We don't talk enough about how advisor/departmental funding for studies and stipends radically changes your graduate school and research experience. But I just had two cups of coffee, so I have decided to yell about it in this thread.

For context... (1/x) 🧵
As far as graduate students go, I have been around the block. I have a BA, an MS, and I am entering the fourth year of a PhD (all in psychology). I've worked in several labs in different areas in various capacities, ranging from research assistant to lab manager to co-PI. (2/x)
As a psychology PhD student, my options for recruitment are: a) psychology participant pool, b) online recruitment sites, c) media/community. The latter two usually (but not always) require some form of compensation for participants, making the first the optimal choice. (3/x)
However, participant pools are extremely limited in diversity, and data takes *substantially* longer to collect. For example, 400 data points can be collected in a matter of minutes online, but the same data could take up to a year using a participant pool. (4/x)
Online data are notoriously messy & online participants often fail attention checks, skip questions, or speed through. But so, too, do undergraduate participants who are not compensated for their time & know they receive credit, regardless of whether they pay attention. (5/x)
What this effectively means is that, without funding for research, studies are restricted to what the psychology participant pool parameters will permit, demographics are constrained, and data generally can only be collected for one semester or year (PSYCH 1000). (6/x)
Of course, students may obtain their own funding & many do (myself included). In fact, it can be argued that lack of funding incentivizes grant-writing. But there is no guarantee of receiving external grants & many take months to write & hear about. Wasted research time. (7/x)
Many universities do a poor job of preparing students to write grants. Often, students are left to find their own opportunities for funding, and departments do not provide clarity on or examples of how to write a proper grant. Advisors can help. But, again, no guarantee. (8/x)
Some grants/funding sources require graduate students to pay up front and get reimbursed. This is not fair, either, as most graduate students cannot front these funds on their own (see below for breakdown of funding). Further, if a funded project fails, then what? (10/x)
In my opinion, without providing adequate funding to conduct research studies, and without specifically training students on how to write grants, universities are setting graduate students up to fail on the postdoc/academic job market. (11/x)
Guaranteed funding for graduate student projects increases the possibilities of our research. We can try new, creative, & innovative projects. We can learn without a crippling fear of failure or disappointment. We can pay our participants and access hard-to-reach samples. (12/x)
The same goes for stipends. I don't know how it works at every university, but some graduate students (myself included) are only paid 8 months of the year (for their TA positions), and are expected to "figure it out" in the summers (while still producing, of course!). (13/x)
What this means is that the minimal compensation we get for our TA/RA duties must be budgeted for summer. Let's say, hypothetically, we receive $1600 CAD/month for 8 months of the year. That means we can only spend $1066 CAD/month if we want to eat/pay rent in the summer.(14/x)
What this also means is that our total take-home for the year is below the poverty line. If that seems ridiculously and unfair, hi, hello, welcome to graduate school, where most of us use the food bank and can barely afford our rent. Even with a BA, MS, and (almost) a PhD. (15/x)
Without guaranteed summer funding & without livable stipends, graduate students are stressed above & beyond the stress of **graduate school**. Many go into debt or are forced to take extra jobs. Of course, all of this is even more complicated for international students... (16/x)
whose work options are limited due to visa restrictions and for whom tuition is often higher. Many universities specifically seek out international students but fail to provide adequate supports for them, financially or culturally. (17/x)
Anyway, all this to say, give graduate students money so that we can do the things we are required to do to survive graduate school. (18/18)
You can follow @jacasiegel.
Tip: mention @twtextapp on a Twitter thread with the keyword “unroll” to get a link to it.

Latest Threads Unrolled: