When it comes to finding and advisor who can help you navigate the foreign and often turbulent waters of the dissertation process, there are two basic options available to you. You can opt for a traditional advisor who meets with your face to face in their office or other location. Or you can go with an online advisor who works with you remotely through emails and online chat sessions. Both can be effective for you and the decision ultimately comes down to your personal preferences, the constraints on your available times, your personality, and how familiar you are with your topic and the dissertation research and writing process. Here are some things you need to do- regardless of whether you choose to meet face to face with an advisor or find one to work with you online.
- By the time you reach the point in your education where you are working on your dissertation, you should be able to assume a good deal of independence when it comes to researching and writing your paper. By the time the project is over and you submit your work to the review committee you will know more about the subject you have chosen to work on than anyone else. Choosing an advisor is an important part of the process but it should be one that fits your needs- do you need a lot of guidance and reassurance or do you just need casual support and direction?
- Talk with your advisor and find out what they can offer you and what they will need from you in order to help you to the best of their ability. Find out how often you need to contact them about your progress. Will they look at larger batches of writing or smaller segments if you need one over the other? Find out what the turn around time is for an agreed upon word count so you know when to expect feedback and how to plan your drafts. Do you have the time to go meet in an office or are you better with someone who can meet online after hours or who can communicate whenever they can via email and chat sessions? These points can go a long way in helping you decide what sort of advisor you want and need.
- It is very important that you always keep your advisor in the loop and informed. Advisors are the most help to you and are an integral part of the dissertation process only if they know what you currently are doing and working on at all times. They need to know right away what problems you might be having, how you are doing your research, the progress you are making, and what it is you need from them in each session. An established meeting on a regular basis that is set up strictly as a progress report type of session can help keep you and your advisor on track- whether they are meeting with you face to face or online.
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