How to Choose PhD Supervisor? 6 Key Things to Consider!


HOW TO CHOOSE YOUR PHD RESEARCH SUPERVISOR, WHAT ARE THE THINGS THAT WE HAVE TO TAKE INTO CONSIDERATION RESEARCH TOPIC METHODOLOGY PERSONALITY, WHAT ELSE IS THERE? WELL TODAY LET’S TALK ABOUT A FEW KEY CONSIDERATIONS REGARDING HOW TO CHOOSE YOUR RESEARCH SUPERVISOR PHD SUPERVISORS ARE ALSO SOMETIMES CALLED DOCTORAL ADVISOR A RESEARCH SUPERVISOR OR DISSERTATION ADVISOR OR WHATEVER NAMES YOUR UNIVERSITY MIGHT USE A PHD PROJECT TYPICALLY TAKES BETWEEN THREE TO SIX YEARS SO YOU’LL BE WORKING WITH YOUR SUPERVISOR FOR QUITE A LONG TIME SO IT MAKES SENSE TO THINK ABOUT HOW TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT ONE I WILL COVER SOME PRETTY OBVIOUS AND COMMON SENSICAL FACTORS AS WELL AS SOME SEEMINGLY POLITICALLY INCORRECT FACTORS BUT WHICH I BELIEVE ARE RELEVANT AGAIN A QUICK DISCLAIMER HERE PHD PROGRAMS CAN BE VERY DIFFERENT DIFFERENT UNIVERSITIES DO THINGS DIFFERENTLY, TOO SO WHAT I TALK ABOUT IN THIS VIDEO IS JUST GENERAL INFORMATION THEY ARE BASED ON MY EXPERIENCES AND EXPERIENCES OF MY FRIENDS AND COLLEAGUES. THESE ARE NOT LEGAL ADVICE AND EVERYTHING I’M PRESENTING THIS VIDEO IS JUST FOR YOUR VIEWING PLEASURE AND POTENTIAL CONSIDERATION SO FACTOR NUMBER ONE AND THIS IS AN OBVIOUS ONE LOOK UP AND READ THE PUBLICATIONS OF THE SUPERVISOR YOU ARE INTERESTED IN SO THAT YOU CAN BE SURE THAT HE OR SHE IS INDEED A PROPER ACADEMIC THIS IS OF COURSE ASSUMING THAT YOU DO WANT TO DO A SERIOUS AND PROPER PHD IN A PROPER UNIVERSITY LOOK IF ALL YOU WANT IS JUST THE DEGREE. I MEAN YOU CAN PURCHASE ONE PRETTY CHEAPLY SO MAYBE YOU SHOULD GO AHEAD AND DO THAT JUST PURCHASE A DEGREE ONLINE THAT WILL SAVE YOU FIVE YEARS OF WORK BUT IF YOU WANT TO DO A PROPER PHD WITH A PROPER SUPERVISOR AT A REPUTABLE UNIVERSITY THEN YOU SHOULD READ THE RESEARCH PAPERS THAT THIS POTENTIAL SUPERVISOR HAS PUBLISHED SO THAT YOU CAN SEE IF HE OR SHE IS INDEED A REAL EXPERT IN THE FIELD FACTOR NUMBER TWO BE WILLING TO BE A LITTLE BIT FLEXIBLE WITH A RESEARCH TOPIC IF YOU ARE STARTING WITH YOUR PHD PROCESS PROBABLY YOU ALREADY HAVE A TOPIC THAT YOU’RE INTERESTED IN SOMETIMES IT IS DIFFICULT TO PERFECTLY ALIGN THIS TOPIC WITH THE SUPERVISORS INTERESTS SO THE POTENTIAL SUPERVISOR MIGHT ACTUALLY ASK YOU TO TWEAK OR ADJUST YOUR TOPIC A LITTLE BIT OR PERHAPS THE SUPERVISOR’S PUBLISHED RESEARCH THEME IS SIMILAR TO YOUR TOPIC, BUT IT IS A LITTLE BIT DIFFERENT SO MY PERSONAL SUGGESTION HERE IS THIS BE WILLING TO SHOW A LITTLE BIT OF FLEXIBILITY WHEN IT COMES TO THE RESEARCH TOPIC THERE ARE TWO MAIN REASONS FOR THIS FIRST IF YOU REALLY LIKE THE SUPERVISOR IF YOUR PERSONALITIES FIT IF YOUR