Supervision as a process of enabling candidates to acquire the practical wisdom of research

Steven Segal

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract


This paper is the writing up of the experience of participating in what we have called a "hermeneutic circle for the development of practical wisdom in Higher Degrees research". This circle has operated for 5 years. The space for reflexive dialogue on the lived experience of research is created by two supervisors of the Macquarie Graduate School of Management. The circle emerged out of the "lived experience" of the supervisors. Traditional doctoral research education at MGSM has been centred on a model in which research candidates first learn theories of research in a classroom setting and then subsequently "apply" it to their own research questions. It is in the practice of research that many find themselves lost and confused. Based on Aristotelian concepts of practical wisdom and hermeneutic phenomenological principles, we continue to believe that dealing with the 'messiness' and anxieties within research is a central part of research but that it is only in the context of research that a "felt sense" of the messiness of research is experienced. The role of the research supervisor is not only to provide input with regard to literature, methods, and techniques of research but to "create space" for exploration and to provide, as Donald Winnicott would call it, a "holding environment" and "safe enough" space in which research candidates can work through the messiness of the lived experience of research. The practical wisdom of HDR candidates as researchers is enhanced by becoming reflexively attuned to the preconceptions underpinning their research lived experience.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 2013
EventSwinburne research graduate studies supervision conference 2013 - Melbourne, Australia
Duration: 12 Sept 201313 Sept 2013


ConferenceSwinburne research graduate studies supervision conference 2013
CityMelbourne, Australia


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