I am currently writing a proposal for a new research topic in my field of system biology. This proposal will determine what I will be working on for the next couple of years.
However, I am running into disagreement with my advisor on the viability of the research proposal. I think he is completely in the wrong on this one and I cannot convince him otherwise (after talking to him), and the research proposal is due soon.
Essentially, his vision is that a new method X (of a class of methods) might work "better" than exisiting method Y on our problem. So I should do research on method X for the next two-three years. I should put into my proposal that method X could work "better" than Y.
However, I am convinced that there is no evidence that method X will perform better than method Y on our problem.
My argument is that
- Comparing method X and method Y is like comparing apple with oranges. Method Z is the one that should be compared with method Y. But it is already known that method Z does not yield benefits as compared to method Y. In fact, they are the same, just different order of execution.
- There has been no evidence that any method X has performed better than method Y for any related problems.
- In fact, some instances of method X is the same as method Y. So the problem is ill-posed.
- Other researchers are already aware of method X, but they do not use it. We can all guess why.
I think the line of research is fundamentally wrong and I cannot convince myself to write up a research proposal on something I disagree with and imagine spending the rest of my research career on. I almost feel like he is trying to fail me, because I read his rationale for pursuing this problem (benefits of method X) and the rationales were wrong or very hard to arrive at a conclusion at the present moment. Plus he is definitely not an expert in method X in any sense.
I am lost as to what to do. The proposal is due in 5 days and I cannot bring myself to write a single word. To be honest it feels like I am writing utter bullshit. I do not have time to quickly check method X (because it is an entire class of methods with some variations) and to compare with method Y in order to come up with evidence that it is indeed better.
Is there anyone out there who had these sorts of disagreement with their advisor on a research direction and how did you solve it?