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GIBS Business School

Phd and Masters Supervisor’s Course (An Advanced Workshop to Improve Supervisory Judgement)

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The art of research supervision.

The process of supervision can be emotionally and intellectually draining and it requires substantial investments of time and energy. Managing students’ performance to ensure the best research output, keeping students motivated during a long and arduous process, and doubting your abilities to elicit the best research output from students are just some of the challenges faced by academic research supervisors.

This workshop focuses on the art of supervision, using vignettes to elicit conversation about how supervisors should manage tough situations and improve judgement.

How you will benefit

At the end of the programme, you will be able to:

  • Manage (sometimes shifting) mutual expectations;
  • Guide the selection of a topic;
  • Support the development of the conceptual framework;
  • Ensure alignment between the question and research design;
  • Determine how involved to get when students derail; and
  • Decide when a thesis is ready for examination.

Key Focus Areas

  • Mutual expectations and how they shift: The role of the supervising contact;
  • Choosing a topic: Leadership-as-learning.
  • Strategies to guide the conceptual framework:
    • Post-its;
    • Excel spreadsheets;
    • Short documents; and
    • Visual maps.
  • Methodology;
  • The supervisor and the measurement of progress; and
  • Deciding when a thesis is ready.

Who should attend

PhD supervisors who are tasked with monitoring doctoral students' research.


Profile Helena Barnard is a full professor at GIBS and responsible for the GIBS doctoral programme. She was on the organising committee for the Academy of Management Africa conference at GIBS in 2013, serves on the editorial board of the Global Strategy Journal and is the Academy of Internationa...


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