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Surviving A Bad Thesis or Dissertation Advisor

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❶In this case, the graduate dean signed the three-page dissertation himself as a committee of one, and the three faculty members were fired.

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These advisors want the thesis or dissertation to sound like they wrote it themselves, and will endlessly correct language in the belief that they are making necessary changes. If the student knew what the advisor wanted, it would have been done right the first time. They demand that the student copy the exact format of the last several theses or dissertations the advisor chaired, whether it suits the content or not.

This behavior has one of two possible causes. Either the advisor is arrogant and egotistical and thinks his format is perfect, or the advisor is afraid to depart from a format with which he or she is familiar. In fact, I read a dissertation that had only 5 pages of textand 50 pages of pictures of the wings of dragonflies. The dissertation represented four years of research.

Such students often quit because they run out of money or time. A student I recently counseled had been allowed to propose collecting data by conducting personal interviews with over 1, elementary school teachers, one at a time. She would never have completed this task before her tenure in graduate school was terminated, yet her proposal was accepted.

They do not have the courage to tell the student that they should drop out of graduate school because they are not doing graduate-level work. When I was the graduate school editor I read an appalling dissertation from a very nice student. She had an advisor and three committee members.

Her committee member was right. The dissertation looked like the work of a seventh-grade student. I wondered how she had gotten so far in higher education, and why she had not been stopped sooner by her advisor or the other committee members.

Apparently, only one committee member had the courage to refuse her dissertation. She sued the university, but she did not get her doctoral degree. There are other bad behaviors not listed here. The sign that a student has a bad advisor is when deadlines are missed, forward progress is attenuated, and no end is in sight. Becoming a victim of the Stockholm syndrome should not be the only way to get a degree. Count the cost of a bad advisor.

They may have lived in undesirable places. They may have lost wages because they were geographically tied to the degree-granting university and unable to seek the best paying job elsewhere. They have lost years of life when they could have been doing something more enjoyable and less costly in time and money, which is why graduate students may become doormats for bad advisors.

They are afraid their entire investment will be lost if they protest their treatment. If your advisor has any one of the nine above-described characteristics, or others that are impeding your forward progress, you need to seek help. It only takes one bad behavior on the part of an advisor to make your graduate experience a nightmare. This Website and several others in the same network specialize in assisting students from the time they choose a research topic to the end of the oral defense.

The key to surviving a bad advisor, or later, a bad boss, is to develop the skills to manage upward. Graduate school is professional school, and students should act like the professionals they hope to be from the first day they set foot in the department. That means dressing well, keeping an appropriate social distance from members of the faculty, and keeping the majority of their personal lives to themselves.

Students should choose an advisor as carefully as choosing a partner in life. The student should interview graduate students a year or two ahead in the program, or better, some who have graduated who had the same prospective advisor. Those who are still in the department may not want to say anything negative about their advisor because their own degrees might be threatened if negative remarks got back to their advisor.

Some departments assign an advisor in an effort to level the work load, and the student has no choice. The bad advisors get the same number of students as everyone else, and they can hide in the numbers. Before making a choice students should go to the library and find the last two or three theses or dissertations a prospective advisor has chaired and look at the format, the depth of the statistical analysis, the length of the review of literature, and the intensity of the detail.

This should be done by every graduate student. Advisors tend to repeat themselves student after student. If a student has an advisor with any one of the bad behaviors listed previously, or another behavior that is delaying forward progress, that student should seek help immediately.

The Website you are on is part of a network of Websites designed to help graduate students and others with their writing projects, whether they have a bad advisor or not. Send him or her e-mails on a regular basis, and keep it up the entire time the thesis or dissertation is in process. Advisors like to know students are working hard and should be impressed with your enthusiasm and dedication, real or not.

