Lesson 5: Meeting your supervisor

The agenda for the first meeting with your supervisor can be structured by the synopsis. Send your synopsis in advance so that your supervisor will be able to scrutinise whether your problem formulation is novel, relevant and feasible.

The supervisor will also check if there is coherence between the current knowledge (your rationale), your problem formulation, your objectives and your suggested methods.

You may also expect that your supervisor will provide new knowledge or angles to your topic – and suggest additional literature. She or he may also suggest a better problem formulation, adjust your objectives and/or point at better methods for addressing your objectives. You may need to reconsider your problem formulation if your resources are insufficient to fulfil the objectives.

The supervisor may have specific research interests that she or he wants your topic to fit with. You will then have to consider the possible advantages and disadvantages of choosing an angle that fits with your supervisor’s line of interests. For instance, you may receive more input from your supervisor, yet you could also risk losing your original interest for the specific topic and motivation for doing the research work.

Your supervisor is your discussion partner and all supervisors have their own expectations to thesis work and thesis supervision. In order to create the best foundation for a good working relationship it is a good idea to match your expectations with that of your supervisor during the first meeting. How many times will you meet, how many times will he or she e.g. read your synopsis and what kind of comments can you expect? What does your supervisor expect of you and how ambitious are you?

Students may experience that their synopsis is taken partially, or completely, apart by their supervisor. This can be very frustrating, but should be considered part of the learning experience. To improve your learning experience, however, use the Getting Started module to prepare a synopsis that encourages a productive rather than destructive discussion between you and your supervisor.

! Get a short summary of this module and test your knowledge:
Getting started: Summary and test