Understanding the Practices and Experiences of Supervising Nursing Doctoral Students: A Qualitative Survey of Two South African Universities

  •  T. M. Mothiba    
  •  M. S. Maputle    
  •  D. T. Goon    


Doctoral supervision involves an intensive, interpersonal one-to-one relationship between the supervisor and the student. Supervisors have a responsibility to guide students when choosing their research topics and throughout the research process until completion of their research projects. The purpose of this study is to explore the practices and experiences of faculty members supervising doctoral nursing students in two selected universities in South Africa. This qualitative and explorative study involves all faculty members supervising doctorate nursing students at four South African Universities in Limpopo Province. A purposive sampling was used to select 15 participants who met the inclusion criteria. Data collection was through a telephonic in-depth unstructured interview. Probing was used to elicit more information from participants. Data were analysed through Tesch’s open coding method. Findings reveal three themes as practices and experiences of supervision, namely: research supervisory role, knowledge of models of supervision, and guiding principles towards doctorate supervision. There is a need for orientation of research supervisors and doctoral students before they commence with their supervisory role. Policies and procedures for doctorate supervision need to be communicated to all supervisors. There should be continuous support for both supervisors and students during the process of supervision.

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