advice please?



I put adverts for a modeslty compensated couple of hours fieldwork, where participants would get a modest (and i mean like v v modest !!) token quids and I suddenly had one of the conditions (age limits) changing and had to cancel around 3 of the people i confirmed.

Now one of them keeps getting back to me with how this is unfair and wastes her time. I understand, and i am even willing to pay her half the money, from my own wallet.

but tell me, is it supposed to work this way. i am feeling awful with the words i have read this morning, and blaming me as if I am just horrid. It all happened in 2 days. advert went online on tuesday, i selected by wed/thurs and cancelled her yesterday evening itself.

tell me if i have been wrong?


======= Date Modified 09 Jan 2009 11:20:03 =======

Did she actually participate in the research already, or did you simply cancel her future participation in it? If it's the former, then I think their time needs to be compensated despite you being unable to use it for your research. But if it's the latter, I'm not quite sure how her time has been effectively wasted.. and I'd personally think that it's quite exaggerated to demand compensation, since you had very good reasons for cancelling that were outside your control. It's not that you acted on a whim to exclude her, so to my mind, apologizing for the inconvenience should be enough... I wouldn't think it appropriate if you paid her out of your own pocket if all she did was sign up to something and then didn't get in in the end.


no no she didnt...the project runs end jan and early part was due early next week, but i cancelled an hour after confirming... so...i am v taken aback and dont know how to respond to the emails..


just write a polite email saying how you are very sorry for the inconvenience but circumstances changed beyond your control and that should be the end of the matter! if this person hasn't actually done anything for you then that it is not fair of them to demand any money from you. if they continue to respond, then ignore them! these things happen, it wasn't your fault, and now you're wasting your time dealing with this person. they will give up eventually! and if they don't, keep all the emails they send and consider referring the matter to someone else - is this volunteer a student? if they are, then you can refer the incident to someone in your dept who should be able to deal with the matter. otherwise, you have done all you can and been fair to them so be firm but fair and then IGNORE them!


To me it seems as if she simply wants to make you feel bad in order to maybe get some benefit from it (i.e. part of the compensation without actually taking part in the research)... I can imagine that this must be a rather annoying and uncomfortable situation, but my personal opinion is that you shouldn't allow her to blackmail/pressure you or make you feel insecure. Her claims to some compensation are unsubstantiated in my opinion.


Thanks guys!

Will ignore the emails (have already semt polite reply etc)(up)


It's her decision to keep harassing you - point out to her (if she replies) that shes wasting her own time as well as yours (you are a very busy PhD student). Unfortunately this is the nature of research, conditions can change very quickly.

Don't feel bad, she wasn't going participate out of the goodness of her heart (she obviously doesn't have any), only because she was going to get something in return.


She has her s*it to be honest (sorry for the crudeness). As suggested, write a diplomatically toned apology, citing the reasons for the change of policy and exclude all personal references and see what happens. Thank her for her time already and emphasis that this has inconvenienced you as well. If she is still in a strop, ignore her. Ya can't please everyone and you need to concentrate on getting on with your research. Get on with it and get over it - there will be times when you have to disappoint people on purpose so will need to get used to it (hey, way of the world we live in).
Hope your research is taking shape - still a glob of nonsense here but 2009 will be the year! Keep up the good work


hey Bonzo and all you, thanks so much. She has not emailed anymore. But honestly i was so panicked this mornign and noon with the emails!

Take care you guys, yup research going crazy busy!!!! xx



Hi PhDBug,
Call me cynical but I suggest you keep copies of all the emails that you were sent as well as your replies, at least for a few months. That way if they go screaming to the Provost demanding compensation you have a water tight case against it. Got to cover your own ass first these days... :-(


Oh my!!!! I do have some, not all!

Good Lord !!!