NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Back to results
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
PDF on ERIC Download full text
ERIC Number: EJ1210780
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2019
Pages: 18
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-2014-5349
Student-Supervisor-University Expectation Alignment in the Undergraduate Engineering Thesis
Stappenbelt, Brad; Basu, Abheek
Journal of Technology and Science Education, v9 n2 p199-216 2019
Given the lack of student research experience, the undergraduate thesis is necessarily focussed primarily on development of research skills (i.e. it is process oriented). Since postgraduate supervision is research output focussed, the lessons learnt from this field are not always directly transferable. In contrast to the vast body of work in the field of doctoral research supervision, there exists a dearth of literature on undergraduate dissertation supervision. To address this shortcoming, the present study examined the alignment of university, supervisor and student expectations regarding responsibilities in the undergraduate engineering thesis. University expectations, having undergone rigorous review, outline the sound pedagogical practice that should be applied to undergraduate supervision. Expectations of academic staff supervisors and thesis students were obtained through the use of survey tools and postsurvey discussions. The surveys used in the present study were adapted from the Role Perceptions Rating Scale (RPRS). Alignment between student and university expectations regarding undergraduate thesis responsibilities in the present study was generally poor. The discrepancy between supervisor and university expectations was even greater, with academic staff generally assuming the bulk of the responsibility for many core thesis tasks. Post-survey discussion indicated that the driver for this behaviour were supervisor expectations that undergraduate thesis research would contribute to publications. Taking primary responsibility for core thesis tasks away from the student, although improving the likelihood of successful research output, diminishes the ability for an accurate assessment of adequate academic performance. The learning that is intended to result from the undergraduate thesis is devalued when research outcomes are prioritised over research process.
Journal of Technology and Science Education. ESEIAAT, Department of Projectes d'Enginyeria c/Colom 11, 08222 Terrassa, Spain. e-mail:; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Australia