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Saturday, 25 June 2016

A blog post by James Hayton in his own blog - JamesHaytonPhD dot com. It was published in September 15, 2015

James Hayton Lecturing at the University of Edinburgh, February 2013
Source (James Hayton PhD)
By far, the most common cause of PhD failure (or extreme difficulty) I have seen is isolation and a lack of feedback from other academics.

Often, this is because a student is working remotely, but the problem can be compounded by the student thinking, “I can’t contact my supervisor until I have something to show.”

This is understandable—nobody wants to send an email saying they’ve achieved nothing in the last three months—but the more time passes, the harder it becomes.

An example

Let’s say, for whatever reason, you are unable to work for a whole month, you have two options with regards to what you tell your supervisor. You can just tell them you have fallen behind, or you can say nothing and wait until you’ve caught up with where you should be. The second option means you can avoid a potentially awkward conversation, but it also places you under a much higher burden of expectation.

Another month passes, but you haven’t yet caught up with where you should have been after that first month (perhaps because you under-estimated how long that piece of work would take). It’s now been two months, so you want to produce even more before you say anything. (Read More)

Follow James Hayton on Twitter at @jameshaytonphd

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