Internalisation of the research supervisor : experiences and perceptions of psychology masters students at a historically disadvantaged university
Knowledge-based competition within a globalising economy is prompting a fresh consideration of the role of higher education in development and growth. Previously, it was often viewed as an expensive and inefficient public service that largely benefited the wealthy and privileged. It is now understood to make a necessary contribution to the success of national efforts to boost productivity, competitiveness and economic growth. Several governments see universities as engines for change and expansion of prosperity. There is also an increasing recognition that Higher Education has become dominated by a market-driven, consumerist service ethic and that this may have an impact on the style of research output and research supervision that academics adopt for a new knowledge economy. Research education or training, as it is often termed, is attracting greater scrutiny as research itself is seen of greater importance in the global knowledge economy. Students in post-graduation degree programmes across the world conduct research projects as a requirement to complete degrees A thesis or dissertation develops the ability to work independently and critically, the ability to develop arguments, and awareness and use of advanced methodological designs that pertain to the student's discipline of study. Thus such learning is argued to be facilitated in the context of research advisement or supervision. Through this process the student might adopt or internalise values and attitudes of the supervisor regarding research. This process is referred to as internalisation of the research supervisor, thereby contributing to the development of the student researchers. The theoretical framework chosen for this study was social constructionism. The aim of this present study was to explore the perceptions and experiences of students in relation to the internalisation of the supervisor that may take place during research supervision. The study utilised in-depth semi-structured interviews to collect data. Eleven participants from various supervisors consented to be part of the study. These were recruited using purposive sampling. The ethics considerations of the study adhered to the guidelines stipulated by Ethics committee of the University. Data was transcribed, and analysed using thematic analysis. The findings of this study indicate factors contributing to internalisation vary depending on aspects such as personalities of both the supervisor and the student, perceived quality of supervision and the supervision process itself. Findings also suggest that internalisation, whether positive or negative, of the research supervisor took place among the participants.