A qualitative inquiry into the challenges and complexities of research supervision: viewpoints of postgraduate students and faculty members



Introduction: The supervision of academic theses at the
Universities of Medical Sciences is one of the most important
issues with several challenges. The aim of the present study
is to discover the nature of problems and challenges of thesis
supervision in Iranian universities of medical sciences.
Methods: The study was conducted with a qualitative method
using conventional content analysis approach. Nineteen faculty
members, using purposive sampling, and 11 postgraduate medical
sciences students (PhD students and residents) were selected on
the basis of theoretical sampling. The data were gathered through
semi-structured interviews and field observations in Shiraz and
Isfahan universities of medical sciences from September 2012 to
December 2014. The qualitative content analysis was used with a
conventional approach to analyze the data.
Results: While experiencing the nature of research supervision
process, faculties and the students faced some complexities and
challenges in the research supervision process. The obtained codes
were categorized under 4 themes based on the characteristics;
included “Conceptual problem”, “Role ambiguity in thesis
supervision”, “Poor reflection in supervision” and “Ethical
Conclusion: The result of this study revealed that there is a need
for more attention to planning and defining the supervisory,
and research supervision. Also, improvement of the quality of
supervisor and students relationship must be considered behind
the research context improvement in research supervisory area.

Keywords: Research; Complexity; Medical students; Grounded theory

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 P ISSN: 2322-2220            E ISSN:2322-3561      

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Publisher: Shiraz University of Medical Sciences