I tweeted a while ago to ask supervisors and students what they had found were the most useful questions to ask/be asked in supervision. So here are some suggestions from them and from me. Please do add comments with any others you have found useful (as a student or as a supervisor).
- Tell me what you’ve been reading lately – and what have you learned from it?
- What do you mean by… (e.g. ‘identity’, or ‘learning’, or ‘care’)? How do you understand it?
- What is your line of argument in this piece of writing?
- Why have you done/are you going to do this?
- What appeals to you about ‘X’ theorist’s work? Does it resonate in any ways with your data?
- How does that idea fit with your theory?
- Explain that idea in your own words.
- Explain your analysis step-by-step.
- Have you thought about other ways of analysing your data?
- What is your interpretation of the literature/the data?
- How did you come to this conclusion?
- How might you be able to develop/expand these ideas/this line of argument further? [if work is too narrow-visioned]
- How can you streamline your work? [if work is ‘flabby’]
- Are you coping? Are you happy with progress?
- What are you going to do before the next supervision? [goal-setting]
- How can I support you?
- How is the supervision going for you? Is there anything I can do that would be more helpful?
And yes, from one wag: “Would you like a coffee?”
Thanks to: Melinda Miller, Hannah Perrin, Abbey Diaz, Olga Solugub, Sarah Fox, Alessia Williams for their responses