When a deadline approaches, remind the advisor 4 weeks in advance, and again 2 weeks before the deadline occurs. Put a box somewhere at home and keep every scrap of paper pertaining to your graduate degree program. In particular, keep a CD copy or a hard copy of every corrected manuscript the advisor hands back. Keep all e-mails from the advisor.

These records are for the graduate dean, if needed. Keep track of how many weeks or months of work have gone into the proposal to do research, and the thesis or dissertation as a whole. The average thesis project beginning to end should not take more than one semester. The average dissertation should not take more than two semesters. If your advisor assigns tasks that are outside the thesis or dissertation process, or are personal in nature, refuse politely.

Students pay semester hours to work on their graduate degrees, and nothing else. If your advisor fails to acquaint you with a the thesis or dissertation process, including deadlines; b the need for approval for use of human subjects and what committee makes those recommendations; c graduate school editorial requirements; or d any other organizational requirements that must be met before graduating, you should track down all the information.

Then put it all in an e-mail to your advisor asking for confirmation so it is on the record. A reasonable amount of time for an advisor to hand back work is 2 weeks.

When the draft does come back, if it has been more than 2 weeks, send an e-mail to note the number of days it has taken to return the work. If your advisor riddles your work with hundreds of corrections, hire an editor to help. Never, ever, tell an advisor that an editor has been hired. Human nature will cause the advisor to find fault with the editor to prove his or her superiority. Instead, send the advisor a series of e-mails noting how much hard work you are doing, mention the major changes in the document, and note approaching deadlines.

Note that the finest editor in the world cannot stop an advisor from making changes, but an editor can improve the professionalism and correctness of your work.

If your advisor only reads a few pages, then tells you to continue through the rest of the draft with similar corrections, send it back and tell the advisor the directions were not clear and to please clarify what changes should be made in the rest of the manuscript.

It does no good to be a doormat and allow an advisor to behave badly. If your e-mail is met with further comments about following his or her directions, or there is a long delay with no word from the advisor, call and make an appointment, then present all the pages that had no corrections on them and ask how you can improve them.

At this point you may need to bring a tape recorder to your meetings with your advisor. If you reach the point where you are certain your advisor is not acting in your best interests, gather all your evidence together and go see the editor or an assistant dean of the graduate school.

In writing, request a change of advisor. In all probability, your request will be denied, but you will have activated the chain of command. That person will then call your advisor and ask for comment. Good graduate deans will monitor your progress. If you have been polite and professional from the first day of work with your advisor, you have nothing to fear. If your department head believes that there can be no amicable resolution to the problem, he or she can appoint one of the members of your committee to the role of advisor.

Remember that there are inner-departmental rivalries and friendships among faculty that you know nothing about, and you may step into fresh trouble. However, the graduate dean will be monitoring the problem, and you can return to that office again if the situation does not improve. Problems with advisors at online institutions are extremely difficult to manage. Advisors commonly work for online institutions on a part-time basis.

In fact, many online institutions require an advisor to have a full-time job elsewhere. Many such institutions are more interested in obtaining continuing semester tuition than they are in graduating students. There are no checks and balances in online institutions to help a student in trouble with an advisor. Nevertheless, a good editor can help students present a more professional and thorough thesis or dissertation, which often solves some of the problem.

Our thesis and dissertation consultants have experience assisting students throughout the thesis or dissertation process, including advisement about a choosing a research topic, b writing the proposal to do research, and c presentation of the research.

In addition, consultants can also prepare the student for the defense and comprehensive exams. This short article cannot encompass all the troubles that can occur between a graduate student and a bad advisor, nor can the writer anticipate what might be the best course of action in a given situation. The best advice for a student is to hire a professional thesis or dissertation editor who deals with graduate students on a regular basis, has sat on graduate committees, and can help make the best of a bad situation.

I took a nap after sending my paper in and wake up to a well edited final draft. After some research I found PaperTrue, found some good reviews and tried it. It is a great service on a fair price. I would come back for more: View a Sample of Our Editing and Proofreading. Our academic editors understand your particular requirements as a student. Your dissertation will be carefully proofread, and we will correct all errors in the grammar, spelling, punctuation, and typography, as well as the referencing.

