Perceptions of Supervisors on the Value of Distance Learning Undergraduate Research Projects in Zimbabwe


  • Manyanhaire Itai Offat Zimbabwe Open University
  • Miriam Chitura Zimbabwe Open University


The objective of the study was to examine supervisors’ perceptions on the value of undergraduate research projects at the Zimbabwe Open University. The study used a pretested questionnaire survey targeting 40 (N=40) supervisors and was triangulated with key informant interviews. The supervisors had adequate experience as mentors of the Bachelor of Science (Hons.) in Geography and Environmental Studies. The supervisors perceived research projects as a valuable vehicle for the development of independent research skills as it provided learners the opportunity to specialise in areas of their interest. The key indicators for positive perception of the research project were the acknowledgment of the role of the supervisors throughout the research process, and the opportunity to co-publish with the learner. The supervisors believed in a guided undergraduate research process although some had doubts on the possibility of generating valuable information from research projects that are limited in scope and are not adequately funded. It is recommended that training workshops should be
conducted to build the capacity of supervisors through the process of supervising undergraduate resea

Author Biographies

Manyanhaire Itai Offat, Zimbabwe Open University

Senior Lecturer and Programme Leader Department of Geography and Environmental Studies in the Faculty of Science and Technology of the Zimbabwe Open University.

Miriam Chitura, Zimbabwe Open University

Senior Lecturer in Health Sciences, Zimbabwe Open University