I dated a piano major in college and I tried
- with very limited success, to learn how to play the piano myself. She told me
- “If you’re going to make a mistake
- make a loud mistake.” You don’t want to play the piano nervously and hesitantly. The same is true in research.
If you deviate from a well-established research norm
- do so boldly and explicitly. Say something like “Although this quasi-experimental study has some limitations
- it avoids many of the well-documented problems with a randomized trial” And then elaborate. Don’t apologize for your research design. Brag about how it is the best approach for this particular problem and explain what advantages it offers over a randomized trial.
A bold approach sounds dangerous
- but actually a timid approach will hurt you here. If you use an approach that is commonly thought to be weaker
- and you avoid talking about it in the hope that whoever is reviewing your work won’t notice
- bad things will happen. They will hold the weaker approach against you anyway
- but they will also conclude that you are naive and unable to recognize the well-known flaws of your approach.