In addition, your work will be edited to improve the style, sentence structure, clarity, and coherence. Our editors will also provide you with detailed feedback to help further refine your dissertation. When you submit your dissertation for evaluation, you want this document to do justice to years of hard work and extensive research. Our experts will edit your dissertation to improve the style, sentence structure, coherence, and consistency and thoroughly proofread it to remove errors in grammar, punctuation, spelling, and more.

We will take care of perfecting the referencing and formatting as well, to ensure your landmark academic work gets the appreciation it deserves. Expert editors who understand your field of study. Editing your dissertation will require language expertise as well as experience with academic work from various fields of study, and our editors are perfectly equipped for the task. We edit dissertations from diverse branches of science and technology, commerce, management, and the humanities and social sciences.

This includes fields such as engineering, medicine, law, business management, sociology, psychology and English literature, amongst others. We understand your particular requirements and area of academic inquiry. Perfect and precise referencing in a range of styles. You can concentrate on the subject matter of your dissertation, and allow us to make sure your references are accurate and perfectly formatted.

Fast, affordable, and always available to you. A single, all-inclusive fee will get you all the editing, proofreading, and formatting services your dissertation needs. To help you meet all the deadlines in your dissertation process, our academic editing and proofreading services are available to you 24 hours a day and 7 days a week.

Free revision of your edited document. In the rare event that you are not completely satisfied with your edited document, we will promptly revise the document according to your requirements, for free! Your editor will also answer questions about your edited document or recheck previously edited text, for no extra charge.

You will get full credit for your finely edited dissertation, with our strict confidentiality policy. In addition, our servers use bit SSL encryption technology so that all your information and transactions are completely secure. Our service is confidential, and you will retain full copyright control over your edited documents.

We will never collect or share your information, and all your data will be encrypted using bit SSL technology. Your documents will never be stored without your permission. Rebecca always enjoyed helping friends with their writing projects while at university. After graduating in English literature, she was happy to turn this penchant into her profession! She gained extensive experience as an academic editor — working on journal articles, PhD theses, postgraduate dissertations, and more, from diverse academic domains — before naturally progressing to the role of Senior Editor.

She loves helping students fully develop their ideas and present strong arguments, using clear and effective language. Fascinated by language, Meg studied its incredible power through her graduate and post-graduate studies in English literature.

She worked as an Academic Editor and then as a Senior Editor, before being promoted to the role of Editorial Co-ordinator. Meg loves her challenging job, although she sometimes misses editing research papers! In her free time, Meg learns and performs classical piano. Mike is a serial entrepreneur, business coach and the Founder of PaperTrue. His vision is to make impeccable English communication possible for everybody, so they can write effectively and gain the academic and professional success they deserve.

Although Mike manages diverse aspects of the business, including Marketing, Finance, Human Resources and Legal, he sees himself as essentially a "Sales guy".

He balances a laissez-faire management style with an unflinching commitment to quality and customer satisfaction. In the little time that Mike is not working towards making PaperTrue a giant in the editing industry, he enjoys meditating and piloting small Cessna aircraft.

Aster graduated in computer engineering, but later chose to build a career doing what she had always wanted: From scientific journal articles to university applications, Aster has edited a vast range of academic documents in her career, and she especially enjoys helping students frame effective research papers.

Students often appreciate her help as a native English speaker, since she makes their scientific papers sound polished and coherent.


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May 17,  · An advisor who fails to apprise a student of a) the ground rules of the department or graduate school, or b) the ground rules of their personal process for moving a student through research and writing a thesis or dissertation.

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While your advisor should be your first avenue for dissertation help, many students encounter advisors who are distant and unavailable, and don’t provide the in-depth writing feedback, dissertation editing help that students need.

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