The overall context
Supervisors tend to be immersed in their busy academic and/or professional lives and seldom have the time to maintain an overview of ongoing developments in doctoral education. In consequence, many are experiencing new demands without necessarily understanding the wider context within which they arise. The purpose of the present chapter is to try to set out that wider context. The chapter begins with a brief summary of the historical origins and evolution of doctoral education from its modern origins through to the 1980s and then looks at subsequent developments that have transformed the field and the context of supervision.