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A portfolio on research degree supervision - the claims section

The contents of the portfolio, as shown on the portfolio structure page in Table 1 are presented in an order useful for a reader or assessor. However from your point of view, having to produce the portfolio, they are most easily understood out of order, in the order shown in the side menu.

This page considers Section 7, ie the section on the claims for competence or experience.

The Claims (Section 7 of Table 1)

This section is the core of the portfolio: the place where your reflection, individuality, creativity, scholarly thinking and ability as a research degree supervisor will show. Provided that everything else is in order, it is on this section that the portfolio will primarily be assessed.

Each claim for experience/development/competence in a particular skill needs to be justified under its own sub-heading, following the schemata of Table T2, as amended for your own situation and the module concerned. So, assuming for the sake of illustration that you do not amend the list of skills, this means that there should be seven sections, each with its own heading, with the first heading reflecting the first of the skills, e.g. 'Ensuring a match between student, supervisors and research topic'.

Your claim under each heading must refer to the associated documentary evidence using its reference code or file name. The case must be made clearly and convincingly perhaps through an explanation, or a review of the context or a short case study and it must include personal reflection and show a level of thinking appropriate for someone supervising postgraduate research degrees. (To use the UK terminology, the claim must be at Level 7.)

As a rough indication of length, each claim should be no more than a few paragraphs. However, this must depend on the level of the course, module or programme concerned and the requirements of your institution.

It is not reasonable to show all the values in each area of activity, but every value should be justified at least twice somewhere - although this may be varied by your assessors. Indicate in brackets which of your numbered values is being demonstrated.

It is worth repeating that this section is where your reflection, individuality, creativity, scholarly thinking and ability as a research degree supervisor should show. As in all work at this level, claims should also relate to published literature - by agreeing, disagreeing or developing. Provided that the other elements of the portfolio are in order, it is on the claims that you will be primarily assessed.

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© Pat Cryer