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decent

International conference without data

4 posts in this topic

Posted (edited)

Earlier this semester my phd advisor asked if I'd like to go to an international conference.  I assumed I'd have a fly on the wall position since I've shifted fields a bit in my research since my masters.  About two weeks ago, my advisor submits a topic for me to present on for a 30 minute presentation!  I've spent the henceforth two weeks investigating the topic.  Not only do I not have experience in this area experimentally, even if things went PERFECT to plan, it would be just a couple a days before I'd have results before departing, let alone competent analysis.  The university contingent has already bought my transportation--much earlier in the year in fact before I knew of any presentation plans.  EDIT: I should mention the conference travel starts at the end of May.

I'm just really stuck on how to have an honest conversation that this is not feasible.  Any thoughts on how to approach this or fresh perspectives?

Edited by decent
clarify date

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Well, it seems like you need to have a conversation with your advisor, and sooner rather than later. Raise this concern about having sufficient material to present on and enough time to craft the presentation and ask for their advice on how to handle this. I'm not sure I understood how your presentation was accepted if there was no data when the abstract was submitted, so this is all a bit odd. But the most reasonable strategy would be either to withdraw, or if that isn't an option, have a presentation that is more about the idea and setup of the experiment(?) or study, predictions, plus perhaps preliminary results, and a discussion of the importance of the topic. Most of those are things you could get started on now, so you can put the presentation together with plenty of time to spare. And this is where your advisor can come in: ask for help in putting together the presentation in terms of structure and content, and specifically what you can do now, and what will happen if you don't have results in time, or if they are inconclusive. Just discuss how a presentation could go in that case, and see what your advisor has to say. (And approach this as: (1) what can I do now? (2) what would I do if the results are inconclusive, and (3) I worry that this might happen very last minute, and that stresses me out as a young student; I wouldn't use words like impossible or not feasible, just words like difficult or worry.)

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Thanks for your reply.  Yes, no abstract submitted. Just the advisor's title.

I think it reinforces the larger question in my mind: "If this is academia, do I want to be a part of it?"  I think that's only something I can answer.

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