The learning alliance: Ethics in doctoral supervision

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This paper is concerned with the ethics of relationships in doctoral supervision. We give an overview of four paradigms of doctoral supervision that have endured over the past 25 years and elucidate some of their strengths and limitations, contextualise them historically and consider their implications for doctoral supervision in the contemporary university. Two common threads across the four paradigms are a view of doctoral supervision as pedagogical practice and that supervisors have primary responsibility for the supervision of doctoral students. We challenge these assumptions. In their place, we propose that the goal of doctoral supervision is praxis and that this involves a learning alliance between multiple institutional agents grounded in a relational ethics of mutual responsibility. Copyright © 2012 Taylor & Francis.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)377-392
JournalOxford Review of Education
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2012


Halse, C., & Bansel, P. (2012). The learning alliance: Ethics in doctoral supervision. Oxford Review of Education, 38(4), 377-392.


  • Doctoral education
  • Doctorate
  • Ethics
  • Supervision

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