The Resource Library contains a collection of higher education learning and teaching materials flowing from projects funded by the Commonwealth of Australia including those from the Australian Learning and Teaching Council.
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Zen and the art of transdisciplinary postgraduate studies: Ideas for good practice
This document is one of the outcomes resulting from a project focused on developing high quality outcomes and quality evaluation processes in transdisciplinary/interdisciplinary research for use by students and supervisors. Experienced supervisors and students participated in workshop discussions on transdisciplinary/interdisciplinary research. Research literature on effective supervision was also examined.
The project identified seven criteria to evaluate quality transdisciplinary/interdisciplinary research outcomes. This resource presents practical ideas to support quality research supervision. The intended reader is the research supervisor aiming to guide student research development. Students could also work from the ideas directly.
Ideas for Practice presents 48 ideas or tools aligned into seven sections: Building Supervision Relationships; Positioning Yourself; Deepening Reflection; Engaging with Literature; Increasing External/Critical Engagement; Clarifying Research Question/ Research Focus; Distilling & Communicating Your Claims; and Structuring a Coherent Argument. The discussion relates each of the ideas to the quality criteria for transciplinary/interdisciplinary research study.
Every idea is presented on a single page with very simple statements addressing the same key points: What's the big idea; Why is this such a good idea; Which criteria does this address; When might this be useful; What would it take to make this work; What resources might help. The ideas range from very specific, eg, Elevator Pitches (p. 49) to more general, eg, Write as a Student-Supervisor Team (p. 5). However, general ideas provide specific guidance on implementation. As Cynthia Mitchell notes, the document can be read from cover to cover or dipped into for ideas on specific issues.
This resource can constitute a standalone professional development resource for supervisors to work through with their students. While suitable for experienced supervisors, it is likely to be of particular value to new supervisors looking for advice to assist their students.
A very useful summary of activities to enhance student completion of quality research work in a timely manner is provided. While some aspects are specifically tied to transciplinary/interdisciplinary research studies, the ideas have generic applicability. The author also asks for feedback on the usefulness of the ideas and additional suggestions for resources or modifications.