Principles, Values, Context and the Dissertation Process


Posted April 6, 2012

Principle and Values

To get what you want out of life, you have to align your values with the principles of the world.  Values are what you consider important, and they may or may not be unique to you.  You may believe that pain is bad and to be avoided at all costs, while others may believe that pain is an opportunity for a lesson and that it allows you to become stronger.   Principles are fundamental truths about the world.  Principles exist regardless of our moods and preferences.  Gravity is a principle—if you jump off a building, you always go down, you never go up.  When your values and the principles of the world are in synch, the world is a nice place to live, when they are in conflict, you may experience frustration and feel hopeless.

The dissertation process is a unique experience where you get the opportunity to align your values with your school’s or mentor's principles.  For example, you may not believe that the IRB or URR should not take two months of your time and tuition while the reality is that the IRB or URR does take 2 months.  There are many other situations that values and principles may come in contact with each other: the topic you choose and your advisor’s acceptance of that choice, when the committee convenes, how many revisions to make, qualitative or quantitative methods, data collection methods, statistical assistance, when you should graduate, and others.   One of my jobs in this newsletter is to point out these potential differences, and ask you to see how you may better align your values with the principles of the world and your University.

Context

Our perception of the world is influenced by context.  The rectangle image at the beginning of this newsletter shows five squares of the exact same color, yet the differences in hue are based on the context of the color that each square is set upon; so too is our perception of reality colored, not only by what exists, but by the context and background that surrounds us.  Opportunities, challenges, graduation timeframes and dissertation tasks, all happen in context of our lives, our family’s lives, our health, our workload and other values that we hold.  Realizing that we are not seeing reality for what it is, but rather a reality in context, may help us gain a fresh perspective and perhaps change our behaviors based on these new perspectives.

I hope this newsletter was helpful in distinguishing values from principles, thinking how to align them, and perhaps aligning them with the perspective of context.

We wish you the best,
Statistics Solutions Team

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