Annual report time

Photograph of Helen Keller: Radcliffe College. Copyright expired.

Photograph of Helen Keller: Radcliffe College. Copyright expired.

Annual report time is perilously close for many Australian post-graduate students. If you are one of them, I hope that you are well-prepared and have not been delaying submitting your report. If you have been proceeding well, and are not behind schedule with your research and write-up, you have probably submitted your report well ahead of the deadline.

The reports are usually only daunting when you have not been forthright in discussing your progress with your supervisor(s), and procrastination is unlikely to provide much relief because (unlike the actual thesis submission date), progress reports tend to have a firm, fixed deadline. If you do not submit your progress report you will certainly not be allowed to re-enroll next year.

If you have been trying to put the report out of your mind, my advice is simple. Don’t. If you rarely discuss your progress with your supervisor, you might be apprehensive about broaching the topic of your annual report. However, it is worth remembering that your supervisor is almost certainly your best ally in the event that you have had problems and are behind schedule. Talking to your supervisor about things that might have slowed your progress might seem a little like being sent to see the principal at school, but there is little to be lost, and everything to gain by being open with them. The bottom line is, “Do you think your supervisor wants you to continue?” If the answer is “yes”, then even if you get chewed-out for being tardy and behind schedule, they are likely to help you draft your report so that it puts such progress as you have made in the best possible light. Furthermore, if you think your supervisor is of the belief that you should not continue your studies, then it is better that you know early than discover the unpleasant news on the deadline for submission of the report.

Contributors: Mark R. Diamond