Here are some questions that my current and previous students had and have asked me before, so I hope that there will be no student to ask these questions again.
a) Can you give me a list of reading materials to read?
If you take a course that I teach, you may find the list of reading materials and references in the course information. It is a lot and I expect you to find ALL the reading materials on your own.
If you are a research student, the ability to find a list of references on your own IS necessary. It shows you are an independent researcher. Relying on me as the supervisor to find, accumulate and list references for you shows that I do not trust you to be independent enough to find your own references. This is insulting. You do not want me to insult you indirectly, don’t you?
b) Can you teach me how to write a few sentences as examples of how to write my proposal?
I have taught and teach secondary students how to write an essay. Do not insult your intelligence by asking me to treat you like a secondary school student. You are an adult learner and tertiary level student. You do not need me to write sentences for you.
c) Can you proofread my proposal?
Proofreading is difficult. It is time-intensive. I spend so much time editing my own work that the last thing I need is to edit the work of my students. As your supervisor, unless you pay me to edit your work, I do not proofread. But I do not need a side income of proofreading at this moment. So, I do not take any proofreading job.
d) What will you do if I do not submit any writing to you for one whole semester because ……………. (fill in the blank)?
My style of supervision is simple. If students do not submit any writing for one whole semester, I will write a report as it is. I will not sugar coat saying students have what it takes to be independent yada yada yada. Students will be surprise how honest I can be in this sense.
e) Will you remind me deadlines etc.?
I have my own deadlines to meet. Reminding students about their deadlines is not my priority. Students should be responsible and accountable in meeting deadlines of their own assignments/proposal etc. Normally, the relevant offices will send notification to students. Students should be aware about it.
e) Is it compulsory for me to present my proposal (proposal defense)?
As a student, you should be aware of your program’s requirements. You do not need me to remind you of the requirements of your programme; as the student, you should already be aware of what is necessary to complete your studies.
f) When can I know the schedule for the research proposal defense?
You should submit your proposal for evaluation prior to receiving the proposal defense schedule (date, time, and location). The schedule cannot be implemented if you have not even completed writing chapter 1 (there are 3 required chapters for the proposal). It will remain in your thoughts/plans/dreams. I believe that students require their own learning time and space. Some students may require more time than others to learn or complete tasks such as writing proposals, etc. Even though there is a monetary incentive for “Graduate on time or GOT” blah blah blah, I couldn’t care less.
g) Where can I find information about research proposal defense?
Just google it. Type, “Research proposal defense FSSH UTM“. Or you can use any other key words that you can think of. This information searching is straight forward. You do not need a supervisor to be the fact finder for you. This shows that you are not independent to find information on your own relating to your own study.
h) What are the requirements for my program?
As a post graduate student, you can find the requirements of your program from the faculty’s website. There is also a briefing given by the administrator every semester (normally) for postgraduate students. If you miss that briefing, it is not your supervisor’s problem. Really.
P.S: If a student asks me similar questions, I will be sure to make a note of them while preparing the progress report. I never asked my former supervisor about the above questions because I can find those information myself as an independent researcher. Capisc?