University refusing to let me change dissertation project/supervisor

(36 Posts)
DollhouseBurglar Sun 18-Oct-20 10:25:36

I was only given a list of research topics last week and made a decision in a few hours without much thought. I wasn't on their mailing list.

I was told who my supervisor was on Wednesday and I had a meeting with the supervisor the next day. He asked me what ideas I had in his area of expertise and tbh, I could barely come up with anything. It was embarrassing. I've since come to the realisation that I'm not really interested in this area of research. Its interesting- to read about. But I have nothing to add.

I emailed the module coordinator and was told that it is now too late to change and wished me luck for the year.

The university are in the wrong here right? For not sending a list of projects to me months before (May 2020- I think), like the rest of students in my cohort?

Should I complain? Or just get on with it? I'm convinced that I'll fail as I have no enthusiasm for my project.

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milkjetmum Sun 18-Oct-20 10:28:56

If its interesting to read about is a systematic review an option? Otherwise is the risk of changing that you will use some of your dissertation period making this change and so have less time on your project?

Bunnymumy Sun 18-Oct-20 10:29:37

I dibt understand why you cant change it right up until the second you hand it in tbh. Is it because the supervisor assigned to you has to have knowledge on the specific topic?

DollhouseBurglar Sun 18-Oct-20 10:32:17

systematic review an option?

I don't think so. Its a research project, so we will conduct an experiment and analyse the data to report on later in the year.

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DollhouseBurglar Sun 18-Oct-20 10:34:09

Is it because the supervisor assigned to you has to have knowledge on the specific topic?

Its suppose to be an original piece of research based on the supervisors area of expertise.

I'm doing a BSc psychology degree.

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GCAcademic Sun 18-Oct-20 10:36:19

Bunnymumy

I dibt understand why you cant change it right up until the second you hand it in tbh. Is it because the supervisor assigned to you has to have knowledge on the specific topic?

If you changed your dissertation just before handing it in, that would ring alarm bells. We don’t allow late changes to dissertation topics because, often, this indicates that the student may be using an essay mill and buying what is on offer.

The OP’s situation is different, though. If the department messed up by not including her in communications and then rushed her into a decision, then I think she is justified in asking to be allowed to change. It’s only a matter of days since she submitted her topic, so I don’t see why this shouldn’t be possible.

ChaChaCha2012 Sun 18-Oct-20 10:36:20

If you weren't sent the list before, did you not ask for it? I expect this will be the falling point to any complaint, your lack of action, as you must have known you needed to make this decision.

Is this undergraduate or postgrad?

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Canadianpancake Sun 18-Oct-20 10:37:32

What is their area? Is it the research method or the actual topic that's a problem?

DollhouseBurglar Sun 18-Oct-20 10:46:02

Its undergrad. I had no idea when the university would contact me about my dissertation topic. I was expecting an email but didn't chase it up until starting as I was concerned. Surely they would have emailed me to ask why I hadn't made a project choice?

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titchy Sun 18-Oct-20 10:47:25

I'm not sure as an undergrad you're expected to come up with something completely new or original in the field!

Can you look at what's been done in the past, and try to replicate to see if the previous results are still valid today. Or take someone's work and see if you can apply it to a different cohort or environment.

You're justified in a complaint if you were excluded from group emails (did you chase these up, were others in your class talking/whatsapping about the project?) but I don't think you can necessarily expect to get the exact project of your choice.

DollhouseBurglar Sun 18-Oct-20 10:48:24

The topic is a problem. Their research is interesting but no way I can expand on it. My current ideas lack originality.

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wizzywig Sun 18-Oct-20 10:50:53

Shouldnt your supervisor be able to mark a dissertation on any psych topic?

DollhouseBurglar Sun 18-Oct-20 10:50:55

Not trying to come up with something new. Just can't see what variables I can manipulate.

When I met the supervisor he helped me come up with an idea on the spot and he said it would work. But I'm not feeling enthusiastic about it now.

