I have been working on my dissertation proposal for 2 of the last 4 years of my PhD program. I have been publishing at conferences, collecting data, and building out my thesis. About a year and a half ago, I thought I was ready to propose but my advisor wanted one more publication. Then it was one more app designed. Then it was one more protocol designed. I got it in writing what he wanted me to do in order to propose but each time he would say I needed to do more. I am now at my deadline (I have to propose or I lose funding) and my advisor and a committee member have told me that they think my research is a dead end and I shouldn't have been looking into it in the first place. I am not really sure where to go from here. Has anyone else experienced this? The two options I have considered are: leaving with a masters and trying to get into a different program or starting over from scratch with my research at my current university but I have no guarantee of funding. Any additional ideas?

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    I'm not sure what precisely we're supposed to help here. Have you talked with your adviser and the committee members what your opinions are? Their statements that "they think my research is a dead end and I shouldn't have been looking into it in the first place" are not at all constructive. What do they think the way forward should be? Jul 9 '20 at 2:40
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    What does a "proposal" mean in your university? In some universities it is basically the formality you undergo 6 months before you defend, i.e. it is one of the last steps of your PhD. Other places it is done right at the beginning of the PhD program and is "step 1" of the PhD. Also, is your field one where conference publications carry weight? If you already have several publications can you defend over the objections of your advisor? Jul 9 '20 at 3:37
  • I am sorry about what you are going through. It is indeed a bit of a hard question to answer here. I think it mixes up different issues and it requires more context to see what you should do going forward.
    – 6005
    Jul 10 '20 at 16:30