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I submitted my master’s thesis four months ago. And now, my supervisor sent me an email with only 10 pages corrected. She informed me that she will send me the feedback by parts! I am really concerned about this as I am afraid references would all be in the wrong order when I join things together. One of her requirements was submitting the thesis as a whole and now she will correct it part by part after four months.

What should I do in this case?

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    Why would incorporating the feedback involving any kind of joining things together?
    – TimRias
    Jun 3, 2023 at 16:56
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    You say thanks and get to work incorporating the changes…
    – Jon Custer
    Jun 3, 2023 at 17:17
  • @TimRias because we will be working on different documents. She will not wait for me to adjust the parts she sent according to her feedback. However, she will keep adding feedback on a different document
    – R.A
    Jun 3, 2023 at 18:45
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    References: use a reference manager. If it is text-based (LaTeX), also use version control, that's a good way of keeping track of different versions. I have no idea if Word has support for multiple version threads or there are tools for that. Jun 4, 2023 at 0:14
  • Always keep in mind that the thesis is your work and responsibility, and not your supervisor's. Do your best with whatever you get, and don't demand anything that would imply it's her responsibility that your thesis turns out well. It isn't. Jun 4, 2023 at 11:31

3 Answers 3

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From your supervisor's perspective they are probably doing you a favor: Since they are too busy/cannot manage to correct (or give feedback on) the thesis as a whole, they give it to you in parts whenever they have time.

What is important, however, is that you discuss with your supervisor what the planning/schedule is. Regardless of whether you have a fixed/hard deadline or not, try to make arrangements that work for both of you (and realise that even agreed upon deadlines may turn out to be flexible/need to be moved around when other priorities arise on your supervisor's end - your thesis is understandably and rightfully your main focus but your supervisor probably has tons of other things on their plate).

Ultimately, a supervisor typically also won't want to stretch out this phase on purpose, so communicate and try to sort out what your and their responsibilities and possibilities are here.

As for the references: I don't think this needs to be connected to when or how you receive feedback. As mentioned in another answer: Do yourself a favor and work with a reference manager from the start. It is a bit of a learning curve and hassle to get started if you've never done so, but you will never want to do it in any other way ever again. Your supervisor might advise you here as well.

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I would be far more concerned by the four month delay than by the piecemeal nature of the feedback.

If there is an agreed-upon time frame for the completion of your thesis-- which means feedback, revisions, whatever presentations are necessary-- and the time-frame supports your schedule for graduation, great, fine.

If not, that is your real problem, not the niggling details of how you manage references, citations, etc.

The management of those niggling details is an annoying but very real fact of life, both in academia and in the rest of the world for people with higher academic training. Your advisor shouldn't be (and almost certainly isn't) making life intentionally difficult for you in this regard; nevertheless, it's good experience to learn to deal with it.

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I'd say don't worry too much. This is somewhat common practise. Keep in mind that your supervisor might be engaged in other tasks (research, proposal writting, teaching, ...) so sending you feedback bit by bit is beneficial for you as you receive it earlier and thus have more time to incorporate it. So the supervisor might act like this to do you a favor.

Also: I'd suggest using a reference manager (e.g. Zotero). References an their order should not be a problem when using a good software package taking care of your references.

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