I’ve interviewed a few people for jobs at Monash University, and there’s always someone who comes out with something surprising. Here are some real examples.

## Posts Tagged ‘supervision’:

## Establishing priority

The nature of research is that other people are probably working on similar ideas to you, and it is possible that someone will beat you to publishing them.

## Blogs about research

If you find this blog helpful (or even if you don’t but you’re interested in blogs on research issues and tools), there are a few other blogs about doing research that you might find useful. Here are a few that I read. Patter — Pat Thomson. The Thesis Whisperer — Inger Mewburn. The Research Whisperer – several RMIT researchers. the (research) supervisor’s friend — Geof Hill. My Research Rants – Jordi Cabot. The Three Month Thesis – James Hayton. profserious – Anthony Finkelstein. Academic Life — Marialuisa Aliotta. Help for New Professors — Faye Hicks. The Art of Scientific Writing – Faye Hicks. Explorations of style– Rachael Cayley. sharmanedit — Anna Sharman. GradHacker – writers from several universities. PhD Life – Warwick Uni students. PhD Comics — essential reading for every PhD student, and good therapy. I’ve created a bundle so you can subscribe to all of these in one go. Of course, there are lots of statistics blogs as well, and blogs about other research disciplines. The ones above are those that concentrate on generic research issues.

## Advice to PhD applicants

For students who are interested in doing a PhD at Monash under my supervision. First, read the instructions on how to apply. Second, poke around my website to see the sorts of topics I work on. There’s no point asking to do a PhD with me if you want to do research on something I don’t know much about. In particular, please note that I’m not really interested in finance or economics. There are some excellent researchers at Monash on both topics, but I’m not one of them. If you’re still interested, here is what I normally expect. You should have a strong background in statistics or econometrics (at least honours or Masters level) along with some mathematics and computing. It is essential that you have studied some matrix algebra, multivariate calculus and optimization. You should be capable of programming with a high level language such as R or Matlab; if you can write in C as well, even better. Students who struggle either find they don’t know enough mathematics (or didn’t pay attention when they learned it), or they don’t know enough computing. I don’t expect students to be whiz programmers, but I do expect them to know about for loops, if statements, local variables and functions, and I assume they have some idea about nonlinear

## How to fail a PhD

I read an interesting post today by Matt Might on “10 reasons PhD students fail”, and I thought it might be helpful to reflect on some of the barriers to PhD completion that I’ve seen. Matt’s ideas are not all relevant to Australian PhDs, so I have come up with my own list below. Here are the seven steps to failure. 1. Wait for your supervisor to tell you what to do A good supervisor will not tell you what to do. PhD students are not meant to be research assistants, and a PhD is not an extended undergraduate assignment. So waiting to be told what to do next will usually get you nowhere. By the time you graduate with a PhD, you are supposed to be an independent researcher. That means having your own ideas, setting your own research directions, and choosing what to do yourself. In practice, your supervisor will usually need to tell you what to do for the first year, but eventually you need to set the research agenda yourself. By the third year you should certainly know more about your topic than your supervisor, and so are in a better position to know what to do next. 2. Wait for inspiration Sitting around

## Research supervision workshop

Today I gave a workshop for supervisors of postgraduate students. Mostly I talked about creating a team environment for postgraduate students rather than the traditional model (at least in statistics and econometrics) of each student working in isolation. The slides are available here in presentation form or in handout form. Actually, these are an edited version of the slides as I accidentally left out a couple of the phởtographs in the workshop, and I’ve omitted slides that I didn’t end up covering in the workshop. An important part of my research group is this blog. So if you haven’t been here before, please take a look around. For those people who attended, feel free to add comments below if you would like to provide feedback on the workshop.

## Supervision award

Last night I received the Vice-Chancellor’s postgraduate supervision award at a function at Government House. I am deeply honoured that my students thought to nominate me for the award. I think I was as surprised as anyone to win, and some people have asked me what I did to deserve it. Actually, I’m not sure that I did deserve it, but I can tell you what I told the award committee who chose me. I was asked to write a document explaining my approach to supervision. My students and colleagues also had to contribute comments, which are not reproduced here. This is what I wrote …