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Quote of the Day
Tuesday, January 10, 2006
Get Out of my Brain
Yesterday, while I was reading an obscure article for the dissertation, I had a brainstorm: the obscure article pointed me in the direction of a source of data I hadn't thought about before, a little-used procedure most people don't even know exists. The data, provided I could get ahold of them, would provide another interesting angle on my dissertation topic and a huge complement to my case studies. Brilliant! This morning, I set off in search of the actual data for the case studies I'm writing about, eventually dismayed by just how difficult this information is to find.
I decided to Google a few key terms to find other possible ways to get the information. Among my Google hits was the name of a professor at Well-Known University, a man who does the same type of work I do but who uses a different methodology. He's published all over the place -- it was after reading one of his articles, in fact, that I came up with the idea for my dissertation.
This guy drives me a little crazy, to be honest. I feel like he's always two steps ahead of my thinking. He's really good at what he does, his work is first-rate, he's a nice guy on top of it... but can't I come up with a good idea FIRST for once? In my Googling this morning I uncovered an unpublished, recent (i.e., written in the last few months) article by him using the EXACT same obscure data that I was just thinking of using in my dissertation. Granted, he doesn't use it in the way that I want to use it, but he does use it to prove a similar point to the one I'm making. This is not the first time this has happened. Throughout the prospectus and dissertation process, I have continually found that this man is on my same wavelength, making similar arguments using a different methodology. And he's FAST about it. This guy cranks out articles like pancakes.
Sure, he's a tenured professor with lots of experience. Sure, I'm a nobody professor-to-be who is just getting her feet wet in a very, very complicated subfield in which I've had no formal training (in that my graduate program had no one specializing in this subfield while I was taking classes). Sure, it's nice to know that my ideas aren't wacky, and that someone of his stature is onto the same things. But just once -- just ONCE -- I'd like to do something novel that he hasn't already done. And I'd like HIM to say -- just ONCE -- "That Prof. Me is just so doggone clever... why didn't I think of that?"