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Revise & Resubmit - feeling humiliated

Quote From pm133:

Hey I am the king of extreme accountability, and everything is my fault, INCLUDING not reconciling my supervisors' inability to catch obvious academic flaws in my work. Supervisors are your safety net. They are your feedback loop. If they are shitty, you will be allowed to publish shitty work, if they are keen-eyed then your work stands a better chance to be academically thorough.

What part of "feedback loop" don't you understand? If you have supervisors who are incapable or ill-equipped to catch MAJOR errors....and the ONLY time you are told your work is crap is at your viva....you are telling me that's just fine?

Then according to you....there are no good or bad supervisors.....taken further, if there are no bad supervisors, there is no need for a supervisor at all? If no one is teaching you your errors along the way, how do you improve? Success is built on continuous micro failures, not just letting a candidate do as they please and then try to retroactively correct a disastrous viva!

As for my comment about meeting with supervisors about catching errors, if you cannot tactfully get your point across in that scenario, the fault lies in your interpersonal skills not my reasoning.

Anyways, this is my last comment, we agree to disagree. And I hope you don't go on to supervise anyone with that kind of attitude, because clearly, you will approach that role with zero sense of accountability. I've learned from the best, and they see their candidates (and their success) as a reflection of them to certain a degree.

Good Day.

struggling with my PhD advisor

Holy shit this is a mess. Like others have said, change change change superviors.

Also all the "abuse of power" narrative...I would not be phased. You have a newborn now, and more than ever, they are depending on a healthy parent (mom I assume) to come home. So I would actually say, call your supervisor's bluff, and actually go through the system and go before whatever panels or committees you are required to go before to log your complaints.

Now, that does not mean you should be reckless. There must be a trail of emails you can dig up that actually shows proof that you have been asked to perform tasks well outside the purview of your role as a PhD candidate. Maybe when you were an assistant, however the boundaries have now been blurred.

Now there must be one or two people in the department you can trust or ask for help. If you are saying the ENTIRE department is evil and toxic, I would be more wary of you than them (please do not take offence, just going on experience). I would say usually the admin staff are the most helpful with issues of difficulties with supervisors and they can offer advice on where to turn.

Do you have a second supervisor? Do you have an external academic who is present every now and then who is supposed to be subjective? At my university we call them external thesis advisory panel members, and its exactly for situations like this. Your situation is now untenable and openly hostile. Id be looking for an exit strategy and a sympathetic academic to get me over the finish line to my viva.

OR, you can just eat a little more shit until Jan 2019....the term is almost over, and be done with the witch forever after that. Thats also a practical route given the proximity of the viva. HOWEVER, if you feel your work won't pass the viva as is, again, look for a way out.

Meeting with potential PhD supervisor

Ask what they think (viability of the project, or your rough conceptions of potential research)

Ask if it is within their expertise or aligns with their current research agenda (you are gauging for interest)

Ask if they would be interested (as above), or have the time to supervise you (they may be taking leave soon, etc)

I would keep it super informal, like over a coffee if that is appropriate, just bouncing some ideas off them

I would also highly recommend Destination Dissertation, their chapter on PhD proposal formulation is the best out there. It will help you work through a lot of initial questions, and you will be able to approach with reasonably better idea of what you want to do

Ask yourself WHY you want to do this PhD, and think about where you want it to map (Industry vs academia). A bit of reverse engineering is always helpful. Basically think about you dream profession, work backwards, and ask yourself does a PhD map to that.

Thats all I can think about off the top of my head. But willing to come back here and interact. Also make sure above all else, you are motivated to do this PhD because you really don't want to do anything else. That fire has to stay lit for a very long time.

Revise & Resubmit - feeling humiliated

I think this would be a very damaging attitude for the original poster to adopt. Trying to blame anyone else is an extremely bad idea.
Your last paragraph is potentially disastrous advice. You want the original poster to start taking that sort of attitude with the one person they need to be on their side right now?

It's one thing to ask your supervisor what YOU could do better on. It is quite another to be expicitly blaming them for your failure.

