Where students are not content with any aspect of their tuition they are encouraged to address problems as soon as possible through discussions with their dissertation supervisor/tutor, personal tutor or programme director. If necessary they should pursue a complaint through the University's formal .
This code sets out the generic requirements of students, dissertation supervisors/tutors and the College in the completion of dissertation assessment items. It is supplemented by individual College codes approved by the Faculty Board. The University recognises that dissertation practice varies between disciplines and therefore this Code cannot set out prescriptive requirements for matters such as the level of contact which should be maintained between student and dissertation supervisor/tutor.
For example, asking about the length of your bibliography is a reasonable question to ask your supervisor, because your bibliography is key to your project. But asking what the hand-in date is, or whether you need to put the course on the title page of your dissertation is, unsurprisingly, likely to annoy your supervisor.
Although there’s no such thing as a stupid question when setting out into the unknown that is your dissertation you certainly shouldn’t ask your supervisor unnecessary, irritating and exasperating questions that only serve to wind up your supervisor and giving yourself a poor image.
If you need to get answers to questions about your dissertation most of the answers are likely to be found in the guidelines you’ve already picked up. If you can’t find the answer in the guidelines you can then ask your supervisor for help.
The way in which this type of assessment is organised will vary from institution to institution and course to course. It is important that you familiarise yourself with the particular arrangements for your degree. Look for a module handbook which sets out these requirements and how you are allocated a dissertation tutor or supervisor. Your supervisor and any handbooks that are produced are excellent sources of information and support and will help you understand how the dissertation process works.
The following checklist will start you on the dissertation journey, start planning and also clarify what is expected of you
BELL, J. (2005). Doing your research project: A guide for first time researchers in education, health and social sciences. 4th ed., Maidenhead, Open University Press, chapter 2
TODD, M. J.; SMITH, K. and BANNISTER, P. (2006). Supervising a social science undergraduate dissertation: staff experiences and perceptions. Teaching in Higher Education, 11(2), 161-173
Once you are allocated to a supervisor, it is not normally possible to change this arrangement. On rare occasions, however, a student may find that she/he cannot work with the allocated supervisor. In the first instance, the student should try to discuss the difficulties with the supervisor and attempt to resolve these through some agreed action plan. If, after this, it becomes evident that the relationship has broken down irrevocably, you should contact directly the Dissertation Tutor or whoever is responsible for the module to discuss other possible arrangements. It is important to sort out such difficulties as soon as possible.
During the period of supervision/tuition from the time of the assignment of a dissertation supervisor/tutor until the submission of the dissertation, responsibilities and obligations are as set out below.
Note: It should be stressed that the dissertation is yours and should represent your work; not that of you and your supervisor. You are expected to work independently and to present a dissertation at the end of the year, which says to staff, 'This is what I can do. Assess it.'
The role of the dissertation supervisor is to guide you through the process of your research project. Your supervisor may or may not have taught you before, but what’s certain is that she’s done a dissertation (or two) before and will be able to help you with yours.
But remember - the supervisor's duty is to guide you so that you can produce your best effort, and not to assist with continual revision until the dissertation has acquired a certain grade that you may have as a target. Thus, the supervisor's approval of your progress cannot be taken to imply any particular grade or classification. You should not request this of your supervisor at any stage of the dissertation module.
Your dissertation supervisor is there to supervise your work in progress. The official allocation of time for this work will vary from institution to institution. Do check what the arrangements are for your own department. However, it is important to make a clear agreement with your supervisor about how the supervision will occur. Meetings in the absence of any written work being completed are not generally an effective use of time, as you are wasting your allocated hours. If you have a question to ask or a point to check, then an email will usually suffice. On the other hand, writing a good chunk of material and submitting it before your meeting means that the supervisor will have had the opportunity to read and comment upon it. It is often a useful idea to arrange to have some time as soon as possible after a supervision session so that you can follow up on the comments. Successful students have also found that it is helpful at the end of each supervision session to plan out clearly the next stage of work and the target dates.