Team members made serious mistake

(9 Posts)
user1469530553 Mon 29-Apr-19 20:39:27

I am coming to the end of a MSc. I am part of a 7 person team who have been working on a project which forms part of our assessment. Two of the team members have seriously screwed up, with the result that the data the rest of us have worked with and built on during the project is completely wrong. They set up and ran the initial experiment and everything we have done since relies on their data. There is no time left to repeat the work.

The support from the tutor has been poor. She set us off, and disappeared off to do her lucrative commercial work and now has come back and noticed the error and is panicking and blaming us. She has said in so many words “don’t be blaming each other for this, you’re all masters students and all part of the team.”

I’m very sad, as apart from this project I was expecting a merit/distinction. I’m a very mature student, so this is my last go round at education in a new field.

Should I put in my report that they screwed up, or just accept that as part of the team I am equally responsible?

OP’s posts: |
parietal Mon 29-Apr-19 23:24:29

if you write a good intro + discussion to your report, you can still get a good grade even if the data is a bit rubbish.

does the report have an official section to set out who contributed what? if so, that might be useful to say 'data collection by A and B'.

but were the rest of the team also responsible for checking the quality of data collection? It seems odd to rely on just two people for such a critical stage.

SarahAndQuack Tue 30-Apr-19 09:41:53

Yes, I'm sure the tutor was off doing 'her lucrative commercial work' rather than hand-holding postgraduate students. hmm

Don't you think it might have been part of the learning experience to work as a team? I can see it is irritating if people responsible for one part of the job made bad mistakes, but in the real-time context for which you're being trained, you'd check work you relied on, wouldn't you?

user1469530553 Tue 30-Apr-19 10:05:21

Thanks for the replies. Having slept on it, I think you’re right. We all screwed up by assuming the two knew what they were doing when they volunteered for that part. We all took different tasks to get the project done, and met up regularly to share progress, but none of us checked the others work.

Ah well I suppose it’s a learning experience. Thank you.

OP’s posts: |
BeansandRice Tue 30-Apr-19 12:34:04

Make a point of being open about the error, and how it was discovered, and what you learnt from this.

Not so much what you learned in terms of team-working etc, but about the data and how they were acquired & used, and what you would do differently next time.

Show what you've all learned from this about the science.

BeansandRice Tue 30-Apr-19 12:35:48

Meant to add - this could be a very interesting & positive discussion of failure via negative results. Make it productive about the knowledge, not that team members screwed up.

user1469530553 Wed 01-May-19 10:21:00

Thank you @beansandrice, that’s what I plan to do.

OP’s posts: |
BeansandRice Wed 01-May-19 13:13:18

Good luck, OP. You could all say something about research design as well - reflect on how a revised research design could have included a system of checking each other’s data and so on.

As an examiner, I’d be quite impressed with that sort of constructive reflection.

CuriousaboutSamphire Wed 01-May-19 13:24:51

yes. Remember it is an MSc, you are not required to have totallly verifiable info. If you use the error, explain it in detail, you may not lose m/any marks.

Just as everyone else will you will write up the results and then pick them apart. Your 'What to do better next time' section will be one of the more meaningful ones your diss tutor will ever have read smile

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