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bewildered
Sunday, 8 June 2008 at 6:52pm
Tuesday, 3 December 2019 at 4:24pm
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Thread: Can I criticize my supervisor as she is criticizing me for some things that are not my fault?

posted
08-Jun-08, 19:27
edited about 11 seconds later
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posted about 11 years ago
I think it's really hard when you start a PhD. On the whole up to then you've always been praised at university, you've been one of the better students etc and then suddenly nothing you do is quite good enough. But it is your supervisor's job to critique your work as they want you to pass at the end of the day. And they get regular criticims too so she does know how it feels - I've seen some of the student evaluations of my supervisor's teaching and some of the rejections she's had from journals (to make me feel better). Put it like this - there are some nasty academics around but nothing beats a spiteful undergrad for really hurtful attacks

Thread: Can I criticize my supervisor as she is criticizing me for some things that are not my fault?

posted
08-Jun-08, 19:27
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posted about 11 years ago
The question that occurs to me is - do you want to work with this woman any more? If not, simply go to whoever is responsible for PhD students and tell them you want to change to someone who's more able to help you rejig your project in response to the criticisms of it. You say they're abstract so I guess they're methodological or theoretical so there may well be someone better. You could use that time to make a formal complaint but I'd imagine she's already been told off for inadequate supervision.
If you do want to continue working with her, then I'd suggest being very businesslike in the next few meetings. Go in with precise questions about the criticisms and how to fix them and force her into agreeing a road map with you to move it forward. The most helpful thing you can do is try to separate the project and its pros and cons from your own self worth. Look at it like a car that needs fixing - something you wouldn't take personally.

Thread: Can I criticize my supervisor as she is criticizing me for some things that are not my fault?

posted
08-Jun-08, 19:27
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posted about 11 years ago
Looking at it from a different angle, your supervisor is a newish member of staff and you are her first PhD student. She was probably really pleased to get the chance and was near enough to her own PhD to try and be the dream supervisor - friendly, always supportive, getting you involved in other projects etc. Then came your viva and her senior colleagues make it very clear that they think there are some real flaws in your project. Now you are understably upset with the criticism but I bet she's been taken to task too and been told that she's not doing you any favours by not making sure your work is up to standard to pass the PhD. She's now trying to take that advice on board and work with you accordingly. This is awkward for both of you and from what you say neither of you is managing it well right now.

Thread: What to do after the PhD??

posted
08-Jun-08, 18:58
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posted about 11 years ago
Definitely you don't owe anyone anything. It would be courteous to tell your supervisor that that's your intended path though as they then know where they stand. Like anyone who's worked outside academia before doing a PhD, I have to warn you that there are MUCH worse places for back-biting etc though so don't be surprised. I have a friend in banking and his tales make my hair stand on end and no it's not about big deals etc, it's the petty small things just like every job I've ever had.
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