Behind supervisory doors: Taught Master's dissertation students as qualitative apprentices

Rachel Maunder, Alasdair Gordon-Finlayson, Jane Callaghan, Anca Roberts

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticlepeer-review


This article explores the supervision of Master’s students undertaking qualitative research dissertations. Specifically, it presents a model for theorising the nature of the supervisory relationship established with students who are relative newcomers to the qualitative research community. By drawing on reflections from the authors’ own practice and situating this within a broader context of the 'community of practice' approach to learning, it argues that the supervision of qualitative Master’s dissertations can be seen as an apprenticeship into qualitative research, whereby students begin to take on the identity of a qualitative researcher. Adopting such a model requires a reconceptualisation of how supervisors work with their supervisees, how students are prepared for the requirements of the dissertation, and how strategies are developed to facilitate their transition from novice to expert. This article explores how educators might integrate theoretical and practical concerns in applying the apprentice model to Master’s dissertation supervision, considering the advantages and limitations of such a model.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)30-38
Number of pages9
JournalPsychology Learning & Teaching
Issue number1
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 1 Jan 2012


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