Radical candour is only damaging if expressed carelessly. At this point, if you get completely blindsided when you were led to believe everything was aboveboard with your research, then your feedback loop (supervisor input) is broken and you are essentially "golfing in the dark".

I successfully defended my thesis this morning with minor corrections, and they were all warranted. While I felt I had some weaker sections in my work, I was not caught off guard by anything major. It would be a different story if the OPs supervisors constantly warned about weaknesses and the OP ignored.

But when your supervisors fail to identify what have now been revealed to be significant deficiencies in the research, they share in the blame. Or at the very least, their attention to detail must be scrutinised. But I am not British, and maybe its a cultural difference where I am not timid about frank and honest conversations. Trust me I have seen many supervisors who are very nonchalant about their candidates' work, and I do admit I won the supervisor lottery with the ones I got. A PhD is a team effort. Your supervisors are not just passive observers.

I in no way suggested the OP be confrontational, however, I would have to frankly discuss the overall failure to identify or anticipate the weaknesses in the work, sensitivities be damned. If you don't fix that part...you are asking for a repeat performance.

Revise & Resubmit - feeling humiliated

No need to feel humiliated. I already established that when I do eventually become an academic, any student who fails a viva under my watch is 100% my fault. This is on your supervisor. Personally, every one of my thesis chapters have been read and edited by both of my supervisors 3-5 times. I see a lot of supervisors take a "laissez-faire" approach to their candidates, and obviously the danger is a half baked thesis. The errors you described should have been caught by a keen supervisor.

If I were you, i'd ask my supervisor what they thought about the critiques, and how come he/she did not catch these errors. Good luck, at least you don't have to do the Viva again and its just major corrections.

Examiner Disagreement

Wow that was like watching a tragedy with a great ending. I nearly feel like giving this thread a movie review LOL. Congrats Faded!

Literature Review Struggles!

Like everyone said just swing through it man. I would also say, if its interdisciplinary, just attack it one sub discipline at a time and then see where they intersect. You will probably find (like I did) that 2 disciplines have more in common than with the third "distant cousin" body of literature. So you can just park that to the side when it becomes "useless" or you just use a paragraph to cite en-passant that you are aware of that body of literature, but it is not relevant to your research question.

Find your sweetspot, and then pay attention to the authors that keep popping up who have written about it. Check out their google scholar or research gate profiles and see what else they have written, and then look through the related articles by other authors. It is out there, you just have to find it. Good luck man.

Going forward???

Warning I am somewhat of a radical, but I firmly believe there is no reason to do shit you hate (unless you are your family are about to starve.)

I say figure out what you want, and reverse engineer. I discovered what specialisation I really loved halfway through my PhD, so I pivoted, and made sure I was able to write at least 1 paper about it, and now I'm just obsessed with cracking into that field.

Be empirically lead by what you love doing. It sounds airy fairy I know. If you are not sure, experiment (depending on how much leverage you have). DO NOT go with the safe / sensible option if you have the choice man. You will be tiptoeing to a super resentful retirement.

Publishing during the PhD inquiries.

I just published (sole author) in a very decent journal and I am about 3 months out from submitting (3rd year) so it is doable without supervisor co-author. However my thesis format is "PhD incorporating publishable papers" so I am trying to get all 4 of my thesis "papers" published by end of year.

HOWEVER, my colleague, also published like a week before her Viva (same supervisor) sole author. So it is doable (and recommended) if you plan on doing a postdoc or shooting straight for a lectureship. Teaching fellowships don't require publications.

Having said all of that, allow for exceptions to the rule. The only downside I can think of publishing with a supervisor is that if they are not the go-getter type, I assume that whole exercise might be like pulling teeth.

*Disclaimer* While I did sole author my paper, both of my supervisors proof read + commented on it 4-5 times (4-5 drafts) before they agreed to let me start submitting to journals.

Final year support thread

Howdy all. Pressure is on for sure as my final year is here. Plan to put out 4 papers before viva, speak at conferences finally because I did not want to present before I had findings. And of course thinking about postdoc, sourcing funding XYZ. 12 hour days...its insane. Still would not rather be doing anything else. Have a good weekend folks.

PhD Research Topic HELP!

