Norms for supervising students & co-authorship




In our newest “how can we help you?” thread, a reader asks:

I am wondering about the norms of supervising students, with regard to the content. For one, it’s clear that one needs to suggest readings and clues, read the drafts, provide comments, suggestions and criticism. But how much more? For example, should you suggest substantial positive claims to be included in the thesis? What are the norms of co-authorship in such cases? What else should you take into account for responsible and fruitful supervising?

These are really excellent questions, ones that I’ve grappled with myself. When working with students, I take it that you don’t want to “give them the answers” (or what you think the answers are to what they’re working on), as it’s important for them to grapple with and work out the issues themselves. At the same time, as professors we do give students a lot of feedback, both through discussion and paper comments. The question then is how to get this balance (between helping them work through problems and letting them work through the problems) correct. I’m not entirely sure how to best approximate this balance. In my case, I just try to “feel it through”, guiding my students some but trying to give them space to work things out themselves. But I recognize that this probably isn’t very helpful. So I’d love to hear tips from readers, including about norms of co-authorship with students!

Originally appeared on The Philosophers’ Cocoon Read More