The progress reporting system employed at Otago is based on three major principles:
- The process should provide a stimulus for honest dialogue between the candidate, supervisors and the department; and
- The process should encourage candidates to conduct a careful and regular review of their achievements and to set goals for the next phase of research; and
- The process should provide opportunity to discuss career plans and relevant professional development opportunities.
Progress reports are used for the following purposes:
- To support recommendations regarding confirmation of candidature (the first year)
- To ensure that the project is properly "on track", particularly with regard to the planned completion date
- To identify any problems inhibiting the progress of the PhD
- To indicate any changes to the project or its academic support (such as changes of title, changes of supervision, etc)
- To support recommendations regarding the tenure of scholarships
- To discuss career pathways and professional development opportunities
It is particularly important that the reporting process be used as a means of determining the adequacy of supervision and support. Where problems are identified, these should be signalled in the report, together with measures to rectify them.