I’m a PhD student. A professor that I collaborate with (not from my university) asked me on two separate occasions to help with grants that were due in a week. In both cases I managed to squeeze out 20 hours to help him, and he paid me out of his own pocket (not using grant funds).

How can I tactfully ask the professor to bring requests to me earlier in the future? I guess one way is to simply decline future requests that I cannot handle. But I want to preserve goodwill when possible – I could quote him an insane hourly rate if he again approaches me at the last minute, but some people might view that as me taking advantage of the situation, even though it’s not my fault that he approached me so late. (The rumor mill can always turn white into black.) The best solution, in my opinion, is to successfully persuade him to approach me early.

I am a PhD student who works in theory. Too many times, I have to defend my ideas or claims in front of my supervisor. I have failed to do so in the past and it worries me.
Please note that I am only interested in defending correct ideas, not wrong ones.

Some of the things I have tried are:

  • Doubt every line which I read.
  • Try to prove each term clearly in front of him.
  • Go over the material at least two times.

These kind of things are not working.

My research supervisor has told me that I need to defend my ideas and claims. There have been many times where he asked me to change something about the idea; I did it; and then he asked me why I changed it.

Question: How to defend your correct ideas or claims in front of your supervisor?

Edit : Many times I have tried to defend a wrong idea and there were some times in which I have changed my right idea ( based upon his feedback) and after I changed my idea he told me “your original idea was right, why did you change it?”. How to deal with this situation also?

I am a computer-science PhD student. I like to work on things and I enjoy doing computer science. But here is a problem: I am not that much into debates. When I meet with my supervisor, he asks me some questions and I try to answer those. I don’t go into debates on the research questions. I like to do research independently, also in a collaboration, but only to a small extent. Many of my friends ask me to enter into debates, but I don’t like it much. I like mostly objective sorts of questions. I like subjective questions also, but to a small extent.

Question: Is it possible for non-debating person to survive in research?

I am a PhD student who works in a theoretical field. Often times, I have discussions with my research supervisor, and I try to do as much work as possible.

It seems that many times these days my research supervisor does not seem happy with my performance. He often doesn’t seem satisfied, judging from his facial expression and body language, but when I ask him, he just says ok. Most times, I leave the meetings in illusion (meeting was good or bad). I feel pressure due to these things. I don’t know if it is a common thing in academia or not.

Question: How to deal with the (hidden) feedback from a research supervisor? This is constantly creating pressure on me.

There is a difference between feedback and hidden feedback. For explicit feedback, we can ask the supervisor once in a month or something like this.

I am a computer-science PhD student. I like to work on things and I enjoy doing computer science. But here is a problem: I am not that much into debates. When I meet with my supervisor, he asks me some questions and I try to answer those. I don’t go into debates on the research questions. I like to do research independently, also in a collaboration but only to a small extent. Many of my friends ask me to enter into debates but I don’t like it much. I like mostly objective sorts of questions. I like subjective questions also but to a small extent.

Question: Is it possible for non-debating person to survive in a research?

I recently sent a thank you note to one of my college professors via email and never got a reply from her. I have not heard from her in a week and being that she is retired I would have thought that as a courtesy, she could have replied to my email (i.e. thank you for your kind words). Is it normal for retired professors to not reply to these sorts of emails?

I have one problem. I have regular meetings with my research supervisor, but during the discussions he takes me in the wrong direction. This often leads to him coming to the wrong conclusions about my work.

For example, he will read half of a statement and try to conclude something (wrong) from that half statement. I try to correct him but he doesn’t listen. So far I have not seen any benefits for my research. How can I deal with this situtation? I know it is research and some times we need to go in the wrong direction.

When needing to ask a professor about something important and potentially delicate, what is an appropriate way to phrase the question or write the email?

Examples include:

  • Requesting a recommendation letter
  • Asking for exceptions to policy (e.g., ignoring a course prerequisite, rescheduling an exam)
  • Asking if you can do research with them, join a group, get into a program
  • Scheduling a meeting, exam, or defense
  • Letting them know about a change of plans
  • Letting them know about a life event affecting your work or studies (e.g., wedding, funeral, sickness, vacation)

Recently I received contact info for a professor close to me, with similar interests (Professor B), from another professor I have a long-standing working relationship with (Professor A).

I spoke with her at the beginning of the month, and had what I thought to be a great call. She expressed interest in having me work with her on an upcoming grant remotely, in preparation for applying to her graduate program in the upcoming application cycle. We ended the call with the decision to have me touch base with her in a week, when she would know more about her grant.

The next week, I sent her an email to follow-up, and set up a call to talk more about the project and set up time to visit her lab (something we discussed on the call. No response for one week.

I sent another email, and received a one sentence response: “Things are hectic now, please touch base in a few days”. I waited 4 days and sent another short message. It has now been a few days and I still haven’t gotten a response.

What are my best next steps? Should I write this lead off, and not bother sending anymore emails if I don’t hear back?

EDIT: That is to say, how long should I wait for a response before reaching out again? I don’t want to be bothersome, but I also don’t want too much time to elapse and this project to possibly be scrapped or forgotten.

I also have the option of going to Professor A and starting some work on the project while Professor B is otherwise occupied. But at the same time, I don’t want to seem like I’m “going around” or otherwise excluding Professor B.

Recently I received contact info for a professor close to me, with similar interests (Professor B), from another professor I have a long-standing working relationship with (Professor A).

I spoke with her at the beginning of the month, and had what I thought to be a great call. She expressed interest in having me work with her on an upcoming grant remotely, in preparation for applying to her graduate program in the upcoming application cycle. We ended the call with the decision to have me touch base with her in a week, when she would know more about her grant.

The next week, I sent her an email to follow-up, and set up a call to talk more about the project and set up time to visit her lab (something we discussed on the call. No response for one week.

I sent another email, and received a one sentence response: “Things are hectic now, please touch base in a few days”. I waited 4 days and sent another short message. It has now been a few days and I still haven’t gotten a response.

What are my best next steps? Should I write this lead off, and not bother sending anymore emails if I don’t hear back?

EDIT: That is to say, how long should I wait for a response before reaching out again? I don’t want to be bothersome, but I also don’t want too much time to elapse and this project to possibly be scrapped or forgotten.

I also have the option of going to Professor A and starting some work on the project while Professor B is otherwise occupied. But at the same time, I don’t want to seem like I’m “going around” or otherwise excluding Professor B.