Fourth year student in Experimental Psychology who recently completed the minimum number of participants needed for data collection (although my advisor wants me to get more). I'm posting here since I recently found an error where I thought an answer had three responses (rather than the usual four responses compared to other questions. However, it turns out there were four answers all along). After I programmed it in E-Prime (software), I noticed that the three answers will show but the fourth slot (which I programmed as a blank) will duplicate one of the other answers.

My advisor told me this wouldn't be an issue for defending my dissertation at all after I brought it up to him. However, I'm concerned about my committee potentially holding me up some more based on me noticing this error recently and possibly collecting more data if they think I need to run a second study at all.

I'm worried about this primarily because my university just announced they're cutting their Clinical Psychology Ph.D program and one of my externals is a clinical faculty member.

Edit: I've realized after posting this that it may be too individualized for this website.

  • 3
    You are far far overthinking this. A minor error in a question does not threaten your dissertation. Jan 20 at 17:15

1 Answer 1


The advisor is most likely giving the best advice. They have the necessary judgement to know how it will work out.

But it sounds to me more like an issue with software than anything. Questions with three rather than four answers can certainly be valid, but the software may not deal with that correctly. It might affect your results unless you are careful with the analysis but that can be handled.

Trust your advisor. If necessary they will advocate for you if questions arise.

  • I edited my answer a bit but the original question had four answers. I mistakingly thought there were three the whole time. The duplication glitch was unexpected regardless but I definitely made an error regardless.
    – zzmondo1
    Jan 20 at 2:26

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