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Tuesday, February 19, 2008

I've been waiting

One of the most frustrating aspects of my research life lately has been waiting for data. When I left the desert, I left a lot of samples for the lab tech there to run (the process of leaving the samples could be a post of its own!). These samples make up the most exciting, sexy parts of my dissertation. I was very confident that my work would get done quickly, with few problems. We agreed on a deadline of Jan 2008.
Well, equipment broke and then other equipment broke and then this and that and the other. Now, 6 months later, I am still waiting for data*. There seems to be an 'out of sight, out of mind' mentality about my samples despite my persistant calls, setting of deadlines and general bitchiness towards folks I like and don't enjoy being bitchy to. One one hand, I will end up doing it all myself when I return to the desert, which will decrease my guilt about having a tech do a portion of my dissertation benchwork. On the other hand, the analyses might not work. Which will leave me with very little time to change direction let alone come up with new experiments or, you know- do them.
So, how do I get my samples? My new strategy is to ask for only small number of the samples completed. I can figure out my analyses on a small scale before finishing the bulk of them myself. But I have to get the small number of samples still**. I will see the tech at a conference in April. The head of the desert lab is aware of the issue although has not resulted in much progress. My advisor has no relationship with the lab so can't help me. Besides calling frequently and emails I am not sure what else to do. Any suggestions?

*Not just waiting, of course. There was the teaching and I am getting data on other experiments and even other aspects of that experiment.
**I with they could just send them to me but it is impossible to get them at my home university.

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Blogger frog-o-phobic said...

Ugh, how frustrating! My brother went through a similar thing, when a piece of equipment in his (shared) lab broke and no one wanted to pay to have is fixed. After almost a year (!) of waiting, he ended up having to drive several states away to have the work done by another lab. Luckily, I only suffered from my own procrastination in grad school. ;)

What is the tech waiting for? Do you think he/she is working on other stuff? Could it be procrastination due to lack of knowing how to get started/lack of confidence?

8:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Perhaps spring break at DO is called for so you can get some of it done

9:23 AM  
Blogger ScienceGirl said...

How frustrating! I hope you get your samples soon (and everything goes as planned).

1:33 AM  
Blogger Wayfarer Scientista said...

Don't have any advice but offer up my sympathy on the frustrating situation.

11:25 PM  

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