Factors Influencing Student Choice of the Research Supervisor: A Study of Doctoral Students
This study delved into the factors that influence choices of the research supervisors; and the kind of support, guidance, and information that doctoral students are provided before making their choices at Makerere University. It was prompted by the persistent complaints doctoral students have been raising against some of their supervisors whom sometimes they have out-rightly labelled as being incompetent or uncooperative. The study, approached from the positivist paradigm, was conducted using a descriptive cross-sectional sample survey design where both quantitative and qualitative data were collected from 48 Ph.2.96 students using an adapted semi-structured questionnaire. Data were analysed with the use of descriptive statistics, factor analysis, and content analysis techniques. Study findings revealed that: first, the supervisor’ specialisation is the most important variable that influences choices of doctoral research supervisors at Makerere University (Mean=4.58; SD=.821), while the supervisor’s tribe is the least considered variable (Mean=1.25; SD=.565). Second, three latent factors were found to significantly influence the student choice of the research supervisor at the University, starting with “expected supervisor-student relationships” (32.96%), followed by “supervisor competence” (17.78%), and finally, where the “supervisor is assigned to the supervisee by the institution or recommended by parents (or guardians)” (12.14%). Finally, it was established that the doctoral students were receiving inadequate support, guidance, and information before choosing or being assigned their research supervisors. Therefore, it was concluded that the factors that influence student choice of the doctoral research supervisor were multifaceted and desegregated. Second, doctoral students would prefer to work with supervisors that they have voluntarily chosen rather than those assigned to them by the institution or recommended for them by their parents (or guardians).The researcher thus recommends that Makerere University administrators should consider assigning doctoral students the supervisors that they have voluntarily chosen in order to ease tension between supervisors and supervisees; and improve the study climate for both existing and prospective doctoral students. Second, the University should empower coordinators (or deans) of school to address, on-the-spot basis, the supervisory problems that doctoral students may experience.
- Social Sciences