Business Research Supervision in Institutions of Higher Learning: A Case Study of Some Selected Technical Universities in Ghana
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The study examines the shape of business research supervision in institutions of higher learning. The study was based on the sensitivity that the quality of business research supervision in Ghanaian Technical Universities is abating as less attention seem to be paid to such academic exercise by these institutions. The study was guided by the interpretive theory of social constructivism. Document analysis, archival contents and interview techniques were used to explore the perceptions of 45 participants and 120 archival contents (supervised and approved bounded project reports) on the state of business research supervision. Four set of issues including; (a) definition of research supervision, (b) existence of institution-wide research supervision policy and procedures, (c) availability of resource for research supervision exercise and (d) the extent of influence of quality assurance directorates on research supervision steered the study. Respondents had a more traditional and limited definition and understanding of research supervision. There was absence of institution-wide policies to govern project work undertaking and supervision. Although departments admitted having personalised research supervision policies, they were not overtly communicated to both students and supervisors. Project supervision exercise was also inadequately resourced: a demotivation for supervisors. Quality assurance policies did not cover project work supervision. Per the framework used in the study, the problems identified above accounted for poor quality supervision and had a rippled negative implication on research outcomes. Among others, the study recommended the development of institution-wide policies that clearly defines and communicates responsibilities of supervisors and students as well as supervision expectations. Supervision exercise should be well-resourced (financial, material, human, information and processes), this will help motivate supervisors and students to tackle the exercise with utmost seriousness. Quality assurance policies must be broadened to include all aspects - pre and post project work supervision phases. This is the only way ethical standards and integrity can be built into the supervision process. If the above recommendations are put into perspective, it is believed that quality supervision can be assured and consequently research outcomes will be improved.
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