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Critical research supervision? Deconstructing a disempowering myth!

Taylor, P.C.S. and Dawson, V. (1997) Critical research supervision? Deconstructing a disempowering myth! In: Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (AERA) 1997, 24 - 28 March 1997, Chicago, IL



The supportive role of the research supervisor in an action research study is explored. This critical account of a relationship between a research supervisor and a postgraduate research student was prompted by a sense of disquiet and lack of harmony that developed during a year-long action research study. In the role of a teacher-researcher with a critical constructivist perspective, the student had attempted to transform radically the epistemology of her Year 10 Bioethics class. Despite the supervisor's emancipatory intentions, the student felt that she was being disempowered as a result of his demands to conform to normative expectations and standards. Drawing on the student's dissertation and reflective journal, and on their subsequent separate writings, the student and supervisor jointly conducted a critical inquiry into the problematic aspects of their relationship. The writings of J. Habermas and feminist scholars assisted with their new understandings of the need for a rich communicative student-supervisor relationship, especially in situations where the student is undertaking emancipatory action research and the supervisor wishes to adopt a collaborative research role.

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