Today, I gave a pretty decent individual presentation for PSSM (political science study mission) class, but I think it was decent mostly because the professor is an idealist. My research idea about modernization and rural China is quite abstract and more explorative than rigorous, and I can think of other professors who would've shot it down for being too fluffy.
Technically, it is fluffy because I do not have scientifically worked out causal mechanisms to test and I won't get statistically solid numbers to work with when my research is done. But analytically, I think what I'm trying to do is very exciting and can shed light on and provide insights for where rural societies are headed.
It is just somewhat disconcerting at times that one's fortunes are so vulnerable to the biases and dispositions of those whose opinions matter.