WORKING STYLES FIT OTHER CIRCUMSTANCES FIT VERY WELL BOTH THE UNIVERSITY AND THE FACULTY ARE HIGHLY REPUTABLE AND HIGHLY RANKED THEN BE A LITTLE BIT FLEXIBLE WHEN IT COMES TO THE RESEARCH TOPIC THE FACT OF THE MATTER IS THERE ARE SO MANY DIFFERENT VARIABLES WHICH SHOULD FACTOR INTO OUR DECISION WHEN IT COMES TO CHOOSING THE RESEARCH SUPERVISOR AND THE RESEARCH TOPIC IS JUST ONE OF THOSE VARIABLES THERE ARE OTHER IMPORTANT FACTORS TO CONSIDER AND THE OTHER REASON WHY I AM ADVOCATING A LITTLE BIT OF FLEXIBILITY WHEN IT COMES TO THE RESEARCH TOPIC IS THIS YOU WILL BE WORKING ON THIS TOPIC FOR THE NEXT FOUR FIVE OR SIX YEARS SO NO MATTER HOW INTERESTING YOU THINK YOUR TOPIC IS RIGHT NOW THAT WILL PROBABLY CHANGE NO MATTER HOW PERFECT OR EXCITING OR EXTREMELY INTERESTING YOU THINK YOUR TOPIC IS RIGHT NOW BUT IF YOU WORK ON IT CONTINUOUSLY FOR YEARS ON END THAT WILL PROBABLY CHANGE IT JUST BECOMES YOUR WORK AND ALL THAT EXCITEMENT AND PASSION AND ENTHUSIASM AND HOW SIGNIFICANT AND IMPORTANT AND INSPIRATIONAL THIS TOPIC IS THESE THINGS WOULD JUST GRADUALLY FIZZLE OUT SO DON’T GET TOO HUNG UP ON YOUR PERFECTLY DEFINED RESEARCH TOPIC BE WILLING TO ADJUST IT AND LET US KEEP IN MIND THAT THE RESEARCH TOPIC IS JUST ONE OF THE VARIABLES THAT SHOULD FACTOR INTO OUR FINAL DECISION AS TO WHERE AND WITH WHOM WE SHOULD DO OUR DOCTORAL RESEARCH FACTOR NUMBER THREE RESEARCH METHODOLOGICAL FIT YOU MIGHT SAY HEY YOU ALREADY SUGGESTED THAT WE SHOULD BE FLEXIBLE WHEN IT COMES TO OUR RESEARCH TOPIC SO PROBABLY YOU ARE ALSO SUGGESTING WE SHOULD BE FLEXIBLE WHEN IT COMES TO RESEARCH METHODOLOGY WELL, I WOULD SAY IF YOU COULD BE FLEXIBLE WITH YOUR RESEARCH METHODOLOGY. THAT’S GREAT BUT MY PERSONAL EXPERIENCES HAVE BEEN IT IS RELATIVELY EASY TO ADJUST THE RESEARCH TOPICS BECAUSE REALLY THERE ARE SO MANY INTERESTING TOPICS ON WHICH YOU CAN DO RESEARCH THE RESEARCH METHODOLOGY ESPECIALLY IF WE’RE TALKING ABOUT A DOCTORAL RESEARCH PROJECT. WELL THAT MIGHT BE QUITE DIFFICULT TO CHANGE SUBSTANTIALLY I MEAN ONE CAN PROBABLY MAKE SOME SMALL ADJUSTMENTS BUT IT IS HARD TO CHANGE THE WHOLE METHODOLOGY THIS IS BECAUSE DIFFERENCES IN RESEARCH METHODOLOGICAL APPROACHES ARE OFTEN ASSOCIATED WITH DIFFERENCES IN PEOPLE’S ONTOLOGICAL AND EPISTEMOLOGICAL BELIEFS, SO IF YOU WERE TO SAY TO A QUALITATIVE RESEARCHER WHO GENUINELY SUBSCRIBES TO CONSTRUCTIVISM AND ASK HIM OR HER TO DO A COMPLETELY QUANTITATIVE DOCTORAL RESEARCH PROJECT WELL THAT MIGHT NOT BE SO EASY AND THE THE WAY AROUND AND THIS IS NOT EVEN TAKING INTO ACCOUNT OF NECESSARY TRAINING THAT IS NEEDED FOR A PERSON TO APPLY A DIFFERENT RESEARCH METHODOLOGY THAN THE ONE THAT HE OR SHE IS USED TO