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anonymouse12

Advisor Expects Free Work

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Hi, I'd like some advice on whether the following situation is normal. I am in a clinical psychology PhD program. My advisor runs huge numbers of participants and expects the graduate students in her lab (we enter tied to a specific PI) to run those participants. This semester so far I have spent on average ~10 hours a week on lab work, plus more time (~5hours) a week on lab meetings and lab side projects. However, despite this, we are not necessarily on a research assistantship, but rather are expected to teach as well (another 20 hour/week commitment). I have never heard of this kind of situation, is this common?


Thanks!

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Depends on whether you can use the data for your own projects/papers, if you're going to be on a potentially published paper, etc.

I've also run data for my former advisor in 'exchange' to have access to previous data from him.

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Are you expected to be taking classes and doing your own research on top of that? If so, no way it's OK.

I'm not in your field, but at my university we're expected to do 19 hrs per week of RA or TA work to earn our keep on top of a 12-credit courseload that includes thesis hours - additional work for the advisor not directly related to the thesis would be a labor problem we could complain about to our grad student union. Before confronting your advisor, is there a department head, union rep, or graduate school representative you could discuss your situation with?

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I'm not sure I'm totally understanding your situation, but from what I do understand - yes, this is normal in psychology.

In a psychology department, it's pretty normal for a student's funding to be tied to a combination of research and teaching. Even if you are not 'technically' on a research assistantship for a given term or semester, it's pretty common (and expected) for a student to be assisting their PI with research in the lab. This is how you learn to do research, and also how you get the data you need to present papers at conferences and ultimately write papers.

It is rare for psychology PhD students to do independent research outside of their PI's lab. Usually your work, up to and including your dissertation research, is done under the auspices of the lab you belong to. In return, though, you usually coauthor papers with your PI and eventually work up to the point where you are first author on some papers.

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