M.Ed Graduates’ Perceptions of Thesis Supervision, Writing and Defence
AbstractThis study explored M.Ed graduates’ perceptions of thesis supervision, writing and defence in the M.Ed Programme in the Faculty of Education, University of Swaziland. The main objective was to find out how M.Ed graduates think and feel about thesis supervision, writing and defence, with the ultimate aim of improving thesis supervision and writing and helping students successfully defend their theses. A questionnaire, largely using likert-type and open-ended items, sourced data from the participants(n=80; females=60%, mean age=33.6 years; SD 1.2). Follow-up interviews were also conducted with some of the participants(n=16). Data were analysed using the likert scale analysis procedures described in the article. Overall, the study revealed that most participants (86%) viewed thesis supervision, writing and defence in the faculty favourably although there were areas of serious concern to some graduates. These included, among others, difficulty in identifying a research topic, locating related literature, deciding on which aspect of related literature to include, deciding on how to present the data and being nervous during defence. Key recommendations based on the findings of the study were that all M.Ed students should have done a research project in their first degree and that supervisors should render more assistance and support to students during thesis writing. Furthermore, students need thesis defence practice-runs before they finally defend their theses before a panel of examiners.
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