This past week, I discovered that I had to pick a new thesis topic. I was having a lot of trouble finding enough data to work with so, after some discussion, my supervisor and I decided I’d be better off picking something else to work on. Stressful? Absolutely! It could be worse though. It’s better to discover data problems now instead of later, when I’m halfway through my thesis and may not have time to start from scratch.
Setbacks happen all the time in research. You need to safeguard yourself as much as possible. For example, if you require data, look for it before you do too much on the literature review side. I’m happy I did because I saved myself from a future headache and also learned a valuable lesson in the process. You can’t guarantee that you’ll find reliable data or enough data points to support your work so make no assumptions. Keeping an open line of communication with your supervisor is essential so that you can identify and resolve issues quickly.
If you come up against an issue with your research, don’t think that it’s the end of the world. Make a decision about how to tackle the issue, even if it means picking another topic (ugh), and move forward. You can do it!
Got a thesis horror story? Please share!