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My supervisor does not have time to neither read my report nor give me feedback. The topic I am working on is totally new and my supervisor does not know about that.

There is another guy in my group who works on the same topic. I got the correct result and the other guy did not get the correct result but my supervisor believes the other guy and made me feel very bad by implying that I made up the data. Even if I show her my solution, she will not be able to understand or simply does not want to admit that I am right. It is not an easy feeling for me when I am in group meetings, I have to shut my mouth when the guy says wrong things.

I like the topic and I want to continue work on that but I really need to get over all the bad feelings. All other professors in my university working on that topic have some kind of collaborations with my supervisor so it is not ideal for me to change supervisor.

Has anyone been in the similar situation? How would you get over that and become successful?

  • Is there any chance that you can get a co-supervisor with one of the other faculty? Someone interested specifically in your work. Long term they might be able to take over completely if you work it right. – Buffy Sep 20 '19 at 16:47
  • I think they might not want to officially be my supervisor but I think they welcome students to see them to ask questions and discuss. – superStar Sep 21 '19 at 2:58
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Show your supervisor why you are right and the other guy is wrong. Gather solid proof, wait until you are less emotional, ask to meet your supervisor and tell her in a neutral, professional tone. Maybe she just wasn't able to see your point at that moment.

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without knowing the makeup or politics of how your institution works and how connected your supervisor is, its hard to give concrete tips. So take the answers here with a pinch of salt.

Which field are you in? From your question it seems like you are in a field that uses quantitative data (primarily), thus the emphasis on right and wrong results. What is the kind of feedback the other guy gets when (or if) he publishes his work?

When you say that the other guy "did not get the correct result", is he being:

  1. fraudulent - wrongfully analysing data on purpose or not following correct procedures
  2. ignorant - the guy is clueless about the 'right' way to analyse the data and needs some serious help
  3. just different - are you sure that your way is the right way and the other guy's way is the wrong way? Can you be confident of this (academically speaking)? Are there research papers you can send to the other guy and your supervisor about your approach being valid and the other guy's approach being invalid.

There are a number of things you can do in each of these situations:

  1. reporting fraudulent practices (anonymously and only if it is safe to do so for you!) to an ethics/review board
  2. seek opinion from others in your field outside of your institution (are there institutions that work in the same research field in your city/region? make connections with them and get a mentorship role form a senior academic there - this will take a few months so no quick fixes unfortunately).
  3. Additionally have you been to a conference/workshop of people from your field (again outside your institution)? If yes, then recall those connections and make those ties stronger (via skype/coffee) or visit a conference soon and make those connections happen.

In my experience, the PhDs who progress and learn the most are those who are connecting and learning from those in their field, regardless of whether they are from your institution or not - so this is valuable (irregardless of the troubles you are having).

You can write up your work to a workshop/conference and gain feedback there? Might be valuable in backing up your claims to your supervisor.

Is there a 'third-way'? A compromise between your approach and your supervisors's preferred approach? Unfortunately, the PhD-Supervisor relationship is filled with power dynamics which mean that your PhD will never be 'purely academic' as we might want it to be..

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