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My dissertation supervisor is always unavailable yet blames me for not using him watch

    • Thread Starter

    For my dissertation I had to run an experiment and then write it up in a psychological report.
    My dissertation supervisor was very good at setting it all up and getting a company to donate some of the stuff I needed for my experiment.

    He was useful up until I ran the experiment (In which he stayed in his office and I was working with a research assistant). Yet now, when I needed him the most he seems to be running his own experiment in his own interest field and has left me (and the other two students he has been supervising) out in the cold. He is always busy and the other two email him about things and he sometimes doesn't reply to their emails. They have to literally just turn up at his door to speak to him and even then he says he's busy and will have to arrange to see them.

    He doesn't seem to understand the urgency in getting this done as we have deadlines. I decided to do my analysis with the research assistant because he actually knew more about my experiment than my supervisor (who when I meet him ASKS what my study is about?!?!). Yet I haven't disclosed this as I don't want to get the RA into trouble.

    I realise it's not his job to help us too much however the support from him is little and far between. The dissertation draft was due in on Tuesday and I managed to get my write-up done in time because of the help I received from the RA, however the other two (who relied on the supervisor) had only just analysed their results and one didn't really understand what his results meant so couldn't get his write up completed.

    I met my supervisor today as I had to submit the draft to him and he was perplexed because I hadn't come to him for analysis help. He thought I had done it on my own so I kept quiet. He was actively looking out for faults (which is good in one sense) and then looked smug when he found something and made out it was all my fault because I never emailed him to meet him. I explained the other two had trouble meeting him so I just didn't bother and he said that they bothered so he found a way to meet them (however from the stress the other two are feeling, I feel like he doesn't seem to understand the stress he is causing and tbh I don't think they think it's good enough either).

    While I understand that getting help from the RA was wrong, I feel like my supervisor is not doing a good enough job and his putting his own research before the needs of his student. I'm largely unhappy with him and I'm worried that my overall grade will be affected because of his lack of support. I left uni crying today because of the way he made me feel and he seems to think he's doing a good job.

    I just don't know what to do. I understandably want to do well, but I feel largely unmotivated now and just feel like giving up, hes making out that I'll have loads of work to do because I didn't email him. Any Ideas?

    Sounds like this guy is unprofessional, petty and irresponsible. This could really damage your dissertation and if I were you I'd be contacting my department head to request a change of tutor. I'm sure the other two students you mentioned can back you up if needed and at the end of the day - you're paying thousands of pounds and have the right to decide if someone is damaging your chances!

    Just arrange a time to meet with him in advance, and keep emailing him if he doesn't respond. With some staff, you can't just turn up at their office and expect them to drop everything and deal with you. Some don't respond well to it and see it as bad manners, others don't like being interrupted. Some have a lot of students to supervise - staff at my uni are expected to supervise ten undergrad student dissertations each on top of Masters dissertations and PhD research, so you can imagine the chaos if each of their students just turned up unannounced needing time, help or advice.

    remember he has other aspects of his job apart from you and it's also not his job to give you mountains of assistance , this is still your project

    that said, some supervisors are just better than others, they all do things the way they want to do them, my supervisor was amazing, we always had an email response within a couple of hours, regardless of whether it was long, non urgent, anything... and he was flexible on meetings and we had a weekly meeting with him but other people had virtually no input at all from supervisors

    he has a point that you should have got in touch and tried, you can't exactly complain that he's unavailable if you haven't attempted to contact him yet


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