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Doctoral Supervision: Sharpening the focus of the practice lens

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>31/07/2022
<mark>Journal</mark>Higher Education Research and Development
Issue number5
Number of pages14
Pages (from-to)1743-1756
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date20/06/21
<mark>Original language</mark>English


The literature on doctoral supervision is heavily informed by a focus on the individual and dyad, together with a self-help ethic of supervisory improvement. On the margins is a disparate literature taking a ‘practice’ perspective on doctoral supervision. But this literature is disconnected and lacking in some important features. This paper’s intention is to sharpen the focus and so to enhance the utility of a social practice theory lens. It refutes the idea that the practice perspective is inherently conservative, showing how a sharply-focused lens can challenge assimilationism. The paper first elaborates on the individualist approach and highlights differences with the practice approaches as already developed. It then sets out a social practice approach which builds on that existing literature. Finally, it applies this to the issue of colonialist assimilationism in doctoral supervision. The paper is not directly based on empirical research, but instead uses existing literature to indicate ways in which a social practice approach might more effectively address the enhancement of doctoral supervision.