Supervisory feedback across disciplines: does it meet students’ expectations?

Madhu Neupane Bastola, Guangwei Hu

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Supervisory feedback on thesis drafts and presentations is arguably the most important source of information for graduate students, particularly those writing their theses in English-as-a-foreign-language contexts, to conduct, complete, report and improve graduate research and benefit from the process. Despite its critical role in scaffolding students’ research and thesis writing, supervisory feedback on master’s theses has been under-researched, compared with the attention given to doctoral supervision. This is particularly the case in non-Western, developing countries such as Nepal. The present study examined supervisory comments on thesis drafts (n = 97) in four disciplinary areas (education, English studies, physics and engineering). Supervisors’ beliefs underlying their practices and students’ expectations were explored through interviews with 16 supervisors and 16 students. Analyses revealed that supervisory feedback varied across the disciplinary areas and, in many cases, did not cater to students’ needs or expectations. Pedagogical implications of these findings are derived with a view to improving the effectiveness of supervisory feedback.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)407-423
Number of pages17
JournalAssessment and Evaluation in Higher Education
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • academic writing
  • disciplinary differences
  • Graduate supervision
  • master’s thesis
  • Nepalese higher education

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education

Cite this