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Paper Checklist

  1. Read all of the feedback you get before drawing conclusions, starting to address any concerns, or giving up.
  2. Spell check before handing any work over, but also proof reed yourselves because spiel cheque canned catch everything. Get a peer, partner, or other person to read your work; if it doesn’t make sense to them, rework it.
  3. Edit beyond your prof’s comments (i.e. don’t just go through the track changes, go over the whole thing yourself).
  4. Do what your prof says unless you have a really good reason not to– if you find yourself consistently finding your supervisor wrong, find another supervisor. If you run out of supervisors to switch to, it might be time for some self reflection.
  5. If you think you know more than your supervisor, find a different one to challenge you rather than trying to prove how much you know. Alternatively, figure out what you can learn from this person because you probably don’t actually have nothing to learn from this person.
  6. Learn from your mistakes; don’t let them define you, don’t keep repeating them, and don’t blame your prof for them.
  7. Expect to come up against unforeseen problems and for everything to take longer than expected. No matter how good your supervisor is, they aren’t psychic and sometimes don’t see every potential issue in your project.
  8. Have the humility to accept that you will never be the best or the worst student. You’re somewhere above or below average, but regardless of where you fall in this imaginary ranking, you still earned your spot where you are.
  9. Be grateful, gracious and humble that your prof is helping you.
  10. But, remember, above all, it’s not your job to make your prof happy but it isyour prof’s job to advise and teach you how to do research. If your supervisor is belittling you, asking for personal favours, or otherwise leaving you feeling icky or with a sense that you are worth less as a person than them, break away and seek help from a supportive faculty member you can trust.

Written by Phyllis L. F. Rippey, Ph.D.