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My hair is falling!!


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#1 noyara

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Posted 13 May 2011 - 05:05 PM

Hi,

I'll lost my hair because of stress in the lab, my supervisor is very unorganized, she order for useless kits and equipments, and give me wrong experimental design, for one and half year in master and not get real result until now!!

Is there any chance to get the degree? I DON'T THINK SO

#2 kajmak

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Posted 01 June 2011 - 03:30 AM

might seem a bit cruel, but if you learn to bypass her lack or organization you will get your degree ;)

#3 gebirgsziege

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Posted 03 June 2011 - 03:24 AM

First thing I use to tell my students is that also no results is a result - so try to look at the things you did form a different point of view first. And often your supervisor is not able to give you the larger plan of your work because you obviously will lack the background on the topic your supervisor has - so maybe your findings are exactly what you should get.

You definitely should talk to your supervisor first (make an appointment, best at a neutral place where you will not be interrupted by phone calls, emails and others) and ask her to work out a written experimental plan for the rest of your Master, which you will work through and tick off - this will help both of you. When you come to the meeting you should have prepared a list of what has already been done including the results/or "not" results and another sheet that contains what the hypothesis of your work was and how the experiments you already did should have contributed to supporting this hypothesis. Try to set up this part for yourself before talking to her, and then work through it with your supervisor. Make sure that you have all your results with you well organised - probably some of the things you do feel are "no results" are good news for your supervisor and you will have something to work on. When writing a Master thesis it is (at least here) no problem if you do not have publishable results - what counts is that you learned about some methods, about how to plan an experiment (and even if you learned it by failure of you boss' experimental setup), and have written a well argumented thesis - which can also be discussing methodological difficulties.

On the other hand if this fails and your supervisor has no idea what you should be doing and you feel you are lost you should talk to somebody you trust at your institute and ask for help, best not go to the head first - this can backfire on you.

Keep my fingers crossed for your Master thesis.
A man cannot be too careful in the choice of his enemies. (Oscar Wilde)

#4 Adrian K

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Posted 03 June 2011 - 10:29 AM

Hi Geb,
can you explain further about what you mean by "discussing methodological difficulties"?
I am actually in a situation where I cant solve the research problem due to technical difficulties... I asked to change topic long ago but my supervisor did not allowed.

Many Thanks for your enlightenment.
Adrian

First thing I use to tell my students is that also no results is a result - so try to look at the things you did form a different point of view first. And often your supervisor is not able to give you the larger plan of your work because you obviously will lack the background on the topic your supervisor has - so maybe your findings are exactly what you should get.

You definitely should talk to your supervisor first (make an appointment, best at a neutral place where you will not be interrupted by phone calls, emails and others) and ask her to work out a written experimental plan for the rest of your Master, which you will work through and tick off - this will help both of you. When you come to the meeting you should have prepared a list of what has already been done including the results/or "not" results and another sheet that contains what the hypothesis of your work was and how the experiments you already did should have contributed to supporting this hypothesis. Try to set up this part for yourself before talking to her, and then work through it with your supervisor. Make sure that you have all your results with you well organised - probably some of the things you do feel are "no results" are good news for your supervisor and you will have something to work on. When writing a Master thesis it is (at least here) no problem if you do not have publishable results - what counts is that you learned about some methods, about how to plan an experiment (and even if you learned it by failure of you boss' experimental setup), and have written a well argumented thesis - which can also be discussing methodological difficulties.

On the other hand if this fails and your supervisor has no idea what you should be doing and you feel you are lost you should talk to somebody you trust at your institute and ask for help, best not go to the head first - this can backfire on you.

Keep my fingers crossed for your Master thesis.


Expecting the world to treat you fairly because you are a good person is like expecting the lion not to attack you because you are a vegetarian.

..."best of our knowledge, as far as we know this had never been reported before, though I can't possible read all the published journals on earth, but by perform thorough search in google, the keywords did not match any documents"...

"what doesn't kill you, makes you stronger"---Goddess Casandra reminds me to be strong

"It's all just DNA. Do it."---phage434

#5 gebirgsziege

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Posted 04 June 2011 - 12:06 AM

Adrian, what I meant with methodological difficulties is that you need to be able to address the reasons why your experiments did not work. Wrong answer: "the method my supervisor gave to me did not work, although I tried it again and again for the last two years". Right answer:"We started using method xyz because we hypothesised abc, but it did not work because D. So we tried method T, which did not work for reason H explained by Smith et al bla bla bla....."
Reasons can be the wrong choice of method, a wrong approach to the experiment(e.g. PCR did not work, because DNA was fragmented into short pieces, but the primers spun a fragment of 3kb), or technical difficulties (just a lack of the proper equipment). Once you are able to point these out (always trying to avoid blaming the failure to your supervisor :rolleyes: ), discuss better options for the future you should be save and dry. One of the most important things you should be able to do after your master is to be able to address arising problems - because just doing "lab-work by numbers" is not what will prepare you for a job or a PhD. Thinking about all this can also reveal an answer to your problem to you (e.g. design new primers for a shorter region).
But if you are working with an established method that is working in your lab, and fail to get results, you should try to find out what you are doing wrong. But if you should establish a method that nobody in your lab worked before, and it does not work, you should try to find out why it is not working. There can be reasons in your experimental system that hamper the method, or just the fact that the people who developed the method forgot to mention a small hint - like using tap water instead of ad because the ions are needed to catalyse a reaction.....and if you cannot find an answer to these questions, you can always collect the information on what did not work. Usually this information is very valuable for anybody who will work on this area in the future - saving them time and effort to find this out themselves.

Just to acknowledge to the system I am talking about: our students must do their Master, they cannot directly start a PhD instead; and you do not get a job with a BA round here! so all our students do their master to finish their study off. A master thesis is regulated to be 6 month in the lab - and we are supposed to design the experiments for the students the way that this is feasible. Nevertheless, most students need one year in the lab and another 3-6 months writing their thesis - but for this usually they are to "blame" (e.g. taking some time off to earn money or to travel). So all I said above might not apply for you given the different regulations for these things in other countries! But if you approach to your supervisor showing that your really thought about the reasons why something did not work, most supervisors who take their job serious will be thankful, because they do not have to do all the digging themselves and acknowledge your initiative which will help you to finish your thesis (too many "labwork by numbers students" out there).
A man cannot be too careful in the choice of his enemies. (Oscar Wilde)

#6 Adrian K

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Posted 04 June 2011 - 01:48 AM

Geb,
All I can say is that I really wish I got a supervisor like you... so lucky your students!

Thanks for the info, exactly what I really wanted to find out all these while... we are investigating some unknown-hypothetical protein... but till now it was not the protein we wanted... and I need publications to graduate as a master, not just writing a thesis... now I wonder where could I find results to publish.

All the best.
Adrian
Expecting the world to treat you fairly because you are a good person is like expecting the lion not to attack you because you are a vegetarian.

..."best of our knowledge, as far as we know this had never been reported before, though I can't possible read all the published journals on earth, but by perform thorough search in google, the keywords did not match any documents"...

"what doesn't kill you, makes you stronger"---Goddess Casandra reminds me to be strong

"It's all just DNA. Do it."---phage434




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