OR TRAINED FOR AND THAT IS WHY IF YOU ARE A PHD STUDENT LOOKING FOR A SUPERVISOR IT IS RATHER IMPORTANT TO BE SURE THAT YOUR PREFERRED RESEARCH METHODOLOGICAL APPROACH AND YOUR SUPERVISORS PREFERRED RESEARCH METHODOLOGICAL APPROACH ACTUALLY FIT FACTOR NUMBER FOUR CHEMISTRY CONSIDERING THE FACT THAT YOU AND YOUR SUPERVISOR WILL BE WORKING QUITE CLOSELY TOGETHER FOR A NUMBER OF YEARS IT IS IMPORTANT THAT THERE IS A GOOD RELATIONSHIP AND HOW TO BUILD A GOOD RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR SUPERVISOR IS SOMETHING THAT I MIGHT COVER IN A FUTURE VIDEO, BUT FOR NOW LET’S JUST SAY THIS WHEN WE ARE LOOKING FOR OR CHOOSING A SUPERVISOR IT IS ACTUALLY VERY HELPFUL TO THE BUILDING OF THAT GOOD RELATIONSHIP IN THE FUTURE IF THERE IS GOOD CHEMISTRY BETWEEN YOU AND THIS PERSON SO WHEN YOU AND THIS POTENTIAL SUPERVISOR MEET FOR THE FIRST TIME DO YOU FEEL COMFORTABLE WITH THIS PERSON? AND DO YOU THINK THIS PERSON IS COMFORTABLE WITH YOU? DO YOU FEEL LIKE THAT THIS IS SOMEBODY WITH WHOM YOU CAN WORK FOR A NUMBER OF YEARS TO COME IF YOU’RE LOOKING FOR A PHD SUPERVISOR IF YOU ARE STARTING WITH A PHD PROJECT. IT MEANS YOU ALREADY HAVE A MASTER’S DEGREE. IT MEANS YOU ARE ALREADY HIGHLY EDUCATED IT MEANS YOU ARE ALREADY A HIGHLY INTELLIGENT PERSON SO LISTEN TO YOUR INSTINCTS FIRST IMPRESSIONS COULD BE WRONG BUT FIRST IMPRESSIONS ARE ALSO VERY POWERFUL AND EVEN INFLUENTIAL FOR BUILDING FUTURE RELATIONSHIPS AND I DON’T MIND TELLING YOU A LITTLE BIT ABOUT MY PERSONAL EXPERIENCES WHEN I WAS STARTING MY PHD QUITE SOME YEARS AGO WHEN I WAS MEETING WITH DIFFERENT SUPERVISORS AND PROFESSORS FROM DIFFERENT UNIVERSITIES THE PROFESSOR WITH WHOM EVENTUALLY I HAD A PLEASURE TO COLLABORATE WITH WITH SOMEBODY WHO MADE ME FEEL VERY GOOD WE HAD A COUPLE OF INITIAL MEETINGS TALKING ABOUT THE RESEARCH PROJECT AND DISCUSSING DIFFERENT ISSUES REGARDING THE PROJECT AND HE SIMPLY MADE ME FEEL VERY COMFORTABLE. HE ALSO MADE ME FEEL VERY CONFIDENT ABOUT MYSELF AND THE PROJECT. HE WAS NOT INTIMIDATING HE DIDN’T MAKE ME FEEL INADEQUATE OR INSECURE EVEN THOUGH HE WAS A GREAT ACADEMIC IN HIS OWN RIGHT AND EVERY TIME WE MET THE INTERACTION GAVE ME CONFIDENCE AND MOTIVATION INSTEAD OF TAKING THEM AWAY SO I REALLY LIKED HIM AND THIS GOOD CHEMISTRY MEANT WHEN DURING THE PHD PROJECT WHEN WE HAD DIFFICULTIES OR DIFFERENCES OF OPINIONS THOSE PROBLEMS WERE RELATIVELY EASY TO MANAGE OR RESOLVE BECAUSE WE HAD A GOOD RELATIONSHIP BECAUSE THERE WAS A GOOD FOUNDATION ON THE BASIS OF WHICH PROBLEMS COULD BE WORKED OUT AND THAT IS WHY I BELIEVE GOOD CHEMISTRY MATTERS A GOOD RELATIONSHIP MATTERS NUMBER FIVE THERE ARE SOME SEEMINGLY POLITICALLY INCORRECT