Friday, 1 June 2012

Supervision: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly?

Found this excellent article in the New Scientist about how to chose a good PhD supervisor..HERE

'Your supervisor will be a mentor, friend, confidante, adviser and also a voice of reason, so make sure it's a voice you'll want to hear. "Over the course of three years, it's crucial to have someone who can encourage you when your experiments fall flat, challenge you when you become cocky and help steer you towards successfully submitting your thesis," says broadcaster and writer Simon Singh, who did a PhD in particle physics at the University of Cambridge.'
The main points....
Shared interests are the building blocks of your relationship
A good supervisor says all the right things
Choose a supervisor who excites you
Supervisors can be stereotyped - pick your favourite
Personal chemistry is important
See a variety of people
Keep channels of communication free from static
Prepare to take the reins
HERE on the other hand are rules for bad supervision....main points
Rule 1: Be inaccessible. 
Rule 2: Don’t return written work because you are “too busy” to read it. 
Rule 3: Humiliate and belittle your students with savage, brutal and unfair criticism.
Rule 4: A somewhat different tactic employed successfully by some bad supervisors is to
treat their PhD students as unpaid research assistants.
Rule 5: Offer bad advice. Bad advice can take a number of forms.
1. Suggest an inappropriate topic. 
2. Recommend research methods that have poor validity or reliability.
3. Recommend inappropriate statistical methods for analysing the results.
4. Allow your student to submit a thesis that is based on insufficient research.
5. Encourage your student to carry out far more work than is necessary.
6. Discourage your student from publishing prior to submission.
Rule 6: Choose bad examiners. 

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