Questions tagged [answering-questions]

On handling questions from students or from the audience of a lecture, seminar, thesis defense, or other presentation.

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How do I avoid answering too many questions?

Often in class, professors will ask questions to the class. Usually, I'll at least think I know the answer to the question, so naturally I want to answer it. The problem is that my hand shouldn't ...
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47 votes
12 answers
12k views

How should you respond when a professor answers your question with "It's obvious!"?

I had a math question and I went to my professor's (now a professor at Harvard) office hours (this was a really long time ago). I asked him and he said, "It's obvious!" I sort of said, "...
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2 votes
1 answer
301 views

What does "covering your variables" mean as a thesis defense question?

I'm looking into lists of questions that I might encounter in my MSc thesis defense. One such list is Tamer Suggested: Top 60 Questions Frequently Asked During Thesis Defence. Some of the questions in ...
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2 votes
1 answer
196 views

As a professor, what do you do when you are unable to answer a student's question?

As a PhD student, I want to be a professor in less than a decade, and I have a fear that I may never be able to learn enough to answer all kinds of questions you can get asked in a classroom you are ...
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23 votes
10 answers
10k views

Is it normal to have a bad feeling after asking questions?

I am a postdoc in math who defended his Ph.D. a year ago. I have 4 papers where three of them were written by me(only author). From time to time, when I don't understand some part of a paper, I send ...
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  • 1,319
0 votes
2 answers
125 views

Is it ok to take the help from others in solving the type of tasks discussed here in long-term working environment?

There are several types of tasks in academia. Some may be simple and some may be complex in nature. Although some tasks are very simple for many, they can be quite complex for me. If those tasks are ...
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  • 7,459
5 votes
2 answers
416 views

How are other graduate students able to think on the spot during lectures or talks?

So this happened to me multiple times. Scenario 1: I'm sitting in a lecture or listening to a talk (STEM related) which is more or less aligned with my background (so I know the big picture), and then ...
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1 vote
1 answer
518 views

How to deal with professor who is ignoring my questions? [duplicate]

I am studying data mining in a college in Nepal. In Nepal, students and teachers communicate using Facebook Messenger. Teachers don't share email, and are instead friends with students on Facebook. I ...
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12 votes
4 answers
5k views

Is supervisor bound to clarify the technical queries of a Ph.D. researcher?

Summary: are PhD advisers obligated to help with technical questions / tasks that PhD student is trying to solve? This question arose due to my confusion regarding the role of a Ph.D. supervisor. I ...
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  • 7,459
14 votes
6 answers
5k views

Can I use a fake email address for asking simple questions to experts?

I am a postdoc in math. From time to time, I have some simple questions, which I believe most graduate students know in their field. So, I email specialists to ask them. I sometimes noticed that ...
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1 vote
1 answer
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What would be the correct response if a teacher gives you their own answer without explaining or giving any indication that you are wrong?

It's not the first time that it has happened to me, but I think many times, tons of times. I'm a bachelor's student with Physics as the major. Let me tell you about today's incident: So we were taking ...
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1 vote
4 answers
406 views

How to tell someone, that someone else "can"not answer a question I asked multiple times?

I work at a unversity in the physics department. Since quite some time, I have a very specific question regarding some equations and how they were rearranged into some result. I have asked my ...
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1 vote
1 answer
276 views

Europe Etiquette : Should I reply to a reply?

When asking a question to a professor, I wonder if I should reply to his answer if I have no other questions with "Thank you for your kind answer professor". I guess this is the polite thing ...
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34 votes
4 answers
11k views

How can I politely tell a student that I already support him several times and that is enough?

I have a student who sends me emails twice a week showing me his updated dissertation. At first I supported him a lot. But he literally does what I say word by word and never goes beyond what I tell ...
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3 votes
1 answer
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is it normal to work as an university professor in engineering but have no real professional experience (in the industry)?

I work as a university assistant professor, I teach engineering-related subjects. However, I have no real professional experience in engineering (in the industry), I've never worked as an engineer or ...
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  • 179
7 votes
5 answers
4k views

What are the steps I need to take when an author won't answer clarification questions?

