Signup date: 06 Feb 2012 at 1:50am
Last login: 05 Jul 2016 at 2:09pm
Post count: 54
Writing the methods section drags so much.
Writes out protocol >> can't remember where he bought a particular reagent or enzyme >> hasn't written that info in his lab book >> has to log in to stores ordering section of the intranet to check.
Remember kids, write everything down. I mean EVERYTHING!
Totally dependent on context. I'm likely to go into Agricultural Consulting when I'm done and if a farmer asked I'd err more towards the plant pathology side of my work. If a physicist or someone like that asked I'd talk to them about the structural biology side of my work.
If someone on the street asked I'd probably just say 'Molecular Biology' as a generic catch all term.
From the start I knew what I wanted to do. That changed when those experiments went to a bit of a dead end, got parcelled up as a 'negative result' chapter. Took about a year to figure out what I'd do from there. But that year involved a lot of valuable troubleshooting and thinking.
I have one supervisor who is my lab's PI but a couple of other advisors who are PIs. Not directly related to my project but there to impartially make sure me and my primary supervisor aren't chasing down a blind alley to Masters land.
A little over 6 months out. One draft chapter submitted, great progress on another (and I write very quickly) so happy with that. Data collection session on Saturday (at a synchrotron facility) which should give me the data I really need to nail down the crystal structure of the protein I work on, which would be a big deal and make me feel so much more confident. And had my final meeting with my committee two weeks ago who weren't at all concerned, rated my progress as good and just helped me solidify the key experiments in my mind. Of which there are three which are very achievable.
All in all I'm feeling good. Leaving work at just after 6pm which is the earliest in months. Going to hit the gym as my hobby (powerlifting) is the thing really keeping me sane and then make some notes for how I want to structure a results chapter that I haven't started yet but have all the data for.
A night away from a damned computer screen!!! I can enjoy eating and thinking about experiments I won't have time to do before submitting!
I've not experienced a similar situation myself although I'm aware of people who have. The answer is quite clearly yes. If your results have been obtained through good experimentation then they need to see the light of day. No question. We have to be honest and we can't bury anything that doesn't confirm what has been found previously. We need to be open and talk about why they don't confirm what was found previously.
I always feel like this and find it helpful to re-cap what you have achieved. I always forget one of my chapters is on a protein I found does not do what it's predicted to. That's not massively exciting but it's a result and it's a 'contribution' to the field, albeit a small one.
As for the rest of my work, I remind myself I've done loads of work so far and I'm just falling at the last hurdles. It'll be deeply unsatisfactory to me to finish without the results I want but I'll probably still pass. The 'end point' in my RCUK funded PhD is pretty arbitrary and to not have the perfect, finished project by the end is not a mark of failure.
I don't post much at all on here but here goes:
I'm approaching the final 7-8 months of a 4 year PhD (hard deadline, my institution will not allow submissions after that).
I'm now really struggling. If all the stuff I've got planned between now and the end experimentally comes off I know I'll be fine but I can't help but feel like it won't work. I have a niggling feeling that all my work to date is built on sand and my supervisors haven't told me. I also feel like I know the square root of nothing about my field. I feel like I'm lazy and bad at my work but my advisory panel haven't told me in one of the 3x yearly meetings we have.
I recently submitted my proposed thesis outline and my advisors came back saying it was good, only suggesting some minor changes to the themes in the general introduction. Despite this I feel like I've actually got no chance of passing this thing and that my advisors have just lied to me for an easy life or to avoid stressful/time consuming managing out. I realise that rationally this is ludicrous because it hurts their chances of future funding to have students get to submission then fail their viva, so they really don't want it to happen. I just can't get over this nagging feeling and it's crushing me to the point of self sabotage where I'm now actively procrastinating.
Having a paper trail (an online paper trail) that demonstrates the idea was yours gives you some recourse to action but as far as legally protecting a research proposal goes... that would be very difficult unless the idea was totally novel and not obvious given prior work in the field. It would be very easy for an expert in the field to claim they arrived at the idea independently and it would be on you to prove that they didn't.
Really you'd need a signed, dated and witnessed log of how you developed your idea and I doubt you have that. Besides, what's going to happen if the professor used your idea and you took legal action? Can you demonstrate that the idea was going to make a stack of money that you would miss out on?
Just preface the correspondence with "I trust this will remain confidential." and hope for the best.
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