Meetings with your Masters dissertation supervisor are vital to the success of your research project. What’s the best way to organise and prepare for them, and how can you get the most out of the sessions?
1 How often, how much?
Agree with your supervisor how often you’re going to meet, for how long, and how much of your work they’re able to check. Will they be able to look at an entire draft of your dissertation or just a few chapters? If they can only read a couple of chapters, consider carefully where you require their input the most.
Make sure you send your dissertation to your supervisor well in advance of the meeting. Otherwise, they will need to spend precious time in the session simply reading through your work, and you’ll have less time for discussion. If you don’t have time to draft a section, create a bullet-point outline so your supervisor can see what you are going to cover.
3 Ask specific questions
Asking ‘Does this chapter seem OK?’ isn’t helpful. Be clear what you’d like your supervisor to comment on. Would you like them to look at your structure, the clarity of your argument or the writing style? Email them specific questions. The more precise your queries, the more helpful your supervisor’s answers will be. Try not to be upset if they make lots of comments; all feedback is valuable. And remember — your supervisor will one of the people marking your work, so listen carefully to what they say!
3 June 2021