Research Supervision Practices and Functional Challenges among Graduate Distant Students at the Open University of Tanzania

Mtitu, A. E.


The study investigated practices and challenges of graduate students in research supervision in Tanzania using the Open University of Tanzania as an example. The research emphasis was to assess graduate students’ conception of research in general, to examine graduate students’ research supervision practice at the Open University of Tanzania and to find-out ways suggesting the best practice for future research supervision of graduate students.  Mixed method approach was adopted using the case study design to investigate the researched problem. 200 participants including academics and students volunteered participation in research. Participants were selected on random and purposive procedures. Data collection involved questionnaires, semi-structured and documentary reviews. Concurrent analysis framework was adopted to ensure complementarity in research process. Results were presented in different formats: graphs, themes and percentages and discussed accordingly. Results showed that academics demonstrated limited research knowledge and skills that called for the need of research-based training opportunities to the OUT academicians. Several recommendations were made including the need for research policy innovation at the institution, investment priority in research, and bench marking the postgraduate programmes to improve supervision of graduate students at the University. 

Full Text:



Carton, J. (2014). Research Supervisor Support and Development Review of Policy, Practices and Procedures in Five U21 Partner Universities. Project supported by Universitas 21 and UCD International.

Creswell, J. W., & Plano Clark, V.L. (2011). Designing and conducting mixed methods research (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks: Sage

Publications, Inc.

Ghadirian L, Sayarifard A, Majdzadeh R, Rajabi F, & Yunesian M.

(2014). Challenges for Better thesis supervision. Medical

Journal of the Islam Republic of Iran. No.28,p.32.

Grant, K., Hackney, R., & Edgar, D. (2014). Postgraduate research supervision: An ‘agreed’ con-ceptual view of good practice through derived metaphors. International Journal of Doctoral

Studies, 9, 43-60. Retrieved from

Johnson, B., & Christensen, L. (2008). Educational research: quantitative, qualitative, and mixed approaches (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications.

Khine, M. S. (2006). Teaching with technology: Strategies for engaging learners. London, Pearson Prenctice Hall.

Kincheloe, J. L. (2008). Knowledge and critical pedagogy. An introduction, (Vol. 1). Montreal, Quebec: Springer.

Koehler, M. J., & Mishra, P. (2009). What is technological pedagogical content knowledge? Contemporary Issues in Technology and

Teacher Education, 9(1). 60-70.

McLaren, (1994). Critical Pedagogy, Political Agency, and the Pragmatics of Justice. The Case of Lyotard. Journal of

Educational Theory, 44(3). 319-340.

Mtitu, E. A. (2014). Learner-centred teaching and learning in Tanzania: Geography teachers perceptions & Experiences. PhD Dissertation submitted at Victoria University of Wellington-New Zealand.

Mutula, S.M. (2009). Challenges of Postgraduate Research: Global Context, African Perspectives. Presented at the University of Zululand, 10th DLIS Annual Conference, from 9 - 10 September 2009.

Yin, R. K. (2009). Case study research design and methods (4th ed.) Los Angeles: Sage Publications.


  • There are currently no refbacks.