I am new to this forum. I am encountering a problem in my doctoral studies that I haven't been able to find in an existing thread so I wanted to ask here. Any advice on how to navigate this would be very welcome.
I'm 2.5 years into my doctoral studies (geography) working under two co-advisors. Their areas of expertise broadly overlap with my dissertation topic, but the topic is my own, and I know the study area better than both of them. One advisor has been pressing for me to conduct a certain methods for social data collection that I knew wouldn't work (research fatigue is high in this area, distrust towards scientists without existing connections in these communities is a huge - if not insurmountable - obstacle). I tried to explain that these issues would make this type of social data collection very hard to pull off. I suppose I failed at this communication, because he pressed for this method all the same (with the rebuttal "science is hard"). Because he's an advisor I assumed he knew something I didn't, and I wrote up a dissertation proposal with this approach being used to answer one of my research questions (in my program a "dissertation" consists of three publication-ready papers). I emailed a few groups engaged in work in these communities. The reply I got was what I expected: they strongly advised against attempting to collect household surveys for the reasons I had tried to explain to my advisor before. I just got this reply today, I have not yet discussed it with my advisors.
This does not sink my entire research proposal necessarily, but only a portion of it. There are other methods of data collection and analysis I'm still working on to answer the other research questions. Furthermore I spoke to my other co-advisor earlier in the fall (not a social scientist) asking what my recourse is if the social data collection component falls through for the reasons I feared. I was told not to worry necessarily, that we could figure out a way to work around it.
That being said, I'm still worried. I'm worried that the advisor who pushed for the an approach that was ultimately dead-on-arrival doesn't fully understand my research. He's suggested approaches in the past that have turned out to be dead ends too. I'm also worried that I wasn't able to recognize this as a problem until I am 2.5 years into my program. The heavy initial course-load (full graduate course-load for the first two years) and first few research dead ends had me seeing the individual trees, not the forest. I'm sure a lot of this is my fault; I should have communicated better, I should have been more clear on what the expectations were. But now that I'm waking up to the fact that this is a problem, I'm not sure what to do about it. I have (excuse the lack of modesty) a good topic, and I think there's still a lot of value in seeing it through. I suppose I will have a better idea of what to do about this when we all meet next week, but an outsider perspective would be really valuable to me right now.
Thank you in advance