I reworked the on-topic section of the help centre to make it more helpful for its intended audience (new users), more specifically:
I referred to FAQs or other relevant Meta discussions where appropriate.
I added more guidance for some cases.
I moved some things around and included headings for better readability.
I mentioned some common off-topic and on-topic cases about which there seems to be a clear consensus.
I removed some convoluted wording around undergraduate and graduate students that are obsolete since one year or longer.
In my opinion, none of these changes should disagree with our definition of scope (as elaborated on Meta).
Please have a look and post an answer if you disagree with any changes or to suggest improvements.
Previous version (for reference)
What topics can I ask about here?
This site is for academics of all levels—from aspiring graduate and professional students to senior researchers—as well as anyone in or interested in research-related or research-adjacent fields.
If you have a question about...
- Life as a graduate student, postdoctoral researcher, university professor
- Transitioning from undergraduate to graduate researcher
- Inner workings of research departments
- Requirements and expectations of academicians
- University-level pedagogy
... then you're in the right place!
However, please do not ask questions about
- Undergraduate admissions
- Undergraduate life and culture (sports, nightlife, dorms, leaving the nest, etc.)
- Suggestions or recommendations for a university, journal, or research topic (a "shopping question")
- Preparation for a non-academic career ("What graduate degree will help me get a job as X?")
- The content of your research, rather than the process of doing research
Please also see: What types of questions should I avoid asking?
New users (even users familiar with the Stack Exchange format) are invited to read our introduction to the site before posting.
Academic customs and procedures vary greatly across countries, universities, fields, subfields, workgroups and so on. Please state your question with as much context as you can to help ensure that you’ll receive a directed, relevant answer.
Can I ask questions about my specific situation?
You should not ask a question that will help only you, but rather a question that will help people like you. If your question is so limited as to be useful only to you, consider broadening the scope so others can learn from your question as well. As a general rule, if you’re asking about a particular institution, course, or journal, it’s likely your question is too limited in scope. Try to extract the fundamental question from the specific problem at hand.
If your question is not specifically on-topic for Academia Stack Exchange, it may be on topic for another Stack Exchange site. If no site currently exists that will accept your question, you may commit to or propose a new site on Area 51, the place where new Stack Exchange communities are democratically created.