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Strategies for Collaborating More Effectively

  • Schedule frequent appointments with your adviser and/or committee members. This will help keep you focused and working consistently. In addition, you will receive ongoing feedback about your progress.
  • Make effective use of meeting time with your adviser by preparing an agenda that addresses specific questions or issues you want to discuss.
  • Ask your adviser to help you develop a realistic time frame for writing and completing chapters, conducting the research, analyzing data, writing the conclusions, etc. Set deadlines for each of these tasks and have your adviser hold you to them.
  • Hold up your end of the bargain. You will have more leverage to negotiate with your adviser if you have consistently done what you said you were going to do with the thesis.
  • Find creative ways to collaborate with your adviser and committee members that do not require meetings. There may be many oppportunities to collaborate that do not depend on face-to-face interactions.
  • Keep your adviser informed about the status of your work. They cannot assist you if they don’t know about your progress and setbacks.
  • Be aware of the investments that your adviser has made to your research. This may include funding, research facilities, supervisory support, time, and expertise. It will be helpful to recognize these investments and make good use of them.
  • Recognize the complexities of the relationship with your adviser.  Although there may be a history of conflict with your adviser, professional relationships can generally be improved whenever there is a mutual effort to identify, understand, and resolve problems.
  • Be professional. The work on the thesis occurs during a transitional period in your professional life. This is an opportunity to begin establishing yourself as a professional.