Student perceptions of research supervision

Tool kit (pdf)

Students and supervisors sometimes have different conceptions of supervision. One may give a higher priority to an element of supervision that the other thinks is relatively unimportant.

In this tool, student and supervisor independently fill in parallel questionnaires in which they indicate how they rate 35 items in terms of priority. Together, they then discuss their responses and clarify differences of opinion. Hopefully such discussion will both improve communication and bring about a better match between the student’s needs and the supervisor’s style at each stage of the supervision process.

Please note that neither student nor supervisor is asked to judge the quality of provision of any of these items. These are not evaluation instruments.

At the University of Western Australia, these questionnaires have been collected and analysed to gain some insight into the congruence – or lack of it – between supervisors’ and students’ conceptions of supervision (see the discussion paper). If fIRST Consortium members wish to make similar use of these questionnaires, there is space at the top of the questionnaire for respondents to include appropriate demographic data. This will of course be unnecessary if the supervisor and student are the only ones viewing the questionnaires.

The Students’ perceptions of research supervision (SPORS) tool kit includes:

  • Student questionnaire
  • Supervisor questionnaire
  • Instructions and information
  • Discussion paper


This tool was originally developed by:
the Centre for Staff Development at the University of Western Australia

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