Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Hooking your supervisors

What must I do to finish my PhD?
  • project manage
  • balance time and money
  • cope with life
  • manage the data I have
  • learn skills
Supervisors help by guiding, approving (e.g. conferences), and mainly advising on writing (I think). There are books available, like Rowena Murray's. Your university supports you by providing details of processes and what you and your supervisors can expect in a PhD Student Handbook. A Google search reveals lots of handbooks from lots of universities. A Google search "difficulties with supervisors" reveals plenty of advice. Advice to supervisors can also be helpful to students; I like this page at Oxford.

I wonder what hidden agendas supervisors have
  • to cover their backs if something goes wrong
  • not give too much help (but see PhD Comics early Nov 2009)
  • join you in writing papers in the longer term relationship
At a recent seminar on managing your supervisor, the advice was to shape your relationship with your supervisors, find a hook to engage them. Initially the metaphor appealled, but then I thought of nasty fish hooks like in the anti smoking ads here, and pirate hooks and hooking kicks in tae kwon do. Boxing uses hooks here. So I'm looking for a different metaphor. Anyone got one?

MURRAY, R. (2002) How to write a thesis, Buckingham ; Philadelphia, Open University Press.

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