Development and Initial Testing of an Instrument for Evaluating Needs and Inferring Readiness of Research Supervisors: A Mixed Methods Approach

Amani Al-Muallem, Margaret Elzubeir, Christopher Roberts, Mohi Magzoub

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose Skilled supervisors are crucial to the development of new researchers. A variety of institutional perspectives exist regarding prerequisites for effective research supervision, yet little is known about this subject from perspectives of research supervisors themselves. Mixed methods designs offer the potential to integrate various data collection and analyses procedures to rigorously investigate complex social constructs such research supervision and to design tools to evaluate needs and readiness. The present study aimed to develop and initially test an instrument that explores needs and readiness of research supervisors using an integrative mixed methods design. Methods Drawing on a blend of socio-cognitive theories an integrative exploratory mixed methods approach was adopted. Interviews, focus groups, Delphi technique and survey were utilized. Self-rated needs for effective research supervision were completed by a convenience sample of research supervisors. Qualitative data were analyzed using inductive content analysis. Results Findings from all data sets indicate that research supervisor needs are multifaceted and indicative of readiness. By widening the range of research methods used to explore the issues, needs and readiness were subsumed under general thematic headings of cognitive, interpersonal, administrative and scientific domains. Discussion Research supervision can be conceptualized as being embedded in a comprehensive theoretical framework in which components of perceived cognitive skills, personal beliefs, behaviors, administrative and environmental factors work together to determine needs and readiness. Utilizing rigorous data collection and analyses methods that integrate quantitative and qualitative data is recommended to develop an instrument to determine needs and readiness. To achieve optimal practice in research supervision, development should be based on well-specified basic requirements and needs of supervisors built on a methodology rooted within the mixed methods paradigm. Further data and analyses are needed to ascertain whether the identified thematic variables can be replicated in a second sample drawn from other populations and subcultural groups.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)138-147
Number of pages10
JournalHealth Professions Education
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2016


  • Mixed methods
  • Needs
  • Readiness
  • Research supervisors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • General Nursing


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