Good mentorship

Introduction

Junior researchers usually carry out research under the supervision of a more experienced researcher, namely their supervisor (a postdoc, staff member or professor). Supervising junior researchers is an important part of good scholarship. The duties of someone who is supervising a junior researcher – duties that constitute good mentorship – can be summarized as follows:

  • Providing day-to-day guidance and feedback;
  • Encouraging the researcher and showing a keen interest in his/her work;
  • Supervising the junior researcher’s work with the appropriate intensity and respect;
  • Supervising the junior researcher in all relevant phases of the research project;
  • Monitoring progress and critically reviewing the raw research data together with the junior researcher;
  • Monitoring and promoting quality assurance and control;
  • Monitoring the researcher’s integrity in relation to the studies, data handling and submission of publications;
  • Checking whether claims to authorship are justified.

Junior researchers may be Master or even Bachelor students, postgrads or PhD students. They are generally referred to below as ‘researchers’ as opposed to ‘mentors’ or ‘supervisors’. The following guidelines apply to all forms of mentorship and supervision.