Postgraduate supervision and the early stages of the doctoral journey
This article looks at two previous study reports on postgraduate supervision, views, and experiential as well as academic advice from other scholars. It presents the various perspectives on the central phenomenon relationship between the supervisor and the doctoral student at the initial stages of the PhD programme, arguments, suggestions and insights into the nature and substance of PhD supervision, early articulation of expectations and clarifying them; commitment to establishment of clear goals; and developing a study plan and time-table that are consistent with work. It also explores knowledge and a warm, supportive relationship; planning from the beginning, including research mapping and concept charting; proper time-management; and internalising the criteria for examination of a PhD thesis, capacity to relate the research topic to the discipline; encouraging the use of writing as a voyage of discovery. It argues that all these are vital to sustaining the momentum and completion of a PhD by research. It concludes that postgraduate supervision requires that supervisors and doctoral students by research clarify and discuss their expectations at the beginning and on a continuous and regular basis; that differences in perception or procedure can present the supervisor and the student with debilitating challenges that can impede progress and eventually fail to get the coveted PhD.