Bob, an inexperienced supervisor, comes to you for advice. Pam, his doctoral student of more than six months, is still finding it very difficult to think conceptually. Every time Bob asks Pam to outline what the concepts are that are being discussed in the literature, Pam describes the sections of the content and then goes on to say that the reading she is doing does not relate specifically to her topic. Bob feels that Pam doesn’t appreciate that what is important are the concepts that underlie the research reported in the literature and how they relate to her study.
Q: What advice would you give Bob?
Responses to the above were
- I would ask Bob to give me some examples of what the student says and what he’d prefer her to be saying, because at this stage I don’t know what Bob means.
- The student requires additional assistance to define the relevant concepts and how they relate to her research. Bob should assist the student by establishing a clear understanding of the appropriate concepts before proceeding further with a review of the literature.