I decided on my supervisor because he is the only professor working in this field in my country, and he is very resourceful. He helps me out a lot on every aspect other than technical guidance because he is an experimentalist and I am focused right now on numerical simulations. How do I find resources other than research papers for guidance on my PhD

  • 6
    Have you asked your supervisor?
    – Bryan Krause
    Commented Jun 20, 2019 at 18:43
  • I haven't asked him specifically that, because he does help to connect me with other professors and goes out of his way to give me exposure to things happening around. But I feel the need for an informal counsel from time to time, where hopefully I am not judged when I flounder. Currrently, I have my labmate and we help each other out by bouncing ideas off of each other and solving each others' problems. I could have been in a better situation if my professor had a postdoc whom I could share my work with, but unforunately that is not the situation.
    – yavvee
    Commented Jun 22, 2019 at 7:44

3 Answers 3

  1. From your question, I understand that you should be on good terms with your advisor. Then, I think you should be straightforward and ask him to connect you to some other experts in the field. Perhaps, you could even have one of them on your committee as your co-advisor.
  2. You could probably ask the other professors at your current or even the previous department for some help. Personally, I'm always happy to help students previously in my classes.
  3. If your university regulations permit, you could take a short sabbatical (usually 3-6 months) in another university under the supervision of a professor expert in your desired field. If you are in the early stages of your Ph.D. studies and the regulations require you to be a 3rd- or 4th-year student before taking such a leave, you could still talk to your possible choices and seek their help. Then when you officially take the sabbatical, you could work closely with them.
  4. There are lots of online groups and websites dedicated to helping people having questions similar to yours. Being an active member of them would benefit you greatly in the long run.
  • Thanks! I would definitely try to implement the third point which seems like a great option. I am definitely looking for that kind of guidance.
    – yavvee
    Commented Jun 22, 2019 at 7:54

Paradoxically, you will probably get the best help connecting with others from your adviser. He will know people, and he can make the necessary introductions with others to ensure that you get replies to your questions if you are asking random people you have otherwise never met.

  • I know, and he does help me a lot in that aspect. It is just that even he's a budding scientist and is trying to establish a world class lab through grants and collaborations. I feel that exposing myself through asking questions that might be elementary to other researchers that he connects me to might hamper the image that he's trying to build. That's why I have been a little hesitant in being too frank.
    – yavvee
    Commented Jun 22, 2019 at 7:51

In some fields, such as Computer Science, conferences are a very important way for people to publish, but also to meet and form working relationships. Perhaps you can manage to attend a conference in which others in the field are likely to be present and socialize a lot. Attend talks and speak with other attendees as well as the speakers.

Perhaps you can get a few ideas at such a conference, but the goal is to form a correspondence with such people.

Ideally, if you could attend with your professor and exploit whatever personal relationships he has already developed. Get yourself introduced to others.

But it may even be possible to obtain introductions through your professor without such travel to conferences. Many people work collaboratively across national boundaries via email and such.

And don't neglect other faculty at your university who may have developed relationships with some of the people whose papers you read - or with their professors.

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