What does the University have to do for me when I’m a research student?
People around the University have certain standards to meet when dealing with you as a research student. These are contained in a policy called the Code of Good Practice. The University, the faculties and the supervision staff all have obligations.
Responsibilities of QUT
The University governs all research degrees and determine their basic structure. This means they have to:
- make sure requirements and standards for the particular degree are clearly described, as well as entry standards. Entry standards must be formed such that it ensures you’re capable of undertaking your degree.
- give you access to adequate facilities and resources
- govern intellectual property rights fairly
- set regular reporting requirements
- provide grievance and appeal procedures
- give supervising staff quality ongoing training
- make explicit the exam process
- govern and enforce the Code of Conduct for research students.
Responsibilities of the Faculty
The Faculty then deals with the finer points of your degree. This means their responsible for making sure:
- quality training is implemented;
- you meet entry criteria and continue to perform to a satisfactory level;
- your proposed research project is of sufficient scope and appropriate nature, and that due recognition is given to your research interests and ability in determining the project;
- the institute, school or research centre is appropriate for the research to be undertaken, and has the necessary time, space, facilities, equipment, technical and resource staff, source material and funding for the work;
- the proposed principal supervisor is sufficiently expert and interested in the area of research to be able to offer the candidate proper supervision;
- the workload of the supervisor, in research, teaching, supervision and any other duties, is such as to allow sufficient time to give the candidate proper supervision;
- proper supervision is provided and maintained throughout the research period;
- if the supervisor is to be absent for six weeks or more, a substitute principal supervisor is appointed;
- associate supervisors are appointed according to regulations as soon as practicable and supervisory roles are clearly apportioned;
- an academic staff member within a faculty is appointed to act as a coordinator of research graduate studies;
- the University’s requirements for reporting on the candidature are met and that both candidate and supervisors have the opportunity to read and comment on each other’s reports;
- written information is disseminated on grievance procedures; facilities and resources available to you; appeals; guidelines on authorship and intellectual property; anddeadlines for reports.
- that the following are implemented:
- orientation programs at the faculty or appropriate level for postgraduates and their supervisors, to clarify procedures, give advice and discuss the expectations of candidates, staff and the University;
- seminars on research procedures relevant to postgraduate-level research;
- a regular program of graduate seminars in the faculty’s research area;
- training workshops on occupational health and safety procedures;
- seminars or appropriate training in ethical issues and procedures.
Responsibilities of your supervisor
Your supervisor(s) is/are obliged to do the following:
- give you guidance about the nature of research, requirements of the degree including the nature and extent of an “original contribution”, standards expected, choice of research topic, planning of the research program, presentation of a research proposal, literature and sources, attendance at taught classes, where appropriate, and requisite techniques;
- advise you on, and ensure, productive use of the candidate’s time especially in the first year of candidature;
- give detailed advice on the necessary completion dates of successive stages of work, so that the thesis may be submitted on time;
- establish at the outset, through a discussion with you, and maintain a schedule of regular (at least monthly) meetings with you in accordance with faculty policy;
- request written work from you on a pre-arranged, regular and agreed basis and return such work with constructive criticism within one month or less as appropriate;
- monitor carefully your performance relative to the standard required for the degree, and ensure that the candidate promptly is made aware of inadequate progress or of standards of work below that generally expected, by specifying the problems and suggesting and discussing ways of addressing them;
- monitor your development of generic capabilities as described in QUT policy and advise you on opportunities for the enhancement of such capabilities;
- maintain currency in the knowledge and skills required for supervision through staff development activities;
- comment critically and constructively and in reasonable time on the content and the drafts of the thesis and, at the time of submission, certify that the thesis is properly presented, conforms to the Regulations and is, therefore, prima facie, worthy of examination;
- advise of the names and credentials of examiners, who are free from bias, active and knowledgeable in the field, and empathetic with the theoretical framework of the thesis;
- comply with faculty and University policies on reporting on the candidate’s progress and provide frank and timely comment;
- advise and provide support to you on preparation for and performance in reports and reviews required by the University and faculty;
- ensure that the candidate is adequately trained in safe working practices relevant to the field of research and adheres to the relevant guidelines;
- ensure that the candidate is fully aware of the need to follow ethical practices;
- arrange as appropriate for you to make presentations of your research work in faculty seminars and support you in their preparations;
- arrange as appropriate for the candidate to meet other researchers in the field, and to attend meetings or conferences;
- ensure that you have adequate access to the necessary human and physical resources, and that you participate as far as possible in intellectual life of the faculty;
- oversee your work to ensure that the design of experiments, and the processes of acquiring, recording, storing, examining and interpreting data and preparing material for publication have been undertaken by you;
- ensure that the direction of the work is entirely under the control of the University and candidate in accordance with University policy, particularly where funds are externally provided or there is a commercial dimension to the research;
- ensure that agreement is reached between you and your supervisor concerning authorship of publications and acknowledgement of contributions during and after candidature;
- ensure adherence to the University policy and faculty guidelines on intellectual property, and advise of any implications of the project with respect to intellectual property;
- ensure that original data are recorded in a durable and appropriately referenced form and stored safely for a period appropriate to the discipline.
What if you don’t think those responsibilities are being met?
Come and see the Guild’s Student Rights Hub. We can help you deal with your Faculty if you think that you’re not being appropriately treated in your research degree.
If your complaint is against your supervisor, have a look at the article on Complaints Against a Research Supervisor.