Monday, 21 April 2008

Supervisor role in writting master work

As an addition to the previous post about writing a master work, I'd like to add a post about the supervisor role in this process.

This role contains several sub roles. First of all the supervisor should direct and verify the content of the work. Normally it means
1. Plan the work on the highest level: majour topic of the work and subtopics; overall logic of discussions.
2. Give advices how to write the work, which topics to include to make the work logical and how to position those to avoid misunderstanding of the work by future reviewers. For example any analysis should be based on certain criteria that are important in this particular type of environment etc. In other words the selection of criteria and description of those should precess any analysis. It is also important to show why one or another methodology for comparison is chosen (to show that it is applicable to the topic of the work).

3. Prepare a time plan (schedule) of writing and defending the work.
4. Compile a content by proposing chapters, sub chapters basing on previous .discussions and finalise by defining an approximate size of each sub chapter length.

The last item actually merge with the second role of the supervisor, which is to direct and watch formatting of the work. There is always certain (sometimes informal) requirements starting from the font size and ending with the number of pages (including formatting of tables and figures, number of sub chapters etc). Notice that in master and similar works the rule "the more the better" doesn't hold. Knowledge (know hows, reviews etc) should be clearly written and concentrated to not exceed the limit of pages. Otherwise reviewers will had to read too much, so will simply read the introduction and conclusion, so there will be a risk that they will simply misunderstood the whole point of the work.

There is also a none official role of the supervisor, which includes the following
1. Inspire a student to start and write to the end the master-work
2. Help students to relax (decrease stress) and produce a confidence that the work will be successfully defended
3. Force the student to meet the schedule (time-plan) of writing the work and ask why s/he doesn't.

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