Every Monday morning, we have a lab meeting/journal club. The PhD students take turns delivering a presentation each week. The presentations alternate weekly between discussing a paper and a review of the PhD student’s progress on his or her project. Before the formal meeting begins, we have a round table for short up-dates of the non-presenting students’ projects.
This week, the student did an excellent job as he up-dated us on the current state of his project. He had previously reported a result that we had thought we had fully analyzed – but that was not all to the story. After reading additional published papers, this student went on to provide an alternative analysis and hypothesis for the result.
I was very excited and interested to hear about this new perspective. I was also happy to see students “thinking outside the box” – that is, not just accepting the first hypothesis that seemed reasonable and then moving on without questioning the current thinking.
This incident reminded me of my two daughters’ favourite Disney song, Dig A Little Deeper. Mama Odie sings this song in the Princess and the Frog movie.
I think digging a little deeper is a good message – not just for students but for all researchers. Dig a little deeper to find what you are looking for – dig deeper into your project. Look harder at your results for points that may have been missed. Research the literature harder and make sure you know the subject area in and out. Dig A Little Deeper.
I have been humming this song to myself all week, with a little smile on my face!