It’s that time again! It’s the Summer Dissertation Challenge. Our online challenges span 6 months each: Winter Challenge [January – July] and Summer Challenge [July – December.]

Welcome to the Dissertation House On-line, Summer 2013 season! This page will be active from July 2013 – December 2013.  Congratulations to all of our new PhDs who finished those dissertations last season!  (See our “Alumni” page!) We have online participants in the Dissertation House (DH) from several states in the US and countries in the world. Those “DHers” who participate in person come from universities throughout Maryland, with sponsorship from the National Science Foundation’s PROMISE: Maryland’s Alliance for Graduate Education and the Professoriate (AGEP), and funding from the graduate schools at UMBC, the University of Maryland College Park, and the University of Maryland Baltimore – The Founding Campus. Through the PROMISE Pathways initiatives, all doctoral students within the University System of Maryland have a special invitation to join us online, and you have opportunities to join us in person if you register in advance.

Dr. Wendy Carter-Veale is your “Head Coach.” Dr. Carter-Veale will be conducting “in-person” Dissertation Houses at UMBC and the University of Maryland College Park in July 2013. Our pre-registered participants from campuses in Maryland are required to blog in daily during their time in the Dissertation House, and are encouraged to continue blogging until they finish their dissertations. Whether you are in a doctoral program in Maryland, or pursuing your PhD at another school outside of Maryland, YOU are invited to join us, online using this page,  from your location, from any state in the U.S. or any country in the world.  Take the challenge to finish your dissertation! Just do the following:

  1. Go to the comment section below and introduce yourself (name, school, department.)
  2. Tell us what you are working on and what you plan to accomplish today or over the next few days.
  3. Blog in daily, preferably twice a day (morning and afternoon/evening) to report your goals for the day, your daily accomplishments, and your goals for the next day.

Our graduates and participants pushed (and we do mean that they pushed through adversities, complications, and issues) to finish sections, get chapter approval from advisors, complete drafts, pass proposals, pass defenses, and turn in their final documents. These grads are now professors, working in non-profits, industry, and have had postdocs throughout the global academic community (e.g., France, South Africa, Egypt.)  For those of you who have joined us in the past, you can join us again if you are still working on your document. We’re here to cheer you on! This page is dedicated to all of you who will be spending the next several months working on your dissertations. This page will be open from July 2013 until December 2013.

Join the larger academic community of dissertation writers across the globe.  Start posting your goals for the next six months here. Don’t work alone, you have an online community. You don’t even have to use your real name.  Focus on completion.

383 responses to “Summer 2013 Challenge”

  1. WELCOME to Summer 2013!

    Our Head Coach, Dr. Wendy Carter-Veale, reminds you of the following ways that you can use this site:

    * Work on your dissertation

    * Work on your comprehensive exams. Think about the number of questions that you have to answer, and days that you have until you will submit the exam. Give yourself a deadline for each answer.

    * Complete your dissertation proposal. Did you apply for IRB approval? How many interviews can you transcribe in a few months? How about completing that methods, results, discussion chapter, or literature review? Pick one.

    Welcome to the Summer 2013 DH Blog! We’ll see you here between now and December 2013!

  2. Charemi A. Jones Avatar
    Charemi A. Jones

    I’m a 6th year doctoral student at DePaul University. After devoting 3.5 years of my life to my original dissertation, I changed topics. I hit a severe roadblock after not getting much positive support on my original topic (will be revisiting). It took another year for me to recharge myself. 120 articles later, I’m trying to complete my Literature Review. With a 2.5 year old and working full-time, it gets a bit rough. I work on my paper during breaks at work, and late at night, after the baby goes to sleep. I think I’ve finally found my voice.
    I just feel overwhelmed!!!

    1. Hi Charemi! Welcome to the DH blog! We have a rule in the DH which amounts to giving your advisor what he/she wants. Dr. Carter-Veale’s mantra is “a good dissertation is a DONE dissertation.” Now that you’ve found your voice, know that you can do this. Several of our DHers went through the DH pregnant, with toddlers, with children with special needs, etc. Can you take some “time off” from work to work on your dissertation? Perhaps a planned out month where you use some vacation or personal time, AND utilize some options for help with your child (family, friends, church members, neighbors)? We recommend planning something like this for a set period of time, e.g., 1 month or 2 weeks. In the meanwhile, we’ll look forward to having you join us. Post your goals for the day … make it reasonable and measurable. At the end of the day, check in again and post your accomplishment. We’ll see you here.

    2. Hi Charemi! First off, congrats on getting this far – it shows real dedication. I just graduated and I have a 2.5 year old too. Like you, I did a lot of work in the evenings after bedtime. One thing that really helped me was to sit down with my husband and tell him how much it would help if he would take on more of the housework while I made the last push in getting the dissertation done. He cooked, cleaned, vacuumed – you name it. Now, some meals were made with stuff from the freezer section, but no one went hungry. The house looked a little ragged around the edges, but we got through. I just had to give up the notion that I could do it all and ask for help. Maybe you have other people who can help. We had friends who did playdates with our son, and my parents even helped out while we were on vacation so I could get some data analysis in. I know it is overwhelming, but you don’t have to do it all at once – it gets done 15 minutes at a time. Good luck – you’re in the right place!

