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Universiteit Utrecht

1. Jong, J.C. de. Uitgesproken complex. Interactie tussen scriptieschrijvers en begeleiders.

Degree: 2006, Universiteit Utrecht

In this dissertation I describe my exploration of 'supervisory conferences', held by students and teachers of the Utrecht University. Four cases have been studied, consisting of two or three conversations, taking averagely one hour. Additional interviews were held with students and supervisors separately. The four thesis processes that are studied, take place in different disciplines: social sciences, law studies, science education and liberal arts. The main question of the study is: In what way might which interaction patterns in thesis conferences threaten or advance the efficiency of the thesis process? Former studies indicate not only that many students meet problems when working on a thesis, they also describe the existence of a great variety of definitions, functions, criteria and procedures concerning the thesis process. Moreover, students as well as teachers talk about these aspects in a rather obscure way. Interaction between student writers and supervisors offers an opportunity to clarify (1) good procedures to fulfil several parts of the task, (2) goal and function of activities within the task, and (3) the criteria used in the evaluation of the process and the product. The presupposition in this study is that form and content of the interaction may influence the efficiency of the writing process of the student since this interaction might lead, in a less or more efficient way, to (1) less or more shared cognition about the task and (2) less or more adequate support to the student. Detailed qualitative and quantitative analyses of the conferences show that talking about master theses is a complex task that requires a high amount of cognitive effort and concentration - on the part of the student as well as the supervisor who are speakers, listeners and thinkers during the conversation. The topics themselves are complicated: problems concerning designing, implementing and reporting a scientific research project. Besides, speakers have to deal with unexpected input by the other speaker, and speakers are concerned with defining their roles in the relationship with the other one. In the meantime, the clock keeps ticking. In the conferences I analysed, more than once misunderstandings rise between students and supervisors and agreement is not always established in an efficient way. The risks of confusion and miscommunication seem to grow by a combination of unclear language and speakers communicating from different perspectives, i.e. unshared questions, problems, reasoning or knowledge. Moreover, much of the communicative behaviour of the observed supervisors can be interpreted as connected to their institutional roles as an expert and an assessor (gatekeeper). The supervisors in this study tend to be focused on persuading the student. Thus, they are more likely to be concentrated on sending a convincing message than on the perception of and the reflection upon the response of the receiver. Several examples demonstrate that actors do not investigate efficiently what exactly goes wrong in the interaction and/or… Advisors/Committee Members: Pilot, A., Hoven, P.J. van den, Oost, H.A..

Subjects/Keywords: Sociale Wetenschappen; master thesis; thesis writing; academic skills; supervision; inter-action; conversation; tutoring

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APA (6th Edition):

Jong, J. C. d. (2006). Uitgesproken complex. Interactie tussen scriptieschrijvers en begeleiders. (Doctoral Dissertation). Universiteit Utrecht. Retrieved from

Chicago Manual of Style (16th Edition):

Jong, J C de. “Uitgesproken complex. Interactie tussen scriptieschrijvers en begeleiders.” 2006. Doctoral Dissertation, Universiteit Utrecht. Accessed February 26, 2020.

MLA Handbook (7th Edition):

Jong, J C de. “Uitgesproken complex. Interactie tussen scriptieschrijvers en begeleiders.” 2006. Web. 26 Feb 2020.


Jong JCd. Uitgesproken complex. Interactie tussen scriptieschrijvers en begeleiders. [Internet] [Doctoral dissertation]. Universiteit Utrecht; 2006. [cited 2020 Feb 26]. Available from:

Council of Science Editors:

Jong JCd. Uitgesproken complex. Interactie tussen scriptieschrijvers en begeleiders. [Doctoral Dissertation]. Universiteit Utrecht; 2006. Available from: