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Producing a portfolio on research degree supervision

Once you have worked through the early pages in on portfolios on research degree supervision (see the side menu), you are ready to start.

Do make sure that you keep and code every piece of paper or electronic communication that comes your way in relation to your supervision as you may need it as evidence to support a particular claim.

It is a good idea to start the portfolio by filling in a draft of the grids for your own use as this will focus your mind on the evidence that you need to collect. Then you will need to keep the knowledge, skills and values uppermost in your mind as you go about your supervisory* practice, and keep asking yourself which ones are part of your ongoing development or competence or excellence and how you could demonstrate that this is so. Then the creation of the portfolio should be straightforward and take only a short time.

For an e-portfolio, Microsoft Word (or similar text editor) is ideal for all the text-based files while they are under development because its in-built review tools such as comments and track changes can be capitalised on by everyone involved. For the final version, however, PDF is preferable because, unlike Microsoft Word, it displays identically on all computers. Furthermore it cannot as readily be mistakenly erased or corrupted through a slip of the cursor. Microsoft Word files can be saved as PDF.

Also for an e-portfolio it is helpful for tutors, assessors and readers alike for you to become proficient at using the in-built heading styles of Microsoft Word (or other text editor), rather than just emboldening or enlarging text to indicate headings. This is because good text editors like Microsoft Word can then produce a contents list with each item linking to the appropriate section of the text - so saving an enormous amount of flipping-through time.

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© Pat Cryer

* 'Supervisor' is a shorthand for 'research degree supervisor', 'advisor' or 'tutor', and applies to varying extents for all research degrees: PhD, DPhil. MPhil, Prof Doc and even undergraduate and masters' projects. In some countries, notably the USA, a 'supervisor' is known as an 'advisor'.