I have recently read a paper in the Journal of Empirical Finance. I was interested in the methodology that the author was using, but in terms of the data collection, the writing was particularly brief ...
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2 votes
3 answers
215 views

What's the best way to deal with questions that I don't understand because of accent during/after a talk?

You can prepare a talk from a to z, know exactly what you are going to say and how (and this is even more important when English is not your first language and your skills are not top-notch) - but ...
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-4 votes
2 answers
355 views

Professor answers a question wrong, how significant? [closed]

I have a university professor in an operating systems class who point blank told me in writing that in the linux operating system, kernel race conditions cant/dont happen. After pressing him he ...
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1 vote
2 answers
80 views

How can I relate my undergrad works to professors research areas?

Recently, a professor answered my email for a graduate position. He asked me to tell him to what extent I am aware of his research. I have a background research experience in his research area, I can ...
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  • 51
-1 votes
4 answers
500 views

How do I write long answers? [closed]

I am a Material Science and Engineering major.What I am having doubt with is how I am supposed to write long answers.Lets say someone asks,"What is a Lomer Cottrell barrier?" or may be,"What is solid ...
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3 votes
1 answer
224 views

Good multiple choice question for education

I'm new to academia SE and I'm not sure if this question fits here, but I think this is the best place I can ask. Please let me know if this question doesn't fit here and suggest me better place to ...
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5 votes
3 answers
279 views

How to encourage students to answer their peers' questions

We have a forum in which students can ask questions about the course material, homework exercises, etc. Usually I answer all the questions. I want to encourage students to answer some questions too. ...
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3 votes
2 answers
253 views

Would a question that requires an amount of text to explain be good to send?

From Is it appropriate (as a PhD student) to email other researchers asking about some details in their papers?, I get that generally you will get answer if you ask question on their work. But what if ...
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3 votes
4 answers
388 views

What is the proper way to reach out to a university with an academic question as a layman?

I am a layman with a series of questions regarding chemical engineering. I'd prefer to contact my alma mater and contact someone there - is there a protocol for doing that? Is this an unusual thing?
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6 votes
3 answers
2k views

Student asking too many questions without trying themself

I work at a bootcamp where I teach programming. I have a student in my class who would ask 1 question every minute. This student would ask about every single thing like where to add this code and how ...
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4 votes
3 answers
8k views

How to overcome fear of answering/asking questions in big class

Maybe it's because I'm a very shy person, but whenever I am in a big classroom setting (lecture), I am too afraid to raise my hand and ask questions or answer questions in class. It's really odd to me ...
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-1 votes
3 answers
293 views

Violated academic integrity on an online coursework. What do I do?

basically I was working on the answers with my friend and didn’t realize the questions were slightly different and therefore I used the answers we got that were based off of hers to mine. I am scared, ...
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1 vote
1 answer
229 views

Secondary Research Questions in a Master Thesis, where to answer?

My question concerns the placement of secondary research questions (SRQ) within a Master Thesis for a Software Engineering program. Currently I describe my primary research question in a chapter on ...
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  • 113
6 votes
2 answers
240 views

How to immediately show group answers onscreen?

I teach at a university, and during lectures I would like to pose a question to all the students in which each student types their answer into their laptop, submits to me, and I can show all the ...
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  • 61
1 vote
1 answer
302 views

How to teach students to ask Polya-type questions

I've recently read "How to Solve It" by Polya. In that book, the author basically explains the method that I use in my own teaching - asking relevant, prompting questions to get students to reason ...
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4 votes
3 answers
1k views

What are some typical questions one might be asked in a Computer Science PhD Viva?

I know that you are likely to suggest "Ask your supervisor. He/She will know best.". While that is obviously true, I would like to know from your personal experience either as the PhD candidate or ...
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1 vote
2 answers
227 views

Is asking questions with very short answers on major exams recommended?

As a part of TA work, I need to give questions for major exams. I need to evaluate the answer sheets of students later. Let us consider the following simple examples of questions: 1) Briefly ...
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  • 7,459
3 votes
2 answers
478 views

Is my supervisor making things clearer or confusing?

