n South African Journal of Higher Education - 'Now you call us colleagues' : a reflection on the PPER students' experience of becoming researchers 2007 and 2009




Students within academic research projects usually assume a role of supporting the academics/scholars who are undertaking those research projects. The students' identity in this case is regarded as research assistants, with minimal valued input to the project itself. With time, however, this identity may change based on the roles and relationships between students and the academics in the projects. Drawing on our experiences as students embarking on their postgraduate studies within such a project, this article reflects on the shift in the relationships between us and the supervisors, who are the academics undertaking a Project on Postgraduate Education Research (PPER). It narrates the changing dynamics of our identities within this project from being called 'students' to 'colleagues' as we participate in the project. Two theories frame this article. First is Sambrook, Stewart and Roberts's (2008) typology of supervisory relationships which is described as distanced professional/academic; familiar professional/academic; and familiar social/academic. Second, we use Michaelsen's (2004) team-based learning to understand the collaborative learning within research projects.


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