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RedComb Sun 18-Oct-20 10:51:37

DollhouseBurglar

The topic is a problem. Their research is interesting but no way I can expand on it. My current ideas lack originality.

If you couldn’t expand on it then they wouldn’t have given it you as a topic. Do some reading (with a pen in hand!) and jot down some of the interesting themes and points as you come to them.

DollhouseBurglar Sun 18-Oct-20 10:52:01

Shouldnt your supervisor be able to mark a dissertation on any psych topic?
Only if it's their area of expertise- I would think.

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EarringsandLipstick Sun 18-Oct-20 10:54:25

DollhouseBurglar

The topic is a problem. Their research is interesting but no way I can expand on it. My current ideas lack originality.


Titchy has the perfect advice on this. You don't need to have 'new ideas'. You can take prior research & replicate eg in a different context or application.

I think it's v common at u/g level to feel a bit terrified about this, it probably felt mortifying with your supervisor but don't worry, they'll be able to support you.

I agree the department seems to have messed up but I am not sure changing topic will make a massive amount of difference.

Go back to your supervisor & explain your concerns.

DollhouseBurglar Sun 18-Oct-20 10:55:23

Can you look at what's been done in the past, and try to replicate to see if the previous results are still valid today

Difficult with COVID. Having to rely on questionnaires this year. Could use secondary data perhaps, but I'll have to ask to see if it could work.

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EarringsandLipstick Sun 18-Oct-20 10:56:24

When I met the supervisor he helped me come up with an idea on the spot and he said it would work. But I'm not feeling enthusiastic about it now.

Honestly, I'd just get on with it! It's an u/g dissertation. It's not worth all the chopping & changing and arguing with the Department.

You'll be fine.

DollhouseBurglar Sun 18-Oct-20 10:59:32

Thanks @RedComb

@EarringsandLipstick

Ok. Just want to do well on this project. Some students are talking about getting their work to a pubishable standard. I feel like I should be working towards that.

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DollhouseBurglar Sun 18-Oct-20 11:00:43

You'll be fine

Fingers crossed. Will force myself to find something I actually like about this project.

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Mychitchatdays Sun 18-Oct-20 11:07:04

You're over thinking it. Be careful of using secondary data, my dissertation must use primary data in some form.
Please don't worry about what others are doing it's an individual piece of work and listening to others apart from your supervisor is definitely a way of increasing your stress levels.

12309845653ghydrvj Sun 18-Oct-20 11:14:53

I think you’re overthinking it—the uni would likely have let you switch if you had a clear project in another area, but you don’t, and your supervisor has suggested a topic for you to do—so it’s somebrjnh you can get on with and get a decent mark. You found the topic generally interesting, so there will be plenty to enjoy.

Good luck!

titchy Sun 18-Oct-20 11:20:19

* When I met the supervisor he helped me come up with an idea on the spot and he said it would work. But I'm not feeling enthusiastic about it now.*

You don't need to feel enthusiastic, you just need to do it.

And everyone will be having a problem with covid, don't use that as an excuse. Your uni will have guidance on that one.

Chemenger Sun 18-Oct-20 11:24:16

I agree with titchy. It’s a UG dissertation, just do it. Don’t get sucked into some fantasy of another perfect project that you haven’t been allowed to do. Most UG dissertations are a little bit mundane, because they are so small scale in research scope.

noseresearch Sun 18-Oct-20 11:31:34

Please don't worry about what others are doing it's an individual piece of work and listening to others apart from your supervisor is definitely a way of increasing your stress levels.

This^
Good luck op, I’m also writing my dissertation this year. I don’t study psychology (another social science) but had a slightly similar experience in that I only got 2 weeks to decide on my broad topic. I was busy with other things, felt rushed and forced into choosing something on the night before.
However, I don’t think you have to be extremely passionate about the topic (I’m not), but my supervisor was reassuring and believed it’ll be fine so I’m just going to focus on moving forward with it.
Final year is busy enough as it is already, and I’d be worried if you are still only at the starting point now by changing the broad topic it may make things a little harder. (I’ve already started the literature review for mine for e.g)

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