As it turns out,I realised that, the field I'm working on is quite different than my original one. How to explain this current situation?

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    Is the project over? – ff524 Aug 2 '17 at 15:06
  • If this is not a formal project, why do you have to explain the lack of progress? Can't you just state the facts and move on? – Dmitry Grigoryev Aug 2 '17 at 15:57
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    There is the issue here that you are asking how to explain your lack of progress, but the explanation that you give here is not very clear (to me). E.g. I don't understand "As it turns out, I made a mistake of not asking advisor 2 for a place to physically go to every-day, which came about to be a major problem." I also don't really understand what you were supposed to do but didn't... – Pete L. Clark Aug 2 '17 at 16:50
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    ...For me, a key question is: were you supposed to contribute to extant faculty projects in some way, or did they just try to find something for you to learn and maybe do over the summer? If the latter -- well, it sounds like you found out you were not interested, so you learned what you wanted to learn. Other than a very general "Sorry, it turned out this project was not a good match for my interests, but thanks again" I'm not sure what you need to say. – Pete L. Clark Aug 2 '17 at 16:51
  • Your edits have resulted in a question that has no context and beginning with 'As it turns out' gives the impression of arriving part way through a conversation. – Mark Wassell Aug 3 '17 at 5:50

As someone who had to explain lack of progress numerous times to advisers and peers, I think you should not start with the negatives. Present succintly what you have succeeded to do. Even if it's not enough by your own standards, you should not say so. Leave the judgement to the adviser.

You should also tell them the parts where you have partial progress, and explain where you got stuck. Ask for advise on how to get unstuck and work more efficiently, if the adviser doesn't give you some advise himself. If there are things like your need for a place to go for work every day, which could positively impact your work, mention them to your adviser.

Having to learn the basics from scratch is not an easy job. Your supervisor is likely to understand that. They are also likely to understand that you needed some time to get re-accustomed to your field since you've been out of practice for a while. You can tell them that it took you a while to get into things.

I think you should be honest and help them make the best decision in what needs to be done to complete your project. At the same time, there is no need to expand excessively on your personal issues.

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  • @PortRort I misunderstood your penultimate paragraph -- sorry. – user21264 Aug 2 '17 at 16:06
  • @PortRort If you don't have experience with the newer field, it is very important for your progress to be able to get the input of people who are experienced in that field, especially your adviser. If you were on your own, with no help at all, that is reason enough to not make great progress. – user21264 Aug 2 '17 at 16:16

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