Publication Details

Walsh, K. D., Doherty, K., Andersen, L., Bingham, S., Ford, K. I., Crookes, P. A. & McSherry, R. (2018). "Just Imagine That…": A Solution Focused Approach to Doctoral Research Supervision in Health and Social Care". International Journal of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, 30 (1), 161-171.


Effective supervision in doctoral research is critical to successful and timely completion. However, supervision is a complex undertaking with structural as well as relational challenges for both students and supervisors. This instructional paper describes an internationally applicable approach to supervision that we have developed in the health and social care disciplines that offers structure, but is also dynamic and responsive to the needs of students and supervisors and aims to develop the research competency of students. Our approach called Solution Focused Research Supervision (SFRS) is based on solution focused approaches, adapted from Solution Focused Brief Therapy and questioning techniques derived from coaching. This approach has enabled our supervision teams to effectively develop focused research questions and decide on appropriate research methodologies and methods. We offer the SFRS approach as a way of working that seeks to recognize and build upon strengths, foster engagement and openness to learning as well as build trust between students and supervisors. The authors, from (countries deleted for peer review), are supervisors and students who have developed the approach and provide practical examples of its application.