This post is also a bit of a follow up to this one: Found an error in one of the questions that appeared on screen for my dissertation study. Could this be an issue for my dissertation defense?

Due to a glitch, there was an error in the answers for one of the questions of my study. I didn't change it once I found out because data collection was already underway but did tell my supervisior about it about a month ago.

I bring that up since, although my advisor told me things are alright data wise, I'm thinking that how long I didn't tell him may be an issue if that comes to light via an audit or something. My advisor even thinks the issue is so minor that my corrected version (which I'm going to collect data for soon) that I'll need to combine the data I've collected for my dissertation and follow up into one analysis. He even went as far as telling me that I don't need to tell my committee about the error I made at all, especially since the error was constant across participants.

On that note, I've had similar things with my Master's thesis and qualifier project. My Master's thesis was changed after COVID hit to defend my pilot study and pilot study data instead. I didn't need to repropose. For my doctoral candidacy qualifier project, I found an error where 2.6% of data for one analysis was effectively lost since the measures for that stimulus were 0 ms (this basically meant the software didn't record data for that stimulus across all participants). Like my dissertation, this error was also constant. My advisor at the time told me to not worry about it in my proposal nor when I wrote revisions for my proposal after I passed with revisions.

I'm a bit concerned about this now. If I were to get audited by the IRB or some other outside party over these things, would it cause any sort of issue for me (e.g., my degrees, program progress, etc.)?


1 Answer 1


This is not the answer you expect, nor, I imagine, the one you want, but I believe it to be a necessary answer.

The real answer is that you have an anxiety problem, probably of a degree that would be identified as an an anxiety disorder ... and it is that problem for which you should seek professional help.

I'll repeat that. You should consider seeking professional help.

Crystal-ball based reassurance on SE Academia is most unlikely to help. You might be reassured about this question. There will be another tomorrow. That is the nature of anxiety disorders.

Your post is over 500 words long and most of those 500 words don't concisely ask a question. You say that you had to try to squeeze your whole question into the 50 character title (you didn't, and most people don't try!) by omitting essential words.

And your question is a follow-on to several other questions in the same vein ... "Is it possible that disaster X could befall me?"

The answer to that question is most definitely yes. Unexpected disaster can strike at any time. With what likelihood? So close to zero for some things that we might as well call it zero. For other things, there are black-swan events ... because the probability distribution is heavy-tailed. An auditor coming and checking your thesis and that in turn leading to disaster, well, that would most definitely be a black-swan event!

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