Monday, 21 March 2016

Sekinat: Meeting with your dissertation supervisor

Meeting with your dissertation supervisor.

Hi! This is Sekinat , International Office Ambassador for Nigeria. Find out more about me on my profile

I will be talking today about meeting your dissertation supervisors and how to build a good working relationship with them.

Talk about dissertations have been going on since the first day of the autumn session, and are definitely going to keep coming up until submission in September. Full time work on projects are expected to commence in June after the spring semester exams. 

In order for students to get a good head start on their project and have proper guidance on streamlining project ideas,methods e.t.c., the University of Sheffield ensures that students get allocated their supervisors as soon as possible. I got my supervisor in the first week in February after 1st semester exams and I couldn't be more happier. I think I got a great one. Yayy!!

Now, the first steps to having a superb relationship with your supervisor; contact them first! Obviously your supervisor knows they have been allocated a student and they have your details but they would expect that you contact them. To be fair,I think it's just good ol' courtesy. I wouldn't be too pleased if as a supervisor, I get the impression that I have to chase my student around. 

I think the best way to contact them is via email, at least for the first time. It gives a more formal approach and also serves as a way of documentation. A brief introduction of yourself should be included, do not just assume they know anything about you.! Most of all, you should request an appointment for an initial meeting.

That being done and dusted, I think the next step is to read up about your supervisor.Their background, academic and research interests in order to have an idea of who you are going to be working with for the next 6-7months. Chances are, they were allocated to you because they have a similar interest in your research area anyways. 

For the initial meeting, please arrive on time. First impressions do count! There most likely would be a bit of chit chat before discussions about your project begins. I would advice that you have a brief overview of the research topic even if you do not have a specific topic/title yet. That is okay, and I am sure your supervisor would be more than willing to guide you.

Lastly, I would highly suggest you are honest and transparent in all your dealings with your supervisor right up till the very end. If you are unsure of what to do; speak out and seek help. That is why they are there for you. Make sure you take a note of what took place at the meeting, what you are meant to have done by the next meeting and of course set up a next meeting!!

And the cycle continues! :)

Best wishes to everyone writing a dissertation this year.

By Sekinat Abbas 

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