I'm the weak link on a Masterproject
July 25, 2017 9:03 PM   Subscribe

In high school and when I was an an undergrad I always led group projects and did almost all the work. In my Master program I was just kind of assigned a statistical data analysis job solely because I have the software for making analyses. The team leader doesn't like my work.

I sent over something to the team last night and It doesn't seem well received. This is the second time in recent history that I have ended up doing research type work without having the right skills. I'm a lit review type. I only have two weeks more but I don't want to let my group down. Suggestions?
posted by Che boludo! to Education (10 answers total)
Grad school project is probably better terminology.
posted by Che boludo! at 9:04 PM on July 25, 2017

What was their particular complaint about your work? If they don't have constructive criticism, and you don't know what you're doing wrong, there's not much to be done, except maybe contact your professor to see if they have any advice on how to carry out your particular project.
posted by runcibleshaw at 9:18 PM on July 25, 2017

It's an online class. "Can you redo your analysis"? That's all I have. I tried to arrange for a conference call and nobody responded.
posted by Che boludo! at 9:27 PM on July 25, 2017

I would recommend talking to the professor. Whereas in high school and undergrad people wanted to do as little work as possible in grad school people were a lot more competitive for the best parts of the project and tearing each other down like crabs in a bucket. If you need help with the work ask your professor. Don't worry about your classmates, because they are definitely not worrying about you.
posted by bleep at 9:28 PM on July 25, 2017 [2 favorites]

In a regular in-person collaboration, there would be casual moments where you would talk one-on-one with people and would have a chance to hear three or four words about your approach, their approach, past pet peeves, hating pie charts, why another group's project wasn't great because X, essentially tiny bits of context that would clue you in. With an online collaboration, every bit of information exchange has to be more deliberate. You're operating blind, in a way, because all that casual communication is denied you.

Maybe try one-on-one conversations. It feels dumb and intrusive to request one-on-one communication with people (especially if you already feel they kind of don't "like" you), but this gap has to be overcome, and you're the one who has to overcome it. Just approach gently and in a way that clearly communicates that you're not there to waste time, but ultimately to save time by making sure you're doing the right thing. Then, do ask one or two questions about them personally, their background or priorities, and what they as individuals take as good models.
posted by amtho at 3:18 AM on July 26, 2017

Given that it’s a Master’s program, students are expected to bring fundamental collaborative skills to the table; meaning people skills and problem-solving skills. Group work settings are supposed to simulate real-world professional situations. In my view, the two are more different than synonymous.

There’s still time to fix the problem. I would attempt another direct contact with the person wanting a redo. Their critique gives you nothing to act upon. If no joy after 24 hours, bring the professor in. A good professor will ask about each member's contribution which led to completing the group's task. At this point, it appears you’ve stayed on task.
posted by mountainblue at 8:22 AM on July 26, 2017

"Can you redo your analysis"

"Probably. I need you to be specific about what you're looking for."
posted by DarlingBri at 9:17 AM on July 26, 2017 [6 favorites]

I've tried to arrange for formal phone calls with no luck. In my mind, taking advantage of more personal communication like picking up the phone when email is not resolving a problem is a collaborative skill.
posted by Che boludo! at 8:09 PM on July 26, 2017

I tried to arrange for a conference call and nobody responded... In my mind, taking advantage of more personal communication like picking up the phone when email is not resolving a problem is a collaborative skill.

But from what you've said, you haven't tried to resolve the problem with email. You were told the analysis was not suitable and then you asked for a conference call. Just email and be super concise and straight forward about asking for the guidance you need. If it isn't forthcoming, involve the professor.
posted by DarlingBri at 10:15 PM on July 26, 2017

Have you already tried one-on-one calls with a couple of team members? If you're only talking to them as a group, not only is that more difficult to arrange, but each members' talk time is so constrained in a group that they may not feel they have time to say anything real.
posted by amtho at 5:52 PM on July 27, 2017

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