Currently I am working on my Final Year Project. I have worked with the current supervisor for 4 months. In the first month, everything went smooth. Whenever I email a question to her, she will answer it within 3 days. However, as times goes by, she started to ignore my question. This happens from 2nd month onwards till now. I don't know whether she hates my for asking so many questions or simply don't have time.

What should I do to deal with this kind of situation as my Final Year Project's grade depends on her. If I don't have a good relationship with her, I think my grade will suffer.

  • 7
    Why don't you meet face-to-face?
    – Moriarty
    Nov 16, 2014 at 14:11
  • Why haven't you been regularly meeting face-to-face for 4 months?
    – JeffE
    Jan 9, 2015 at 17:18

3 Answers 3


Email is a terrible way to supervise work for both parties involved. It's difficult to ask a good question over email and it's difficult to address a misconception over email. From your question, there's no way of knowing which of several types of problems you are experiencing with your advisor. The answer to all of them, however, is to have regularly scheduled meetings that are face-to-face if possible, or over a video link if you are doing distance learning.


I would add that you may want to figure out what mode of communication your supervisor prefers in general, and with regard to advising students on final projects in particular. Pushing for a meeting might work, but it could also add to the supervisor's load if s/he is already overburdened with meetings with advisees. I would recommend to stop by her office, explain that you are looking for some additional feedback from her as you work on completing the project, and ask what she would prefer as as plan for communicating about it. Chances are it could be a mix of email and face-to-face.

Also, you could significantly increase your chances of hearing from the advisor by email if you adapt to her emailing style. People tend to have preferences in terms of how they communicate by email. Some like long, drawn-out emails with lots of detail. Others are absolute minimalists, writing barely a line in response to an inquiry of any length. A good rule of thumb is that if one writes short emails, one also prefers to receive/read short emails.

I do not believe I ever met someone who asked me to write them longer emails! (except my mom perhaps ;) So reviewing your past communication might suggest adjustments you could make in your emailing style, so it is "easy on the eyes" for the advisor. This small adaptation can pay big dividends in the long-term, as you teach yourself to consider your conversation partners' preferences and adapt to them. They will subconsciously perceive correspondence from you more favorably, which in turn will increase the chance of quicker and more positive communication.

This might seem trivial, but many people never intentionally learn good emailing practices. They just assume that if they get responses, their emails must be good enough. However, it does not take much effort to advance from 'good enough' to 'very good', but it could make a difference at critical times in your work or career.

A couple resources:

Effective E-mail Communication - guide from the UNC-Chapel Hill Writing Center

Writing Effective Emails

Good luck!

  1. they all have their works and their tasks. they are so busy .
  2. it difficult for a adviser to just answer your emails and ignore his/her tasks.
  3. also the same time, as your project goes on he/she need to bit google-search to help you. this a bit google-search or even thinking about your issue in your in your perspective is few time tackle, but they are really busier to READ, think, search , TYPE and send your answer.

So try to see him/her.

  • 1
    I would add that the person asking should, as normal practice, do enough preliminary research so that no further 'googling' is needed from the advisor. The questions ideally should not be solvable by reference to additional relevant information that could be easily found online, but rather draw upon the supervisor's specialized knowledge and experience for suggestions on procedures or choices that have been researched and offered as alternatives by the student. Of course this level of interaction is not achieved overnight, but it is probably what most advisors would applaud and like to see!
    – A.S
    Jan 9, 2015 at 16:29

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