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For my research masters, one graded activity is to undertake a piece of research and present findings.

We collected data and the analysis part was self-assigned to one member and myself. The analysis and results ultimately presented by the team member was very basic, and included nothing more than a sum, count and percentage of responses presented in an excel graph.

The supervisor responded that he was unable to follow findings and suggested advanced analysis.

I then undertook this work, redid the analysis in R, and presented the findings in an advanced/visual form, using regression analysis and correlation matrices and suggested the group explore data/findings and suggest additional hypotheses to test.

The member who originally did the analysis feels let down and asked meaningless, trivial and baseless questions when I presented findings, in an effort to discredit my work. She felt I was trying to better her.

The supervisor is yet to comment on the validity/usefulness of my analysis work.

In my earlier degree, I gained a good understanding of research methods and statistics. However, this person, from what I’ve seen, does not seem familiar with fundamental research concepts or statistical methods.

How do I handle this situation?

How important is it to regress to ideas that everyone is comfortable with to avoid challenges like these?

  • Why not simply take a little time to explain to her what she seems to be having difficulties with? – David Feb 13 at 16:16
  • @David, I’m afraid that doing so might come across as patronising. As such, the team member is defensive when I explain a concept. She resorts to googling bog standard and well known drawbacks of anything I explain and using that to raise concern. – AK16 Feb 13 at 16:24
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    Someone commented (the comment has now disappeared) that it’s best I let go. I think this is what I should and will do. I wonder how many groups lose out on good scores due to team members unwilling to learn or admit so do e may know more? Ah..well. – AK16 Feb 13 at 16:46
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    This seems to be more about interpersonal relations than academia. – Buffy Feb 13 at 17:30
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    The group research exercise is academic and consequently will affect my grades. – AK16 Feb 13 at 17:32
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You don't have to do anything with this situation any more - your colleague is clearly feeling uncomfortable about it and as you said in comments, reaching out to her now might very easily come across as patronising.

For the next time, I'd advise going through the analysis with her before presenting to the group. Ideally, you'd do this a couple of times as your analysis progresses, and take her initial results as a starting point.

In analyses and presentations, you should never shy away from using complex methods if you feel they are necessary. However, you should also be able to explain them in such a way that your whole audience can understand what you are doing and why.

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