the continuing data analysis process
This morning marks another small milestone in my Master’s project; the completion of another whole set of data processing from the cruise. Using a method tailored to delineate the stained populations, I finished the analysis for heterotrophic bacteria populations! This is still just an intermediate step because the next part of the process is combing the data and putting it back into a larger file for final calculations. At each step in the data analysis project, I’ve taken care to document the method I’m using such that it will be easy to follow the analysis reasoning I utilized. In essence, this equates to many profile plots and pdf’s! The organization of this project has been a unique challenge that has tested my ability to manage a project. Although I have been involved in larger research projects and also maintained data for a PI, this project was my own. I am in the unique position to determine every level of detail in the project from the file naming protocol, to the methods I use for sampling and analysis to how I present the data and organize it for archiving. I’ve settled on a combination of hardcopy and digital archiving that I hope works well for both my own needs and our lab in the future when someone might want to retrieve data or check something quickly. I have spent a lot of time in the past considering the consequences of poor organization. It is extremely important to the success and longevity of a research project to document your work with detail.
In other news, this past week we had a 3 hour cruise meeting that went well. Although the work was in-progress it was very interesting to see what folks were working on and discuss future collaborative plans. I’m looking forward to meeting folks again at the upcoming spring Ocean Sciences meeting. I have set aside the plotting analysis I was doing earlier this fall in favor for completing the data analysis but I hope to have a complete picture of my work such that the meeting will coincide well with the thesis writing process in the spring.