Thursday, March 29, 2007

Why the Hell Don't They Just Say So?

Goddammit. Here's another example of statistical mumbo-jumbo that turns out to be so fucking simple the grandtwins could do it. I spent an hour on the phone - in tears - Monday with Statsguy trying to figure out what the statistical tests mean so that I can write about them in a semi-intelligent manner. Of course he's helped a zillion ABDs reach their PhDs and because he does it all the time, it's easy for him. It's not for me. He kept telling me, "Don't worry about the math part or what it means, just report it." He didn't seem to understand that my school is really, really into the "philosophy" part of the PhD. They like deep meaning and explanations so detailed you want to bash your own head in with a tire iron. I had to get off the phone with the guy because I was about ready to detonate. Trust me, nobody needs to be subjected to that.

So my busy schedule and I finally calmed down enough to tackle writing up the proposed data analysis today when I got home from teaching (would you believe those horny buggers wanted to talk about sex again, today?). At any rate I thought the best way to see how it's done (not the sex but the proposed data analysis) is to just look up a few pieces of research with statistical analyses similar to the one I'm planning and use them as models for what I need to get done.

Well I'll be go to hell if each of the half dozen or so articles I pulled up didn't have just a single paragraph of maybe four or five sentences dedicated to the statistical tests to be used. Not only that, but they were succinct and direct. There was no prattling on about it either, just, "We're going to use these couple of tests for parametric data and these couple of tests for nonparametric data." That's it. Here I was trying to imbue some kind of meaning like a good student in my program should and it's not necessary. Motherfucker. Why don't they just say this shit in the first place?

(cue gnashing of teeth)


Natalia said...

Oh do I ever feel you on this. I am in the midst of data collection hell right now. It's quite horrid. I seem to have more questions than answers in my head.


drsharna said...

That is decidedly not fun. I wish you much patience and focus to get it finished. Fortunately (or not), my data are archival and exist in a database at the hospital where I did my neuropsych training. The big challenge now is getting everything to fall into place according to the newly-even-more-accelerated timeline.

Stay tuned - more on that tomorrow morning - right after I slash my throat.