Review of approaches and styles adopted by postgraduate supervisors

  • Daniel Maposa


The study provides a critical review of the various postgraduate supervision approaches and styles that supervisors adopt in higher education institutions and factors that influence these adoptions of approaches and styles. Particular reference in the study is made to a higher education institution classified as a historically disadvantaged institution (HDI) using the South African context of categorisation of universities. The study has outlined the kind of supervisory styles and approaches within the context of the author’s discipline of statistics, his institution’s structural-cultural traditions, beliefs, and some constraints faced in HDIs in the South African HE sector. Relevant literature sources were cited and examples were used to enhance the discussion and to provide justification and critical edge to the points raised. The dominant supervisory styles of the author were identified as directional and contractual styles, with supervision sessions being conducted predominantly using one-on-one supervision approach aided by cohort supervision approach through research seminars and workshops. The author argues that the masters and doctoral students come into the extreme value theory (EVT) discourse as novice, vicarious, peripheral and variant participants in EVT, some of whom are only interested in getting the qualification degree certificate. The author further argues that in towards the completion of their degree programme, these masters and doctoral students grow to become generative participants as they become convergent in the EVT discourse. The author further looks forward to establishing at EVT Research Unit in the School.