How My Dissertation is Going: Part One in a Long Series

February 2nd, 2007

The past week has been full of numbers. I’ve been examining the relationship between femur length and stature, hoping to find a sound way to estimate the latter with the former. Regression is the way to go, but what kind? Most studies have settled on linear regression but there is an inherent bias in its calculation. I’m trying to find alternatives. With the help of my advisor I think I found something that eliminates the bias completely. That gave me some sense of satisfaction.

Next on my list of things to do is to finish my dissertation proposal. It sounds backwards, and it is. I had a really hard time trying to write a proposal when I finally decided on a research topic. The scientific method starts with coming up with a hypothesis, but in reality it often starts with a sudden thought in the shower, or during a sleepless night. Doing statistical work is also not something that has a definite ending where my experiment is done and my question is answered. One result leads to more thinking (and another revelation in the shower) which leads to more testing and so on. I got so caught up in the actual work that I left the proposal behind.

The graduate school requires that I do have a proposal however, as they should. It’s a good organizational tool for myself to get my thoughts straight and for my committee whom would like to know what I’m up to. So ironically I’m taking a short break from my work to write a good proposal… for my work. I already have a few drafts done and comments from my advisor. I just have to find them again and read them.


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