NOEL JAPHETH, PROSCOVIA NAMUBIRU SSENTAMU, BENJAMIN KYALO WAMBUA, AND SUSAN JEPKOECH KURGAT
Research supervision is key, yet it has been faulted for delayed completion of postgraduate studies, particularly at Master’s degree and PhD levels in Uganda. This study sought to establish the strategies for effective research supervision, especially during the COVID-19 lockdown. The study was guided by the phenomenological research design using a qualitative approach. Structured questionnaire was administered to 105 supervisors, while in-depth interviews were conducted with 3 deans/directors and 15 academic department heads. Field data was supplemented with a review of relevant documents. Data were analysed using the thematic analysis technique. Findings revealed that the sampled universities used various supervision strategies including online research supervision, corroborative supervision, coordination, workshops to (re)tool supervisors and students; and motivation and administrative follow-ups to track students’ and supervisors’ progress to enhance students’ completion of postgraduate research. The study recommends that universities design and incorporate online research supervision policies and guidelines in graduate training policies and ensure that they are operationalised. Furthermore, universities should provide a robust virtual infrastructure to enable online supervision. In addition to team supervision, continuous (re)tooling of students and supervisors, establishment of research coordination offices and progress tracks, the adoption of flipped supervision in which supervision approaches, spaces, and student and supervisor roles are varied should be considered. Universities could also consider developing courses on the pedagogy of postgraduate supervision in which research coordinators, supervisors and students receive training in the identified strategies and other strategies to improve postgraduate completion rates. Areas for further study have also been recommended.
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