Please don't laugh. I'm trying for an Ig Nobel.
What I lack are the resources to inspire me to write a paper worthy of an Ig Nobel. I lack proper support and guidance. Most of my lecturers are PhD scholars themselves struggling with their own papers. Ego in academia may prevent them from assisting me in my paper.
First, let me say that I love your attitude. Academia could stand to enjoy a bit more humor, especially when applied productively. Some of that's been lost when people are afraid to step out of place or appear unprofessional; but, if you're aiming for the stars, you'll be in good company if you're relaxed.
I'm currently a CompSci&Engg
, I'd recommend:
Say that you want to find some desired relationship in your data. You do a regression, but the results aren't really convincing. What then? Well, clearly, you just picked the wrong regression model. So, you try a bunch of 'em 'til it works, including a bunch of correction methods for confounders, and once you find a statistically significant result, clearly that was the correct model all along. p<0.05, because it's science, yo.
Clearly I'm joking, right? Unfortunately not. There're a lot of unbound degrees of freedom in practiced experimental design and data analysis; these unbound degrees of freedom are optimized for reportability, leading to skewed data analyses. It's like doing machine learning, except everything's training data; no validation set until someone comes along to do it later.
It seems perfect because:
It's an extremely important topic.
1. It's important
From "Experts issue warning on problems with P values" (2016):
“It is a safe bet that people have suffered or died because scientists (and editors, regulators, journalists and others) have used significance tests to interpret results,” Rothman wrote.
They're not being overly dramatic. A lot of medical literature reports findings that just don't follow, guiding future research in fruitless directions as people who have medical problems today spend their time downing snake oil.
For a quick intro, the American Statistical Association (ASA) provides "The ASA's Statement on p-Values: Context, Process, and Purpose" (2016). The overall problem's called the reproducibility crisis.
2. It's under-researched
While we know that it's a huge problem, I haven't seen good studies into how it keeps happening or effective initiatives to improve the situation.
For an undergrad thesis worthy of an Ig Nobel prize, you could do something like come up with a clear, consistent methodology for turning arbitrary experimental data into results that'd be considered valid by currently practiced standards. Ultimately, your goal is to produce a methodology for "proving" any conclusion you like with p<0.01, or something like that, then use this methodology to "prove" all sorts of absurd results.
Off-hand, I'd try this:
Get an experimental data set.
Try to fit it to a regression model.
If the results are "significant", record.
Repeat Steps (2)-(3) once for each possible combination of:
Regression model. (Use linear, exponential, log, polynomials, etc..)
Repeat Step (4) for various experimental setups.
Report the most "statistically significant" result.
Include disclaimers about how the results are preliminary and that more research is needed to determine significance.
3. It's funny
If it's on xkcd, it's funny. (Proof: Randomly sampled a few comics; analyzed for various definitions of "funny" 'til I found one that fit; p<0.05.)
Seriously though, this is the sort of project that if you do well, then add a bit of flavor with funny comics that anyone can understand (like this xkcd), you could easily make headline news. Plus a few new memes!
Do it for the memes, man. If you don't, who will?
5. Profit: Ig Nobel
If you write a thesis on how to "scientifically" prove anything, then use it to prove a bunch of silly non-sense, it seems like you should get an Ig Nobel. Plus a lot more fame; again, it's an extremely important topic that needs more public awareness, both within academia and outside of it.
If they don't give you one, I'd write you up an Ig Ig Nobel. I'll even print it off on the back of a napkin, egregia cum laude, if the thesis is good enough!