I'm so glad to finally have found this avenue where I can seek some advice related to my Phd. I wonder why it took me so long to stumble on this.

Let me give a brief of my situation:

I'm a Phd student in management Science discipline (My research area is - Management Information System & Decision Making ) well into 4th year with little progress to speak of. The thing is, I made 2 biggest blunders at the outset about which I cannot do anything at this point:

  1. Getting into an University without considering whether it's suitable for the topic I'm interested in
  2. Not changing my topic even after figuring out that my supervisor and the whole faculty aren't really comfortable with it.

I plead guilty.

I'm the first scholar assigned to my supervisor. So, he doesn't have any experience guiding research. He is also not knowledgeable about my research area. As such, I have received nothing from him in terms of suggestions, guidance or direction in all these years. The other faculty are also not very helpful either regarding the topic or the research in general. I'm only looking for some intellectual discussions and guidance related to how to perform the research.

Nevertheless, I finally came up with the research proposal, which finally (after 2 years) "seemed" to satisfy all the faculty. I'm not entirely happy with how it turned out because I believe that with good guidance, it could have been way better.

All these years, I continuously tried to contact other people for help - academicians, practitioners and the like for support with only meager results.

Due to personal reasons, I moved to a different country a few months back (USA) and I have deregistered from the university. But I still want to finish my phd and get the degree. The system works like this: I can work on my own and when I think I'm almost done I can re-register (before a stipulated time) and submit my thesis within an year of re-registration.

So, now I'm completely cut-off. Not that I fared any better while I was with the University.

I did some literature survey (not sure it's exhaustive), identified some variables, started working designing questionnaire, but still am stuck on how to address one of the research objectives.

My question:

I am looking for people researching in the related field ( Phd students, academicians) , with whom I can discuss ideas/bottlenecks. And I'm seriously in need of advice regarding survey design and analysis. How can I find and approach such people? Where do I need to look for support? (I tried reaching several professors, researchers with no avail. No friends of mine are knowledgeable about MIS/Research) Anyone on this forum who can help me? What should be my strategy now?

I'm really passionate about my research. Given my constraints, I want to do as decent a work as possible.

  • Welcome to Academia.SE. Please ask one question per post.
    – enthu
    Commented Oct 21, 2014 at 22:34
  • If you have questions about survey design and analysis, why do those specialists have to be knowledgeable in MIS? Do you think perhaps your selection criteria for conversation partners may be too stringent? Commented Oct 21, 2014 at 22:40
  • Modified my post to include only one question. i.e. regarding finding help.
    – siri
    Commented Oct 21, 2014 at 22:40
  • @Penguin_Knight, No, I don't mean a person needs to have both. I quite understand that they can come from different people. I'm really looking for more than one person, who can help me in either my topic or in research. Thanks!
    – siri
    Commented Oct 21, 2014 at 22:44

1 Answer 1


Are there any universities in your area? Problems like yours happen, and there are often kindly professors who will understand and take in academic refugees of various sorts, especially if what you are primarily looking for is advice and not funding.

In approaching a possible professor for advice, however, you need to make sure you're asking for an appropriate level of interaction. Do not show up and say, "Please will you become the supervisor of somebody totally unknown to you on a possibly very time-consuming project?" Have a particular specific question about something small that is your next step, and in the email you use to introduce yourself, ask if they would be willing to meet briefly to give some advice on that question or to if they could point you to somebody who would be better to talk to.

You need to be fairly independent and willing to get help and advice from many different people, if necessary. You also need to understand that you will be generally the lowest priority of anybody that you talk to, and not feel discouraged if some people don't respond.

  • Thanks @jakebeal. I definitely made such efforts. Yes, I completely understand that I would be on the "lowest priority" for anyone. That's the reason, I typically offer my assistance if they need any. May be I should work on the "specific question" part a little more. The biggest challenge though is to find appropriate professor/person to reach out to. I will continue my efforts in this direction.
    – siri
    Commented Oct 27, 2014 at 3:57

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