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Dr Nigel Harwood, University of Sheffield

This is an evening lecture by Dr Nigel Harwood and organised by Westminster Professional Language Centre.

As master’s and doctoral programmes expand, a growing body of research has focused on a major component of these programmes: the dissertation/thesis candidates write, and the experiences and practices of dissertation/thesis supervisees and supervisors. This body of work, which mainly focuses on doctoral study, has pointed to a high degree of variability in both supervisory experiences and practices. In this talk, Dr Nigel Harwood, Reader in Applied Linguistics at the University of Sheffield, focuses on the less-researched arena of master’s study, and on the supervisor’s rather than the supervisee’s perspective.

Using a multiple case study approach (e.g. Duff 2008; Merriam 1998), he will present findings regarding two supervisors’ experiences of supervising non-native students who were tackling their master’s dissertations at a UK university.

Based on the analysis of these two cases, he will raise questions about supervisory policies and provide food for thought for university policy makers attempting to draw up supervisory guidelines. He closes on a less normative note, by discussing the tensions identified in the data between the supervisors’ inner convictions (e.g., their beliefs about best supervisory practice) and the departmental supervisory regulations, and how these tensions are (un)resolved, then broaden this discussion out to reflections on supervisor autonomy in the face of the performative and instrumental discourses surrounding the contemporary university.

6–6.30pm: Welcome
6.30–7.30pm: Presentation
7.30–8.30pm: Reception

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About Dr Nigel Harwood

Dr Nigel Harwood is Reader in Applied Linguistics at the University of Sheffield, UK. He has edited two volumes focusing on English language teaching materials and textbooks, English Language Teaching Materials: Theory and Practice (CUP) and English Language Teaching Textbooks: Content, Consumption, Production (Palgrave Macmillan), and has published articles on EAP and academic writing in various journals, including Journal of Second Language Writing, Written Communication, Journal of Pragmatics, and Journal of English for Academic Purposes. He is the co-editor of the Elsevier journal English for Specific Purposes.