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Dissertating 11 October 28, 2008

Posted by Brian L. Belen in Academically Speaking.

Yes, it’s been a while since the last update. Such is what happens when life (in general), work (in particular), and dissertation (in perpetuity) intersect. So here’re the four most relevant developments since the last installment of dissertating:

Wrong. What does one do after spending months crunching numbers of data only to learn there was a mistake in the dataset itself? Freak out. Get over it. Move on. Seriously! After churning out those graphs in the last installment something about the charts didn’t sit well with me. True enough, there was a mistake in how I computed some of the information in the base dataset. That’s what happens when working with three different sources of data in two different currencies. In view of this, my dad saw fit to quote Samuel Clemens: “There are lies, damn lies, and there are statistics.”

Whoa! How’d I do that again? Because I only get to work on my research for hours at a time, and sometimes with days going by without doing so at all, while learning how to use R on the fly, it’s been a trying few weeks realizing that I don’t remember exactly how my econometric programming code actually works. Fortunately, the notes I insert into the code are reasonably meticulous, and so after staring at it for a while I manage to get back nearly to where I left off. Nevertheless, it’s a sobering reminder that I have to get around to working on the research on a more frequent and regular basis.

Upgrade. When I started my research, I made a conscious effort not to upgrade my existing version of R (2.4.1) because I was wary of whether newer versions would work with the code I already had up and running. Until, that is, I realized that there were updates that could make my life so much easier. So I did, and thus ensued a tense day of figuring out why the program wasn’t behaving the way it used to. In the end, it was a day wasted troubleshooting but well worth it. Also, I learned that R doesn’t overwrite older versions but rather chucks them away in separate folders, which theoretically means that I can go back and use the older one if things don’t exactly work out. I was aware that R had such a feature, but only now do I appreciate it.

Intermediate Goal. It appears that the BSP (Philippine Central Bank) will be having a conference on remittances in March of next year and have an ongoing call for papers that will close in December. My adviser and I agree that this is a good goal to shoot for, so I’m in the process of putting together a working (i.e. readable) draft of what I have so far in the hope that I make the deadline. Here’s hoping that I do.



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