FACTORS THAT WE ARE NOT SUPPOSED TO THINK ABOUT OR TALK ABOUT BUT THEY ARE PROBABLY RELEVANT IN SOME WAY AND HERE I WILL BE VERY CAREFUL DISCUSSING THESE THINGS BECAUSE I DO NOT WANT PEOPLE TO ACCUSE ME OF BEING BIASED PREJUDICED AND DISCRIMINATORY FOR EXAMPLE I WOULD NEVER SAY THAT YOU SHOULDN’T WORK WITH AN OLDER PROFESSOR BECAUSE THAT WOULD BE AGEIST AND DISCRIMINATORY. SO LET’S DO THIS HYPOTHETICAL INSTEAD. LET’S SAY HYPOTHETICALLY YOU KNOW THAT YOUR PHD IS GOING TO BE THREE AND A HALF YEARS AND THE PROFESSOR YOU HAVE CHOSEN TO WORK WITH WILL ONLY RETIRE IN FOUR OR FOUR AND A HALF YEARS, SO THERE SHOULD BE NO PROBLEM THE TIME SHOULD FIT HOWEVER, DURING YOUR PHD DUE TO WHATEVER REASON YOUR PROJECT GETS DELAYED MAYBE THERE’S SOMETHING WRONG WITH THE DATA ANALYSIS OR PERHAPS A PARTICULAR DATA SET NEEDS TO BE RECOLLECTED. WHATEVER IT IS BUT THERE IS THE DELAY AND BECAUSE OF THAT ULTIMATELY, YOU END UP FINISHING HER PHD IN FIVE AND A HALF YEARS INSTEAD OF THREE AND A HALF YEARS SO THIS WOULD MEAN THAT YOU WILL NEED TO HAVE A NEW SUPERVISOR FOR THAT CRUCIAL LAST YEAR RIGHT BEFORE YOUR SUBMISSION AND DEFENSE BECAUSE YOUR INITIAL SUPERVISOR WOULD HAVE RETIRED BY THEN, OF COURSE WHEN SOMETHING LIKE THIS HAPPENS THE UNIVERSITY WOULD HAVE DIFFERENT KINDS OF REMEDIES FOR YOU PERHAPS YOUR SECOND SUPERVISOR WOULD SIMPLY BECOME YOUR FIRST SUPERVISOR OR MAYBE A NEW SUPERVISOR WOULD BE ASSIGNED TO YOU OR PERHAPS THE DEPARTMENT HEAD WOULD TAKE THINGS OVER UNTIL YOU FINISH BUT WHEN THESE THINGS HAPPEN, WHATEVER SOLUTION THE UNIVERSITY MIGHT COME UP FOR YOU USUALLY IT IS NOT VERY NICE FOR THE PHD STUDENT I HAD FRIENDS WHO HAD TO SWITCH PHD SUPERVISORS HALFWAY THEIR PROJECT AND WHEN THAT HAPPENED WELL, LIKE I SAID, THAT WASN’T VERY NICE SO MY POINT IS THIS IT WILL BE WRONG FOR ANYONE TO BE AGEIST AND IN MY LITTLE EXAMPLE THERE THE ISSUE WAS NOT ABOUT THAT AGE OF THE SUPERVISOR PER SE IT WAS ABOUT THIS PERSON’S ABILITY TO SEE YOUR PROJECT THROUGH OBVIOUSLY WE SHOULDN’T DISCRIMINATE BASED ON THE PERSON’S AGE GENDER RELIGION SEXUAL ORIENTATION ETHNICITY, ETC. ETC. WE SHOULD LOOK BEYOND THESE SURFACE LEVEL FACTORS AND TRY TO TAP INTO DEEPER LEVEL INDICATORS AS TO WHETHER OR NOT A POTENTIAL SUPERVISOR IS GOING TO FIT WITH OURSELVES WHEN WE CHOOSE AND SELECT RESEARCH SUPERVISORS NUMBER SIX TALK TO SOCIALLY RELEVANT OTHERS AND BY THIS I MEAN IF YOU’RE INTERESTED IN A PARTICULAR PROFESSOR TO BE YOUR SUPERVISOR TALK TO PEOPLE WHO KNOW THAT PERSON PEOPLE WHO HAVE WORKED WITH HIM OR HER OR STUDENTS WHOM THIS PERSON IS CURRENTLY SUPERVISING OR HAS RECENTLY SUPERVISED AGAIN WHEN I WAS LOOKING FOR A PHD SUPERVISOR MYSELF AND ESPECIALLY