I am a first year masters student and I am just beginning my research project. I had to send a protocol out to my committee and they all have to approve it before I begin the project. The protocol is basically a document that states, step by step, how I will be completing the project. It will be published once my committee reviews it.

I have went through several drafts of my protocol and my advisor has reviewed and edited each draft. So the one I sent out to my committee was the good copy. I told all my committee members that I would like it back within 2 weeks. My advisor is out of the country for 3 weeks, but she just sent me her comments on my protocol last night. However, she ended up reviewing one of my old drafts again. I double-checked the email I sent her, and I definitely sent her the good copy I wanted reviewed.

I'm not really sure where to go from here. Should I explain her mistake to her? Or just send her the good copy and say I revised it?

  • 3
    To avoid such confusions in the future, I suggest you do three things. First, name the file you've attached with the current date. Second, give a summary of changes your advisor has requested and how you responded in your email. Third, in case you're using MS Word or similar software, turn on the track change feature to keep track of important changes and comments.
    – Ehsan
    May 3, 2019 at 15:21
  • 1
    In the gist of what @Ehsan said: You might want to use git (and something more proper than Word, by the way) for all your academic writing. This way you would be able to say "hey, Advisor Name, could you read revision da39a3ee5e6b4b0d3255?" (If the advisor catches this up.) Or, at least "I implemented your comments from 2020-07-32 in branch "revision-2-again-final-almost" from revision c621228e52f65cf from 2020-08-33 onward". (If they don't.) Basically, you'd have much better tracking of your changes, an ability to go back, and, as a bonus, a proof of the work done. May 4, 2019 at 19:28

1 Answer 1


Just tell her, mistakes happen.

Dear Prof. OutOfCountry,

thank you very much for your comments and review, but it seems that you reviewed an older revision of the document. Find the latest revision attached.

As you can see, most of your points are already addressed in this revision, as well as the following major changes:


Regards, aspire94

  • 14
    Works for me. However, if you can highlight the important changes between the one reviewed and the current one, it will be very much appreciated. Very.
    – Buffy
    May 3, 2019 at 14:56
  • @Buffy Thanks, that´s a good point. I edited the answer.
    – asquared
    May 3, 2019 at 15:02
  • 7
    This is good, but as a matter of interpersonal skill it may also make sense to slip in a polite apology at the beginning (even if it wasn't really your fault). Makes the fact that your advisor spent some time reviewing an outdated document a bit easier to stomach.
    – xLeitix
    May 3, 2019 at 15:10
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    @xLeitix Politeness is always good, but one should make sure it's clear that the correct version was sent before due date. You don't want your prof to got to bed thinking it was your fault. ;-)
    – Karl
    May 3, 2019 at 19:22
  • @Karl By the time you get to be a prof, you should have learned not to take admin problems to bed with you, but leave them in your office where they belong. So don't worry about disturbing your prof's sleep ;-)
    – alephzero
    May 4, 2019 at 18:25

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