What should a PhD student do, when his supervisor actually give directions on each and every thing to do (forced spoon feeding) instead of letting the student do his research and come back with some ideas and discuss the pros and cons and then move accordingly? Which will actually groom the student research skills?

Also if at some point a student disagrees then the student feels the change in the supervisor behaviour (on the negative side).

What should be the best practice to keep the balance in working environment and work as well?

  • 3
    From which standpoint are you asking this question? The student, a colleague of the supervisor, the dean or department head?
    – Cape Code
    Commented Aug 22, 2016 at 6:23
  • as a student as i already mentioned in the question, please let me know if its not clear from any aspect Commented Aug 22, 2016 at 9:01

1 Answer 1


If the student wishes to be self-sufficient in PhD research, then she/he ought to express that the student is competent to do so.

There are supervisors who tend to give sufficient freedom for the student to do their research in their own accord. There are some others who feel much more procedural in their approach to build and shape their scholars to their view. Both are actually fine as long as they confirm to the type of their respective students. There are some who require more attention that others, and some others less so. If the student feels that she/he does not require to be spoon fed, then it would be up to the student to show that she/he is capable of producing valuable result by him/herself.

The student ought to exhibit active involvement in the research and request for suggestions to the advisor. Here are a few examples.

There is this new problem I've just came across while doing this work. It's about .... May I look further into this?


There is an idea I would like to discuss regarding .... Shall I try this one out?

The point is to show how eager you are to be able to do research with lesser support. Of course this might not work all the time (depending on your advisor). This would, however, show how capable you are and is certainly worth a try.

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