I am struggling a lot these days while presenting in front of my supervisor. I make many mistakes, sometimes very stupid mistakes, and he is now saying, "You need to avoid these mistakes." I am not ...
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  • 597
60 votes
9 answers
14k views

Professors/Teachers only replying to part of my email

I've been a Computer Sciences student for 4 years now, give or take, and my experience with emailing teachers/professors (teachers from now on) has been either of two cases: they reply to my entire ...
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  • 703
2 votes
2 answers
531 views

Answering Ambiguous or Outright Preposterous Questions

Given the premise of any form of testing is the evaluation of one's knowledge in comparison to the population (i.e. class) as a whole and a set body of knowledge (i.e. syllabus). How does one ...
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  • 3,660
39 votes
14 answers
11k views

What are strategies for minimizing student questions during exams?

Context: I am an assistant professor of mathematics at a small liberal arts college in the US. I generally find student questions during tests and quizzes to be somewhat annoying. I disliked them ...
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5 votes
3 answers
939 views

How to answer tough questions / didn't hear the question?

I am a PhD student and I'll be giving my first talks at an international conference soon. In the past I have had tough questions from the audience that I did not know the answer to, or did, but it ...
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8 votes
2 answers
4k views

How to answer questions in a conference talk that I should know the answer to, but don't?

In a few days, I will be giving my first conference talk. I have only spent less than a year in the field, and the talk will be attended by several well-known researches, who are familiar with all of ...
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  • 542
3 votes
1 answer
1k views

Time allocation in conference presentations

How much time should I expect to 'leave' at the end of a conference presentation for questions? This question suggests to allocate 2-3 minutes per slide, including front/back matter (like a question ...
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  • 169
4 votes
2 answers
373 views

How to motivate students to debug their work independently

For the last few semesters, I have taught a graduate-level course (mixture of Master's and PhD students) that has a very substantial data analysis component in which every assignment involves ...
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38 votes
11 answers
7k views

Students and postdocs not asking questions

During and after the talks and seminars in our dept. (~80 people, ~10 groups, ~40 postdocs+PhD+Master students), it is extremely rare to see postdocs or students asking questions. 90-95% of the ...
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  • 547
116 votes
9 answers
16k views

Asking questions in class: how can I "exit" a Q&A when I haven't really understood?

I'm an undergrad and I tend to learn better when I understand the concepts behind things instead of rote repetition. As a result of this, I often have questions. There are times when I don't ...
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5 votes
1 answer
577 views

Are "how", "why" or "is it possible" good for a research question?

I am working on Informatics and I am trying to formulate a research question. The thing is I read a lot of examples where the research question has a lot in common with hypotheses, where 2 ...
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47 votes
7 answers
10k views

Thesis reviewer requests update to literature review to incorporate last four years of research. Do I need to do this?

I'm about to defend my Phd thesis in November 2016 in software engineering. I started my Phd in February 2010. One of my thesis reviewers stated in his review comments that my bibliography references ...
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  • 699
-2 votes
1 answer
276 views

Question about giving feedback to a strict teacher from a student [closed]

How to give a respectfully feedback to a teacher who is strict enough and dont want to take classes but always want positive feedback email from her students ?
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38 votes
8 answers
18k views

How do professors view a student who has good grades but always asks stupid questions?

I am planning to apply for Ph.D programs in mathematics in U.S. and I am thinking about which professors I should ask for letters of recommendations from. In order to get "strong" letters, I need to ...
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6 votes
6 answers
716 views

Can't handle the stress while being bombarded with questions during the presentation

I am a fashion designer student. I have given numerous presentations but one thing always bothers me: the level and frequency of questions by the questioners. By that I mean some folks in the class ...
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52 votes
11 answers
16k views

How to react when professor wrongly corrects you in public?

I recently defended my master thesis. One thing only went wrong: I said a certain method was rather new (which it was!) and the most senior professor in the room (my supervisor was not there, he had ...
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  • 1,254
8 votes
1 answer
282 views

Does students asking questions in class improve the learning outcome of the entire class?

Is there any research/study/survey that looked at whether / to what extent students asking questions in class improve the learning outcome of the entire class? I am most interested in computer ...
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187 votes
11 answers
30k views

How to deal with a student who most likely has a mental condition, and keeps arguing with me in class?

I am a TA for an introductory computer programming course at a university in the US. There is one student in particular who, during lecture, will argue with me about every point I make, which eats up ...
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