The Opposite of Insignificant

To get your PhD and pass the viva you have to make a significant, original contribution to your field. Candidates fret and worry about whether their work is significant. Have they done enough? Is it good enough? It’s not hard to doubt. Significant varies by discipline and by thesis. Expectations vary too. How do you know what significant looks like?

Maybe instead of getting tied up in knots about whether your research is significant we should see if it is insignificant.

Insignificant. Adjective: too small to be worth consideration or meaningless. See also: unimportant, trivial, negligible, inconsequential, flimsy, pointless, worthless and irrelevant.

That’s not your work. That’s not you. Right?

Ask questions about what your examiners will want to talk about, wonder if they will have comments or criticisms – but don’t doubt your work is significant. It means something.

Significant varies, but insignificant is clear, and insignificant is not you.