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Issues in Educational Research, 2018, Vol 28(3), 679-700.
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Directive, collaborative, or non-directive? Thesis supervision approaches in the United Arab Emirates

Ali Ibrahim
United Arab Emirates University, UAE

This study investigated graduate students' perceptions of and satisfaction with the approaches used by their thesis or dissertation supervisors, and contrasted student perceptions with those of their supervisors. Students reported that their supervisors used collaborative supervision more often, and a statistically significant relationship was found between this approach and their satisfaction. In contrast, faculty believed that they used directive supervision more frequently and were convinced that students preferred this approach. Qualitative findings connected this to supervisors' initial low perceptions of students' developmental levels. Over time, however, they became less directive, aiming to encourage students to develop as independent scholars. Students did not seem to fully comprehend the meaning of collaborative supervision and perceived their supervisors as being more directive during writing the problem and methodology sections than during writing other sections of the thesis or dissertation. The study recommends that supervisors be ready to use different approaches to adapt to the different needs and abilities of students.
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Author: Dr Ali Ibrahim is an associate professor at the United Arab Emirates University, teaching and supervising students in the undergraduate, masters and doctoral programs at the College of Education. He holds a PhD in administrative and policy studies in education from the University of Pittsburgh, USA. His research interests include educational accountability, education policy studies, school leadership, education reform in the Middle East, and teacher professionalism in the Arab Gulf states.
Email: ali_saidebrahim@uaeu.ac.ae

Please cite as: Ibrahim, A. (2018). Directive, collaborative, or non-directive? Thesis supervision approaches in the United Arab Emirates. Issues in Educational Research, 28(3), 679-700. http://www.iier.org.au/iier28/ibrahim.pdf

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