Conform, Transform, Resist: The Scandinavian Way of Master's Thesis Supervision and Its Contribution to Acquiring Research Literacy and Practice

Vibeke Ankersborg, Karl-Heinz Pogner

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Our contribution explores the concept of supervision in the context of Scandinavian (Danish) Higher Education by investigating how student-centered supervision (“vejledning”) can foster and advance students’ research literacies when managing their master’s thesis project and writing their master’s thesis. The theoretical and analytical framework links three different pedagogical models of supervision with three types of supervisor roles. The models describe different kinds of relationships between supervisors and students; the nature of this relationship enables and/or constrains the students’ chances to develop research literacy. Our findings show that the partnership model allows for the enactment of all three types of supervisor roles, gives a high degree of flexibility for the supervisor and assigns a high degree of responsibility, autonomy, and independence to the students. The qualitative analyses investigate how the combination of the perceived supervision model and supervisor role affects the students’ opportunities to acquire and develop research literacies. In the partnership model, supervision can enhance students’ research literacies by empowering the students to make well-informed choices concerning their knowledge production and text production. This shift in responsibility from supervisor to students shapes the meaning and content of student-centered supervision. The combination of the partnership model with student responsibility and autonomy, which is deeply rooted in the problem-oriented project learning approach, can be a fruitful and productive approach in higher education aiming at fostering students’ ability to identify, define, and research a relevant “problem.” It further contributes to students’ competencies to transform and produce knowledge as a contribution to the academic discourse community and community of practice. As legitimate peripheral members of the academic community, students can develop academic and research literacies, in order to become able to INTERPRET the discourse and to decide if they want to conform, transform or resist.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationNegotiating the Intersections of Writing and Writing Instruction
EditorsMagnus Gustafsson, Andreas Eriksson
Number of pages37
Place of PublicationFort Collins
PublisherThe WAC Clearinghouse / University Press of Colorado
Publication date2022
ISBN (Print)9781642151466, 9781646423132
ISBN (Electronic)9781642151473
Publication statusPublished - 2022
SeriesInternational Exchanges on the Study of Writing

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