Theme 7: Supervision of Research Students


The following is a collection of AQA resources and selected external weblinks intended to assist New Zealand universities in facilitating excellent student experience and learning outcomes. These pages relate to each of the seven academic activity themes of Cycle 5, plus the overarching topic of 'self-review'. It should be noted that useful and relevant resources are not necessarily limited to those included here. In addition, because of the historical and reflective nature of audit, new or different practices may have emerged including within universities not identified here.

Please note: Where a resource does not derive from an AQA activity, we offer these on the basis that have been assessed or validated by another reputable agency. Readers should note that good practice takes place in context; any activity identified as good practice must be assessed by potential users for relevance and applicability to the context in which it might be used.

Theme 7: Supervision of Research Students

The Cycle 5 academic audit framework included five Guideline Statements under this Academic Activity Theme:

7.1 Qualification of supervisors
Universities should use documented processes for ensuring staff supervising research students are appropriately trained and experienced as supervisors, including processes to enable new or inexperienced staff to gain experience as supervisors.

7.2 Resourcing of research students
Universities should use documented processes for ensuring research students are appropriately resourced to do their research.

7.3 Research supervision
Universities should use documented processes for ensuring supervision of research students is effective and that student progress and support are appropriately monitored.

7.4 Thesis examination
Universities’ thesis examination processes should ensure thesis standards are nationally and internationally benchmarked.

7.5 Postgraduate student feedback
Universities should use processes for gaining feedback on student satisfaction with supervision and support for postgraduate students and be able to demonstrate that feedback is used to inform improvement initiatives.

AQA Resources

AQA, 2014. New Zealand University Cycle 5 academic audit reports. (see recommendations, commendations and affirmations)

AQA, 2014. USP Academic Audit 2013.

AQA, 2013. Cycle 5 Academic Audit Handbook for Universities.

AQA, 2013. Academic Quality in New Zealand Universities: An analysis of academic audit findings 2008 - 2012.

AQA, 2008 - 2012. Cycle 4 academic audit reports. (see recommendations, commendations and affirmations)

Other Resources

Centre for the Study of Higher Education (Australia), 2010 onwards. Research publications (link to resources).

Grant, K., Hackney, R., & Edgar, D. (2014). Postgraduate Research Supervision: An ‘Agreed’ Conceptual View of Good Practice through Derived Metaphors

Dr Anna Janssen (undated). Perspectives on Quality Supervision.

Antoinette McCallin and Shoba Nayar, 2011. "Postgraduate research supervision: a critical review of current practice". Teaching in Higher Education, Vol 17, Issue 1, 2012. ("Analysis draws on literature spanning 2000–2010 to determine the appropriateness of traditional models of postgraduate research curricula and supervision for the New Zealand context").

Office for Learning and Teaching (Australia), various. Good Practice Resources (searchable database).

QAA, 2013. UK Quality Code for Higher Education. (see B11: Research degrees)

QAA, 2012. Outcomes from Institutional Audit: 2009-11 - Postgraduate research students.


Last updated: July 2018