I swore I wrote a 2 post response after reading the introduction of conclusion....sheesh....not typing that over...

EDIT: NVM, OP created identical threads.

PhD or Job

Lastly, do you want to be an academic or an industry / pseudo-academic (consultant) guy? What is your end game or dream? Once you know that with crystal clarity, then working backwards to figure out the path is the easy part.

Good luck though.

PhD or Job

So here is my 2c worth as a 39 yo candidate looking to finish in 2.5 years (UK).

I tend not to think along practical lines, I go with passion (if I can afford to) despite the inconveniences.

Your Job: You sound genuinely interested in where it could lead, and the possibilities, and most importantly you sound enthusiastic, so it is a good option, however I do not know about your constraints but there is a bit of logic built into that decision I assume. Would you want to put the next 20 years into that job and feel as if you professional life has been one well lived?

Academia: First of all, statistics (7-10% PhD candidates getting full time jobs after graduation) is for 'other' people, or average people. I know I sound like a shit, but that has been my observation. It just lets you know what NOT to do. Sure there are no guarantees but most PhD candidates just do enough. Like its some achievement to finish in 3 years? Really? That is the minimum! You should have at least 2 papers AND a host of other value added on top of that. I am also the department's computing officer so I chat with all staff, old and new. Those without publications get temporary teaching posts, those with publications get full time research offers, often before they have even submitted. I have seen this happen more times that I can count. So if you are willing to put in an unreasonable amount of effort into your career, it will work out. Ignore statistics.

Secondly, why are you continuing your Master's research into a PhD? Is it worth studying? Its it because you have all your industry contacts and will be easy to get data? I encourage you to still rigorously interrogate the viability of your PhD, outside of it being a carry over from your Masters studies, as that is not justification enough for a relevant, current, interesting, sexy PhD (Yes I said sexy because marketing your research is a reality)

PhD Research Topic HELP!

4. Topic is too broad. You do not specify which market you are looking at, and the global design market is WAYYYY too big to cover in 1 PhD. Reformulate

5. You took 8 paragraphs to to get to your research question. That was very difficult to read. Get straight to the point and THEN justify why, how, and what you will be examining. The way it is laid out now, it makes for painful reading (I am not being rude, just frank, no sense if being vague). Consider having someone you trust academically proof read it for clarity. That is a MUST. If not pay to have it proof read and edited. Its worth it if you are serious about a PhD. Have an old mentor or professor read it. Something.

6. Yeah that's it. But think long and hard about the problem you are trying to solve, and then reformulate your question. In the end, I am not sure your research is worth studying, and if it is, you should be able to make a convincing case for it in in a reply here in one paragraph. I hope this was somewhat helpful, and I look forward to that paragraph.

PhD Research Topic HELP!

Full disclosure I only read up until the beginning of the literature review:


1. Your grammar is ok, but sentence structure could use some work. Its not easy to follow and in places you are too informal with your language. For example use the term "players" when referring to major firms in the industry. In the UK, academics prefer a bit more crisp language in serious work, otherwise it comes of sounding like a blog post. Trust me, as someone who is heavily influences by North American culture and enthusiasm, I have learned to adopt the "correct tone" in academic work.

2. Many of your claims, statistics, assertions and statements lack citations. You had one citation in the first 8 paragraphs. That will not cut it. EVERY empirical statement about the design industry that you make MUST be referenced by some supporting source, otherwise that is just your opinions I am reading. You content as it is, is too subjective.

3. I am doing a social-science PhD and to be frank, the recession is done with.

Your research topic is as follows "How global recession is changing the current design practitioners towards creative freelancers?" That should be past tense, as I think you would be hard pressed to demonstrate that the recession is still ongoing. You may want to re-conceptualise your question to "How the global recession HAS CHANGED etc." past tense.

If that is the case, why is it important? Why should people care? Helping graduates make more informed decisions is not that compelling (to me). Why is it important to observe this shift in business model from big firm to free lancer? Are you not just giving a historical account in the end? What larger theories can benefit from this investigation? Your rationale needs firming up or you need to re-frame your questions so your results have more of an impact factor.

To be continued....