I do not know who to credit for this saying but “data is currency of the graduate student” and that gets you far. But what is currency without a means to “exchange” it for “goods”?
This brings me to my current internal battle: outlining my first publishable unit. This will NOT be the first scientific publication with my name on it. HOWEVER, this could potentially be my first scientific publication in which I am the first name on it. In science that has how my currency gets me what I perceive to be “goods”. I need to show the powers that be that I can do the work and write the paper. I need to show them that I can think.
Now the easiest definition of goods is the diploma that is documentation of my completion of the PhD program. However, the degree is the least of the goods. You see the goods are the process, the growth, the training, etc. that are made tangible by the degree. The degree makes you credible to some extent, there are things that you need to have a PhD to do. In order to move on to certain levels of training that can only be accessed once you have a PhD. There are arenas in which a contingency of listening to what you have to say is that you have this degree. Follow me? So back to the unit…
Learning what is and how to articulate a publishable unit of knowledge, is one portion of the process. One clear benefit of working through this portion is thinking through the story or stories that your data is telling. The thought process helps you hypothesize and come up with new ideas. You learn how to search out missing pieces and decide what you need to do in order to fill in areas that may require more information. It is an exercise in critically thinking a project through to a deliverable package.
It’s an exercise all in its self. All in itself.