      1. Thanks for checking in Dr. Lisa V!

    3. Welcome Charemi – you’ll find lots of support here. Many of us have experienced the same setbacks. I too have 2 children – when I started the PhD program they were 3 and 18 mos. old. They are now 10 and 8! But I see light at the end of the tunnel – my defense is less than 2 months away.

      Dr. C-V recommends breaking down your tasks into manageable chunks so you don’t get overwhelmed.

    4. Dr. Sheila K. Jones Avatar
      Dr. Sheila K. Jones

      Hello – Im new to this place, but you go Charemi, going after your dream! As a mom of # small gals, in the same place you find yourself, I learned that working in the early hours of the morning was key to getting my EdD. Yes, taking time from work is preferred to be sure, but once home you still need a schedule that works for you. At the end of the day, I was not productive. I would put the girls down, take care of clean-up and such, and lay out breakfast even to get the morning going more smoothly. I would then turn in at a decent hour with my alarm set for 4 AM. Once up – I would be fresh – could take on my research or writing, with no phones, no interruptions and could knock out twice as much work. Then would get the girls up and do the day. The guilt and sense of discouragement was removed as well making me a better MOM, WIFE and STUDENT. Keep on keeping on Gal – get your stride on and it will make the world of difference. Best to you as you conquer your dream! < Dr. Sheila K. Jones 🙂

  3. Good morning all you DHer’s at UMBC. I am joining you remotely from my office in York, PA.

    I have 51 days to go until my defense on Aug. 28th. My goals for today are to finish revising Chapter 4 and send to my mentor for review.

    Wishing you a productive day at DH on this hot summer day!

    1. Counting down Kelley!!! Excited for you!

    2. Hello Kelly
      Tick tock until the 28th. We wish you all the best.

    3. Hi Kelley!! I live in York PA too! If you feel you want to get together at some point, for a mini-DH, or to practice your presentation, let me know!!

  4. Charemi A. Jones Avatar
    Charemi A. Jones

    Thank you so much everyone for the encouragement! Taking time off is not really an option. I am a full time police officer here in Chicago, and full time mother to my adopted great nephew.
    Today I breathed a sigh of relief after submitting Chapter 1 to my chair. I’m just awaiting feedback while continuing to plug away at my Literature Review.
    I also received a blessing from a friend of mine who defended her dissertation three weeks ago. She and another person in her cohort, who successfully defended last weekend, are going to be “checking in on me and another friend of ours twice a week” , so we can compete this task.

  5. Good Morning

    Welcome to the Dissertation House. Today is the first day of the Summer 2013 Dissertation house at UMBC. If you are joining us online we start promptly at No excuses.. You will be joining the rest of the 16 students who are here with me face to face. Ready, set , go. Post your goals for the next 4 days.

  6. Hello Everyone,
    This is Nadwa – although I am not with the group in person this morning – I am with you in spirit. I will be reporting on progress regularly this week and reading everyone’s blog for inspiration.
    I just defended my proposal on June 17th and immediately started working on the recommendations/suggestions. Good news; finished the 1st essay of the dissertation, submitted to ILreview and got a revise and resubmit. For the rest of the summer, I will be working on finishing the second essay and working on the revisions for the journal.
    Today – I am doing some descriptive statistics and running regression for the second essay.
    Good luck everyone –

    1. Good to “see” you Nadwa! I’m so glad that you’re still able to join us. I’ll look forward to seeing your completed goals!

  7. Good morning DH….My name is Nicole and this is my second time at DH. It was very helpful to me the last time and I am back to finish up the rest of my dissertation (hopefully this week). Lets get to work everyone!

  8. Charemi A. Jones Avatar
    Charemi A. Jones

    Good morning everyone! I will be working on my Literature Review today. My goal is to complete at least two sub headings. Although I do have an outline, I seem to be constantly revising it!

  9. Good morning DH. My name is Sammie and this is my first time at DH. My goal for this week is to complete my introduction section.

  10. Hi DH friends,
    Looking forward to completing items on my to do list and staying motivated and on task.
    We can all get through this with positive energy from one another!!! Good luck!

    1. Good to see you again Christine! Thank you for bringing your positive energy with you!

  11. First day of Dissertation House and ready to go! Let’s go, all!

  12. Satarupa Joardar Avatar
    Satarupa Joardar

    Hello everyone,
    Satarupa from the LLC program. My goal for the day is to finish the 2-page theoretical framework paper my committee asked for at my proposal defense a month ago. Planning to send it off end of day. Have a para on it.
    Happy working!

  13. Good morning everyone!! So excited to be participating in Dissertation House this year. I have several goals although the main one is to start the introduction of chapter 2. I just keep putting it off because is not really what I am familiar with, but I will do my best to finish it during this week.
    Cheers and good luck to everyone!!

  14. good morning DH…I am Navid…It is so exciting coming back to the DH.

