I'm writing my thesis for an Engineering PhD. Our department has a tool for measuring trace metals (an ICP-OES) that I was supposed to use to collect my data.
Unfortunately this equipment proved to be unreliable, and at the time I did not know whether it was my experiment/hypothesis or the equipment that was at fault. I raised concerns about the equipment for years, but everyone brushed me off. It turns out that the equipment was defective after all.
I was awarded extra funding so that I could get samples analysed externally. These results were exactly what I had expected all along. My concern is that my thesis now seems pretty insignificant. If the equipment had worked from the beginning, I would have pursued several additional lines of inquiry.
At this point, there is no time/money to do more work; my advisor wants me to finish up. So: how should I address the rather modest scope of my research when writing and defending my thesis?