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Students would do well to use elements of the Thesis/Research Essay evaluation criteria as criteria for selecting a supervisor, conducting research, and writing their thesis/research essay. This list is by no means exhaustive.

You are thinking of choosing Professor “X”. What criteria might you use to better assess your choice? The following is a guide to formulating selection criteria.

Supervisory Responsibilities » Selection Criteria

(a) Supervisors should explain at the beginning of the Advanced Seminar the evaluation criteria to be used and the requirements for the successful completion of the seminar. Such criteria should be clear and be applied consistently and fairly. Does Professor “X” do this?

(b) Supervisors should ensure that students are provided with comments on drafts and guidance in a timely manner in order to facilitate their academic progress. Does Professor “X” provide useful and timely comment?

(c) “Capricious grading” which constitutes the following is not acceptable: (1) the assignment of a grade to a student on some basis other than actual performance in the seminar; (2) the assignment of a grade to a student by resorting to more exacting standards than those applied to other students; (3) the assignment of a grade by a substantial departure from the previously announced standards of evaluation. Does Professor “X” have a record of “capricious grading”?

(d) Supervisors should acquaint students with materials relevant the student’s chosen research topic. Does Professor “X” do so?

(e) In instances of student-faculty collaboration, the intellectual contributions of the student should be fully and appropriately acknowledged.

Evaluation of the Thesis/Research Essay » Supervisor Selection Criteria

Evaluation Criteria

Supervisor Selection Criteria



- extent of student’s own data gathering

- How can Professor “X” assist in gathering reference material or data for my thesis?

- use of primary source

- Can Professor “X” assist in acquiring primary sources?

- original interpretation of literature

- How can Professor “X” help me with an “original interpretation”?

- topic selection

- How can Professor “X” help me in choosing a topic? What topics has he/she supervised in the past? What topics is his/her area(s) of published (or soon to be published) research?

(b) Methodology


- soundness

What method(s) are appropriate to my topic and how can Professor “X” advise me on this issue?

- originality

How is this defined and can Professor “X” clarify what it means in terms of my topic?

(c) Analysis of Data

Analysis of Data

- relevance

Can Professor “X” advise me on the relevance of data or reference material(s)?

- factual soundness

Can Professor “X” verify my data or findings?

(d) Presentation of Data

- organization

How might Professor “X” assist in helping me organize my thesis/research essay?

- clarity

Will Professor “X” read and provide useful comments in a timely manner?

- style (citations, bibliography)

Can Professor “X” help out with this issue?

(e) Final Examination (Defense)

- ability to answer questions about the thesis/research essay during the examination

- Will Professor “X” ask the difficult questions before the exam?