Research: Evidence to do better

research.jpgEven prior to conducting an experiment or sample analysis, I found evidence. The evidence clearly suggested that the quality of sample analysis will be low. Though I have saved 64 (1cm x 1cm x 1cm) sugar cube pieces of my sample, I have already created a difference in sample dimension by cutting the rest into more than 300 smaller (0.5cm x 0.5cm x 0.5cm) sugar cube pieces. This difference from sample to sample will complicate my outcome data interpretation. My statistics professor would have referred this to “confounding variable” within an experimental design.

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The sample pile “contaminated” with confounding variable instantly became reprehensible in my sight. The worst part was that I had no more spare samples to virtually restart my sample preparation. My poor judgment resulted in hours of toil. Setting aside the disheartened clouds I brought, my professor simply told me that “I live with the consequence”. OSU research program helped me see many personal mistakes blossom into opportunity to carry on the courage to take responsibilities. The mistakes were not as catastrophic as breaking multi-billion dollar materials analysis equipment. However, the errors were realized when I lost consideration for others. I list below several of the mistakes I made.

  1. Different sized fonts
    During my research group meeting, my report slides were not reader-friendly because of the font sizes varied.
  2. Ambiguous definition
    I and my professor agreed on a step in procedures one day but the next day I found that my communication style was largely misleading. There is a big difference between “5 cm cube” and “five cubic cm cubes.”
  3. Failure to e-mail update about my schedule
    A graduate student had to rearrange his schedule because of me since I asked him to help me. I had to cancel my appointment with him and notified him too late. He wasn’t willing to help me afterwards.
  4. Experimental design lacks repetition
    Running multiple trials can strengthen my statistical data’s reliability.
  5. Sending emails to multiple recipients
    The email recipients should know who I am addressing for what part of the email. Otherwise the email recipients lose their time reading irrelevant part of my email.
  6. Not waiting for an email response
    Although I had plenty of time to wait, I executed a part of the procedure without consulting. Haste makes waste indeed and I should learn to prioritize decisions and planning more than saving time.All these mistakes helped pinpoint why my research project outcome may not have met my ambition or expectation. Because I know I could have approached differently, I gained confidence and I hope that others will also trust me in such kind of confidence.
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