Supervisors' conceptions of research and the implications for supervisor development
Teaching reform in higher education has frequently been informed by investigations into conceptions of learning held by students and by teachers. Such work has been extended into research education, with the study of experienced researchers' conceptions of research providing a basis for enquiry into the way research is experienced by the various participants in research education. This paper reports research designed to investigate research supervisors' conceptions of research as they were produced in focus group conversations. Using techniques of membership categorisation analysis, discourses are identified that privileged university-based research and researchers over other forms of research and other ways of knowing, in particular over the interests of professional/practitioner researchers and over the legitimacy of research conducted in workplaces outside the university. It is argued that such discourses have the potential to be problematic for professional and industry-based practitioner researchers as they seek to construct authoritative researcher identities. Further interrogation of the categorisation work that sustains these discourses offers the opportunity to make their assumptions explicit, which has implications for supervisors' reflective practice and professional development.