When I found the IDA programme, and I looked through the courses it offered I saw a list: Traineeship 1, Traineeship 2, International Traineeship… the reasonable question I had was if that means I get to learn what I want, from researchers who are in top in their fields. Well, count me in.
I am currently in the middle of my first traineeship and I love it! I am working with prof. Marcel van Assen from the Department of Methodology and Statistics on a hands-on traineeship, with the objective of assessing and documenting the quality of reported results from two journals in the field of Psychology. We want to see if the reporting of statistics improved over the years in the two journals. For this, we make use, for example, of statcheck (https://rpubs.com/michelenuijten/statcheckmanual). Statcheck is an R package that extracts statistical results from research papers and recalculates the p-values given the reported test statistic and the degrees of freedom, in order to signal any errors in the reported p-values. This is important as these errors could affect, for example, the outcomes of the meta-analyses that are later done. These could be just honest mistakes done when copying the results, or questionable research practices, resulting from a pressure to find significant results. I never thought about all the ways research is prone to error, and I love that I am learning now what it means to do good research.
I am meeting with prof. van Assen every week (for a period of 2 months) and we discuss what I have worked on during the previous week, what can we do more, what challenges I encountered. The meetings are very practical and helpful. I have a great mentor, and I am learning a lot!