Role of the Doctoral Student, the Adviser, the Advisory Committee, and the Academic Editor – Part 1


Your job as a student is to read, plan, write, clarify your problem statement or research questions, and write and write, conduct research, analyze outcomes, and conclude and suggest. This is one mammoth task. Good reason it can takes many years, much energy, much time, and much money. But it is your role and no one else’s.

Adviser and Committee

Don’t expect your advisor/chair/supervisor/mentor/professor to do the work for you. (From now on advisor will mean any of those terms: advisor, chair, supervisor, mentor.) An advisor is there to guide you and encourage you. Likewise with your advisory committee members.

1. If you are fortunate, everyone officially involved with your work will be interested enough in you and your process to give you sufficient guidance. Consider yourself lucky.
2. Too much help, especially if it is pedantic is painful though. So much so that you will be unsure whose ideas to follow. Know that this situation is an added complication.
3. If you are unfortunate, you will get so little help, you will not know before critical moments like submission of the proposal and submission of the dissertation or defense that there is a problem. Consider yourself very unlucky.

Achieving a balance in the help you receive is not always easy. The less confident you are, the more you are going to want help. Of course, then the more help you receive, the more confused you are going to be. Receiving little help speaks for itself. Finding a good impartial academic editor to pull all the parts together and warn if there is still a content problem becomes even more essential when dealing with difficult advisory teams.

Ironically enough, both an involved team and uninvolved team can cause problems for an editor. The interfering person usually wants to override good advice. The non-involved person gives no added guidance that an editor can include to ensure the work is on the right track for your school.

But at the very least, make sure you are equipped to do some basic self-editing. Such knowledge will also allow you to recognize good help when offered so you can select what is best for you. Download your own handy copy of the Language Online 21 Proofreading Tips to help guide you through trying times.

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