ABOUT THE ONES WHOM I WAS QUITE INTERESTED IN I SPOKE WITH HER COLLEAGUES STUDENTS OR FORMER STUDENTS. BASICALLY WHOEVER WAS WILLING TO TALK WITH ME I SPOKE WITH THEM BECAUSE I WANTED TO KNOW WHAT THIS PROFESSOR WAS LIKE DO PEOPLE LIKE HIM WHAT DOES HE DO EXACTLY IN THE FACULTY? HOW BUSY IS HE? WILL HE HAVE TIME FOR ME AND MY PROJECT WHAT’S HIS REPUTATION LIKE IT IS IMPORTANT TO NOTE HERE WE SHOULDN’T NECESSARILY BELIEVE EVERYTHING THAT WE HEAR WE SHOULD TAKE EVERYTHING THAT THESE PEOPLE TELL US WITH A GRAIN OF SALT AND THIS IS NOT BECAUSE THESE PEOPLE MIGHT BE TRYING TO MISLEAD YOU OR LIE TO YOU IT IS SIMPLY BECAUSE PEOPLE ARE DIFFERENT AND PEOPLE’S OPINIONS ARE SUBJECTIVE BUT EVEN THEN I DO THINK IT IS USEFUL TO TALK TO THESE SOCIALLY RELEVANT OTHERS AND HEAR WHAT THEY HAVE TO SAY ABOUT THE PROFESSOR WHOM YOU ARE INTERESTED IN PERHAPS SOME OF THE THINGS THAT THEY SAY ARE NOT A HUNDRED PERCENT ACCURATE, BUT OVERALL I WOULD STILL SAY TALKING TO THESE PEOPLE IS A GOOD IDEA AS IT MIGHT BRING YOU NEW PERSPECTIVES AND CONSIDERATIONS THAT YOU HAD NOT THOUGHT OF BEFORE FURTHERMORE THESE PEOPLE MIGHT BECOME VERY RELEVANT FOR YOU, TOO. IF YOU WERE TO START WORKING WITH THIS PARTICULAR PROFESSOR FOR EXAMPLE BY TALKING TO THE STUDENTS WHO ARE CURRENTLY UNDER THE SUPERVISION OF THIS PROFESSOR YOU GET A PRETTY GOOD SENSE AS TO WHETHER OR NOT YOU WOULD FIT INTO THAT TEAM OR DEPARTMENT SO I SAY IF YOU COULD DO A LITTLE BIT OF DETECTIVE WORK SO THESE ARE THE SIX THINGS THAT POPPED UP IN MY HEAD CONCERNING HOW TO CHOOSE A RESEARCH SUPERVISOR ULTIMATELY, IT IS ABOUT THE FIT BETWEEN YOU AND THIS SUPERVISOR FIT IN TERMS OF RESEARCH TOPICS RESEARCH METHODOLOGICAL APPROACHES PERSONALITIES WORKING STYLES COMMUNICATION STYLES AMBITION LEVELS AND A BUNCH OF OTHER FACTORS SOME OF WHICH MIGHT BE TOO POLITICALLY INCORRECT THAT I’M NOT SUPPOSED TO TALK ABOUT THEM EXPLICITLY AND LIKE I SAID IF YOU ARE STARTING WITH YOUR PHD PROCESS, IT MEANS YOU ARE ALREADY A HIGHLY EDUCATED PERSON YOU ARE ALREADY A VERY INTELLIGENT PERSON SO LISTEN TO YOUR INSTINCTS AND I WISH FOR YOU ALL THAT YOU WILL BE ABLE TO FIND A FITTING AND GOOD SUPERVISOR TO COLLABORATE WITH IN THE COMING YEARS SO DID I FORGET ANYTHING ARE THERE OTHER IMPORTANT FACTORS THAT I FORGOT TO COVER? DO YOU AGREE WITH OR DISAGREE WITH THE THINGS THAT I SAID IN THIS VIDEO LEAVE YOUR THOUGHTS AND COMMENTS DOWN BELOW AND IF YOUR COMMENT IS A GOOD ONE. THEN PEOPLE WILL LIKE IT AND UPVOTE IT AND EVERYBODY WILL SEE IT. SO LEAVE A COMMENT ALL RIGHT. THANK YOU FOR WATCHING THIS VIDEO. PLEASE LIKE AND SUBSCRIBE AND I’LL SEE YOU NEXT TIME

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