Donts with supervisors -5 things you must avoid doing with your Research Supervisor

There are lots of stuff going on out there, especially among supervisors and supervisees. Are you aware of the donts with supervisors? Despite all I’ve tried to teach you, I can’t believe you are still doing Number 5.

Let no one lie to you, your academic/research project, thesis or dissertation supervisor have a lot to do with the quality of your work as well as the success rate in terms of completion. This is why it is important for you to maintain a good and healthy student-supervisor relationship. For this to happen there are things you should do, and those you shouldn’t do with your supervisor. Here they include;

  1. Understand what interest your supervisor: writing a good research project, thesis or dissertation can be very demanding and takes a lot from the writer and the supervisor who does the corrections. So, understanding what interest your supervisor in terms of research and writing styles could help remove some of the hurdles you are most likely to encounter. Because when your research work falls in line with the interest of your supervisor, he/she is better able to provide you with a useful guide. The supervisor may even become more passionate to read your work and see that the work is completed within a reasonable time.
  2. Do not argue with your supervisor if he/she is not open to discussion: Nobody wants to feel intimidated or disrespected, this is basically why your academic supervisor might be the last person you should plan to go into an argument with. Yes, it is not impossible for you and your academic supervisor to have varying opinions on a given subject, but it is important even though you are convinced that you have a better argument, that you present your argument in a very logical and professional manner, so not to try to hurt the pride of your supervisor. Avoid engaging in empty arguments, or to argue on unverified or wrong facts. Even when you are right, and you notice that your supervisor is not open for discussion at the moment, do not push for it, you could let the issue die for the moment and then bring it up again at a better time, when your supervisor is at a better place for reasoning. The worst thing to do here is to miss an appointment with your supervisor without even making a good case for your action. That’s really a terrible thing to do and may negatively shape the nature of your relationship with your academic supervisor.
  3. Do not try to show your supervisor that you are smarter than him/her: embrace honesty in all your dealings with your supervisor. When you are instructed to do something, do not try to cut corners, or to capitalize on assumptions or your supervisors’ forgetfulness. If you are required to go to the field to collect data, do not go to your house and manufacture data and present it to your supervisor, by doing so, you are making a fool out of your supervisor, and if unfortunately you are caught, that could put a strain on the trust level existing between you and your supervisors, it also raises questions on your integrity as a student and a researcher.
  4. Do not be late to appointments and meetings: in higher institutions, the workload for academic staff is often enormous. In addition to dealing with a large class, they are also obligated to guide students in their final years in wiring their projects, thesis and dissertation. You have to know that your academic supervisor’s time is very precious as he/her may not have all the time in the world to spend on you. It, therefore, becomes important that you make judicious use of the little time your supervisor has mapped out for you.
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Additionally, some cultures view lateness to an appointment as an open disrespect to the other parties. Particularly, the lateness to any appointment is greatly frowned upon by the Japanese people. So, when you come late to an appointment you are indirectly telling your supervisor that his/her time means nothing to you and that you don’t mind keeping them waiting.

It is therefore important that you do not give your supervisor the impression that the work is more important to him/her than it is to you. If you must be late, try to inform your supervisor on time, and provide full details on the reason you would be late for an appointment. Ensure that sure reason is a cogent one and not frivolous reasons.

5. Do not go in half-naked: half-naked!! Yes, you read that correctly, but not in the sense you are taking it. You are going half-naked when you have not done the following

  1. When you have not understood the rudiments of your research topic
  2. When you do not have evidence-based proof to justify your research interest
  3. When you smile and laugh at everything, even where you are supposed to raise valid arguments, you just keep smiling like a fool! When you have a point, kindly prove it respectfully to your supervisor
  4. When you clearly have no idea how you intend to achieve the objectives you have set out to achieve or to answer the research questions you have raised in your proposal.
  5. When there is too much oversight, typos and grammatical errors in your work
  6. When you have not affected the changes that your supervisor asked you to put in place in the previous meeting
  7. When you bring along the wrong copies of your work instead of the right copies.
  8. When the beeps from your phone keep interrupting the ongoing session between you and your supervisor
  9. When you are physically presented and absent-minded in the meeting between you and your academic supervisor.
  10. Remember you are addressed as you dress, hence, always go to every appointment with the right clothes and mindset. Moderation should be observed in terms of dressing, do not be overdressed or under-dressed.

Always try to get yourself prepared for every meeting. No matter how intelligent and smart you may be, remember that the successful completion of your project work, thesis or dissertation requires a collaborative effort between you and your supervisor.

You can also come back here for more quality tips on how to build a good working relationship with your supervisor (s) no matter their personality type, or your personality type.

Do you have a question or comment, please use the comment section.

We provide Virtual Supervision Services should you need extra eye or directives on what is expected in your research work.

A lot of your friends will need this information, please do well to share with them.


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