Here's what I learned when taking a critical eye to my failed works. They shared some themes:
- Lacked focus. The paper may have been better as a brainstorming piece to get me to the bigger picture, and should have been the precursor only.
- Tried desperately to force something. At one conference, our entire panel sat in disbelief as NO ONE attended our presentation. So, we decided to make use of the time, and devised a project. It was forced and never found a home. This can also happen when you try to manufacture a concept to fit a conference theme or merge too many researchers' interests into one piece.
- Rushed. Not leaving enough time to properly conceive the research design and collect the data is a recipe for a failed project.
- Failed to answer the so-what question. Just because you want a publication on your vitae does not mean a project really matters. I try to ask, who would care? Who can this help? What will the research mean?