Confessions of a PhD Student (12): I need a wow factor

So… I have finished my data collection and analysis. Or so I want to believe. I have interesting information that enables me to answer my research questions. I have identified key conclusions. I also have lots of extra data that I can use for other studies. It seems that I am all set to write my thesis, have my Viva, and get my PhD… But why do I feel that something is still missing?

I cannot shake away that feeling… A PhD is supposed to provide a meaningful contribution to the academic community. Are my findings meaningful enough? How can I know? Meaningful for whom? Who is the academic community? Me? My participants? You?

I would not be worried if I had a wow factor. A wow factor is very useful in academic writings. It is something that makes the audience think: Wow. I hadn’t thought of that before. If you have a wow factor, it is highly likely that your contribution is meaningful, or at least, that it will be regarded as such.

Unfortunately, I do not have a wow factor. I need one. Does it have to do with the actual data or with the way of presenting the data? That is a tricky question. I am not sure. I want to say: Both. You need to have something new and present it in an engaging way. We could even represent the wow factor using the following equation:

exciting data + exciting presentation = wow factor

But honestly, I think that you could have quite a boring finding (my intervention was unsuccessful), present it in an original way (today I will show you how to ruin an intervention) and achieve a wow factor (wow; what an interesting, insightful presentation). So our equation is simply:

|data| + exciting presentation = wow factor

Is achieving the wow factor manipulation or effective communication? That is another tricky question. And again, I am not sure what the answer is. I want to say: It is effective communication. And since that sounds nicer, that is my answer. But let me know if you disagree. I would love to know your reasons.

Meanwhile I will look for my wow factor. I think my findings are interesting enough (but I am passionate about my work, so what else could I say?). I just need an effective way of communicating them and thus, making a meaningful contribution for the academic community.

Leave a comment


  1. Einstein se pasó toda su vida buscando otro wow factor después de su teoría de la relatividad sin exito. Podría decirse que es una cuestión de suerte. Creo que lo realmente importante es que encuentres cosas que son importantes para ti, si otros las encuentran útiles ya es una ganancia adicional.

  2. Lo significativo para mí, ya lo tengo. Pero me queda claro que si no tengo una contribución significativa para el mundo académico, no me darán el doctorado.


Leave a Reply to OlympicGod Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: