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Wednesday, 13 November 2019 at 12:53pm
Thursday, 21 November 2019 at 10:32pm
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Thread: Bewildered and confused by supervisor

21-Nov-19, 22:38
edited about 1 second later
by drwubs
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posted about 3 weeks ago
Quote From pm133:
drwubs, I am not sure why you think I misunderstood what you were trying to say.

I have seen this type of situation so often that my advice in these cases almost writes itself.
My gut feeling from your original post was that you were presenting partly finished work and then asking for feedback. I then felt that you were poor at taking such feedback and that your response would be negative and defensive and that your supervisor would then behave the way they did. These were my thoughts on how this situation has occurred and that is precisely what I am seeing in your response (above) to my advice.
My advice then follows that analysis. I would now add that if you want to bounce ideas with your supervisor, you should not hand over partly complete paperwork for "review". Just chat about possible work.

I have no idea why you are talking about apportioning "blame". You are going to receive a lot of advice over the years. If you are going to be interpreting that advice through the prism of believing people are trying to "blame" you, you are going to have difficulty.

My advice stands as I described it in my first response. If you persist with your current approach you are going to cause yourself serious but entirely avoidable problems. As ever, you are perfectly within your rights to accept it or dismiss it. Good luck either way.

pm133 The purpose of having a supervisor is to review and provide feedback on works in progress. For example https://www.findaphd.com/advice/doing/phd-supervisor-expectations.aspx I think it is very widely understood already. If they are not there to provide feedback then there's not even any point in sharing finished work with them either. What would they possibly have to add to something that's already completely finished and ready to send off to a publication? If that's the case then it completely negates the need for doing the PhD in the first place. Your reply is an obfuscation of the reality of what a supervisor's purpose is. Your tone, at least as I'm perceiving it, seems to indicate you're assuming some sort of "hard knocks" approach, which if that is the case then you're definitely barking up the wrong tree.

Thread: Bewildered and confused by supervisor

21-Nov-19, 15:33
edited about 9 minutes later
by drwubs
Avatar for drwubs
posted about 3 weeks ago
For rewt and pm133. I think you misunderstand what I was trying to say. I presented a paper I had started working on to my supervisor looking for feedback such as "do you think these are good questions to begin with?" (too broad or should I narrow it a bit) and I also had a small project/experiment in mind I wanted to run by them for advice as to whether they thought it would be too much of a time investment or if they thought it might be useful. This is looking for their advice as in maybe they would have an idea from experience whether this would be worthwhile or not. I was NOT asking them to do my work for me. If you can't ask these sorts of questions or converse with your supervisor about your ideas then what are they even there for? It sounds like if that's the case then there's really nothing to discuss during supervisor meetings, it's more like just a process for documenting that I'm not screwing around, which seems pretty plebian. Why have a supervisor at all in that case and why do a PhD at all if it would be no different than doing the work on my own outside of academia? Isn't the point of it (besides the piece of paper, the value of which is very debatable nowaday) to have the guidance of a mentor along the way?
I would think that if I were supervising a student and they presented that much motivation and had started working already I would be encouraging and use it as an opportunity to ask them questions about their ideas and try to offer some insight from experience, not just "I don't want you working on anything right now" but then later say "Don't come to me unless you've been working on something, but not a paper". I also find it odd that they basically said "Don't focus on making the outcome a system you've come up with" ... that was the entirety of my proposal to begin with... like what gives?

EDIT: Also, I don't really see how I can help you figure out what's going on with my situation as I didn't transcribe the entire conversation word for word. If that's what you need to offer any helpful advice then I get the distinct impression that you're manipulating what I've shared to shift the blame for the outcome of the discussion entirely onto me. I act and behave in a manner that is respectful and gives people the benefit of the doubt. I do my best to be very clear in my communication with people and so I find the argument that I am somehow entirely responsible for other people's actions very flimsy.

Thread: Bewildered and confused by supervisor

13-Nov-19, 14:02
edited about 10 seconds later
by drwubs
Avatar for drwubs
posted about 1 month ago
So I'm in the first year of my PhD (arts and humanities).
I already have a couple of international conference papers published prior to uni. My first meeting with my supervisor was very informal and he showed me around the facilities.

I had started a new paper prior to coming to uni that dealt specifically with my research project. I requested a second meeting with him to get his feedback on what I had started and discuss with him some possible avenues I wanted to take my next paper.

During this second meeting he expressed how much he disapproved of me working on a paper and specifically told me it would not be a good use of my time. I typically like to write an abstract to form the basis of my investigations and then slowly write up the paper as I do reading into the topic and perform different concrete case studies. I find this is the best way for me to work.
I specifically asked him if not working towards a paper, then what he considered a good use of my time.

He then went on a monologue discussing his doubts about my abilities in every area. At this point I I felt I had to stand up to him and basically had to defend the very reason for their being written music at which point his tone changed entirely and he went back to being friendly and good natured.

He then gave me some reading suggestions.
I met with him again briefly recently to check in as I had read everything he suggested and then some.

We have to complete mandatory monthly reports on our meetings and I'm coming up on the deadline for the next report in a few weeks. With this in mind I suggested we set a time to meet again more formally in the next week or two and he simply said not to bother until I had something tangible to show him.

Has anyone else felt this bewildered and confused by their supervisor? How did you deal with it?
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