Life as a PhD student goes on. After a year and some months since starting this PhD at the University of Leicester, I could say with some confidence that by this time everyone started to conduct their experiments. What is the result of every one’s experiments?
A data base of course.
No matter how small or big, no matter the field of science, most of us have started to collect our first data.
Some would call it their first little baby and get all excited.
Until they come to this point where they have to put everything in order. This very moment when your data need to stop being some numbers or figures and need to take the form of results. And this is the moment when data analysis comes in. I don’t know if it is just me, but I have the feeling that most PhD students think that data analysis is not their most favorite part of the job.
First one needs to organize one’s approach. How will you get this fearful monster and crack it down?
Then, the suitable software to use for the case needs to be defined. And they are so many…statistical packages, others using coding others both, a maze one has to face (and it’s not the only one).
And finally, the time comes when after all this knowledge gained in statistics; coding etc etc needs to be put into practice.
So, this is when the nightmare begins. Where your data base is transformed into this fearful creature that hunts you down; in your sleep; during coffee; at any aspect of your life, ready to knock you down.
“Is my data base big enough?”
“Are my results statistically correct?”
“Is this the right approach?”
Questions like these come to your mind and fear that everything you did so far is wrong lurks in and replaces the feeling of excitement you once had (oh, poor naive little PhD student!)
The only thing you need to do next?
Face this fear as if it was a boggart. Treat it lightly and you will beat it; or fear it and it will eat you guts out.
A boggart has the form you give to it