Tag Archives: impostor syndrome

March 13, 2012, 10:16 am

The Reluctant Expert

Photo by Flickr user raider of gin

When you choose a little-studied research topic, you are suddenly regarded as an expert on that topic. I conducted my doctoral dissertation research on a little-known creature in a remote part of the world, encountering many difficulties that quickly made it clear why no one else had done this before. By the time I was done with a year’s worth of fieldwork, another year’s worth of labwork, and compiling every bit of published information that had ever existed on this species, I felt like I had learned very little. From the point of view of the rest of the world, however, I was the leading expert on this animal.¬†Graduate students who were interested in studying the same species, documentary filmmakers who wanted to make a movie about the place, conservation organizations …

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