what may be over-intense relationships.
The tools to support ‘Managing the Relationship’ are contained in this section of the toolkit.