Your expert opinions needed please! I made a mistake in my analysis (science but I cannot be more specific, sorry!) which has resulted in me failing my 1st year review. This has shocked me, I had not expected it at all. The mistake was omitting something in my analysis which is usually a very standard tool to use. I omitted it as I thought it was justified not to use it in a pilot study, and I intended to use it in the 'full' study after the pilot. My sup was fully aware of all this.
I take full responsibility for my mistake and feel like a right plonker. However as I came out of industry to do the PhD and have spent 1st year adjusting to being a student again (at age of 35+) I am unsure if the mistake is truly all mine, in which case I may not be cut out for research, or if the sup must bear some blame as sup gave me no indication whatsoever that this omission would make me fail. Sup tends to be very indirect when thinking they are being direct. I am rubbish at guessing what sup's hints really mean, but assumed hinting was normal because at PhD level we don't get spoonfed (and I don't want to be spoonfed anyway). Please tell me your opinions, as it will help me decide whether to stay or go. Thanks very much indeed :(
It might be an area of contention. As a student (and as a tutor who hates to spoonfeed), I'd say that if you run through your plans/results with a supervisor, and something important is missing or incorrect, the supervisor should be picking up on that. It should at least be brought up and discussed.
Yeah it all seems a bit odd to me too. If you've got a good reason for not doing something, then surely you should be given a chance to explain and not just failed for it? I've never heard of that happening before.
Like pm133 said, a mistake like you are describing is not what I have seen people fail for.
p.s. What are you saying about supervisors not wanting to be direct because you should be thinking for yourself, is less likely to be intentional and more likely to be due to their inability to give proper direction or advice. You need to ask them to be more specific, challenge what they say, ask more open questions, ask direct questions and keep pushing til you get an acceptable response.
That's a good point ToL about learning how to ask the right questions.
I also don't think it is the supervisor's responsibility to ensure the student has no omissions in their work or to even tell the student about them. I always saw it as my responsibility to find out what was expected from talking to other students etc. and researching online. I know some supervisors are very hands on but making that an expectation is risking the student abdicating some personal responsibility and ending up in this situation. The student is therefore wasting time and energy trying to figure out how they can apportion blame to their supervisor when really they need to be focussing on what they need to do to recover the situation. IMO that latter action is what separates a good researcher from the rest of the flock.
Thanks very much for your replies and advice, very much appreciated. I perhaps did not word my concern very well, I am not looking to apportion blame as such-that is unprofessional and achieves nothing, I know-it is more to understand if this was entirely down to my mistake, as if so I may consider withdrawing as it could indicate a Phd is not for me.
Something has gone very badly wrong if I thought I was doing OK all year only to find out this was not the case. I need to get to the bottom of why it went so wrong so I can address things and rectify them, in a discussion with my sup, and also to prevent such a situation occurring again.
pm133- in my institution we need to report preliminary analysis of data in order to pass, that's the rule. There MUST be some analysis and interpretation. I provided that, but I did make a now obvious very silly error and I have to 'put my hands up to that'.
I have been given some specific things to do to rectify the error, in preparation for a re-viva and then hopefully a pass and progress onto the next year. So all is not lost and I have certainly learned a valuble lesson, including, as Treeof life said, asking the right questions and standing up for myself to ensure I am given the guidance I need and am entitled to.
Thank you all once again for your input, its been very helpful. This is a such a useful forum, I'm so glad I found it. Thanks!
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