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Table 3 Student defined characteristics of 'good' and 'poor' quality supervision

From: The experience of international nursing students studying for a PhD in the U.K: A qualitative study

Good quality supervision Poor quality supervision
• Takes a personal interest in the student and in the country and culture • Too busy
• Engenders a sense of trust and confidence in the student • Does not seem interested in the project
• Understands the particular challenges for international students • Task focused, does not take a personal interest - too 'professional'
• Is accessible (e.g. answers emails, is willing to have the odd one-off meeting when needed) • Student is unsure if they can trust them to guide their project
• Reads work and provides detailed and specific feedback • Provides inconsistent advice
• Provides a way forward when stuck - suggests new avenues of inquiry • Inaccessible (e.g. does not reply to emails)
• Provides clear guidance • Does not read work
• Suggests reading material • Feedback is too general
• Encourages and welcomes debate • Throws back questions to the student rather than suggesting possible new directions
• Is an expert in the subject area • Gives criticism in an insensitive or destructive way
• Challenges the student • Is not an expert in the subject area
• Acts as a gate-keeper, helping student to identify and take opportunities to build networks and develop skills (e.g. by encouraging the student to present at a conference or to contact an eminent researcher in the field)