  15. DH Day 1: Sooooo ready and excited to knock this historical analysis chapter out…here we go!!

  16. Good Morning. My name is Leigh. I’m a 7th year student in UMBC’s Education Policy Dissertation program. Due to a plethora of family, committee and data constraints, I’m struggling to move forward but have devoted summer 2013 to create a plan on when and how to complete it…and then actually EXECUTE the plan. For the next few days I will reassess my methodology outline, specifically: identify the data points I’m collecting from each state, the way in which I will analyze those data points, and how I will organize them. I anticipate having to conduct interviews so I will draft some of those questions and I also hope to get at least one state done by Friday, July 12, 5pm.

  17. Benita Rashaw Avatar
    Benita Rashaw

    Day 1 of the Dissertation House and I am so excited. I met with Dr. Carter-Veale and she gave me some good pointers on how to “tell the story” of my research in preparation for my proposal defense.

  18. So at the end of Day 1 of DH, I have worked on editing and formatting of chapter 1. I have also worked on a few edits on chapter 2 and 3. I think it was a good day. I look forward to tomorrow working on more of my edits for chapter 2 and 3 and get those chapters formatted as well. See ya’ll tomorrow!

  19. Day 1. Check! Tomorrow I will move past making outlines and looking over previous student’s dissertations. My goal for tomorrow is to actually put words on paper…

    1. Good goal! Push to do this, no matter what. It’s worth the push.

  20. Charemi A. Jones Avatar
    Charemi A. Jones

    Completed some editing of two sub topics and found some additional resources. I know I’ve reached resource saturation, but I keep finding articles. Help!!! How do I stop?!

    1. Use what you have and write, write, write. Then meet with your advisor. He/she might have additional sources that you’ll need to add, so you need to save room for that addition. You can add other things later. If you think that you’ve covered the landscape, from the top journals in the field, then stop looking. Make sure that you have the publications that are considered standards for your field, e.g., from the “fathers and mothers” of the discipline.

  21. Can I finished a nontraditional dissertation (i.e., autoethnography) within 6-9months if I focused on it FT?

    1. Yes, It depends if you already have your data gathered.

  22. GM DH! Hot diggity, stuck to my guns and did some extra work last night. I was able to complete my new methodology outline and sent it to my Chair. While he reads/comments on it, I’ll be trying out my first sample with the new methodology. Fingers crossed!

  23. Good morning DH…I hope we have another great day all together.

  24. Good morning everyone,
    Hope everyone had a productive day yesterday.
    Today, I will running descriptive stats & regressions for my second essay. I will be sharing the results with my adviser and getting feedback.

    Good day everyone.

  25. Good morning everyone. I am excited to get some work today. Working on edits for chapter 2 and 3. Lets get some work done today! Good luck everyone!

  26. Good Morning!! Ready to start checking things off the to do list and get it done! Have a productive day everyone!

  27. Finally I have words on paper! It’s early in the day and I’m already happy with the progress of my introduction. I decided that instead of trying to write the intro section in order, I would focus on the areas I know most about and proceed from there…

  28. Charemi A. Jones Avatar
    Charemi A. Jones

    Good morning!
    Settled down at work, with settled mind.
    Today should allow for a better flow of ideas. . .plugging away at my Literature Review. “I have saturated my topic and will work with what I have.” By the end of the week I hope to have something substantive enough to have a meaning meeting with my chair.

  29. Satarupa Joardar Avatar
    Satarupa Joardar

    Day 2 update: reached my 2-page goal. Actually have 8-pages on my theoretical framework note. Sent it to my advisors just now. Will start looking at my data as I wait for their feedback. Onward, DH-ers!

  30. Mid-Day-2 update: Great day for communication. Have exchanged drafts with my Chair and got a reply back from a government agency IN THE SAME DAY clarifying access to data. Hope all is going well for others!

  31. Day 2 and I have finished my goal, which was to create an outline for Chapter 5 of my dissertation. Tomorrow I will work on outlining content analysis because after defending my proposal and starting my data analysis, I realized I needed to change methods, which means revisions to my methodology chapter. Best Wishes to everyone else.

  32. So today was frustrating but good. This morning I tried to work on some statistical analysis that wasn’t quite successful but was able to edit chapters 1,2,3 and 4. As well as revise parts of chapter 3.
    Tomorrow’s goals will be to work more on the statistical analysis for this figure, format the dissertation to graduate school guidelines and work on some edits and revisions for the journal publication.
    Great day!!! See everyone tomorrow morning!

  33. Well I succeeded at getting a good start on my introduction today by focusing on the “easier parts”. Now that those portions are done, tomorrow I will focus on the “tougher” portions of my intro.

  34. Charemi A. Jones Avatar
    Charemi A. Jones

    Good evening! Today I found my writing flowed a whole lot easier. My Literature Review is coming together! (I know I can! I know I can!) Still more to come…

  35. DH day 2. I wasn’t able to complete my projected goals today before 5pm, so I had to work on some edits this evening. I am glad to report I was finished….until I checked my email and saw my DC sent me the final edits in preparation for my proposal. I created a to do list for tomorrow so I can get busy. Good night all!

  36. Day 2 was quite productive. I finished with chapter 2 revisions and am moving on to chapter 2! Took longer than I thought to complete the edits….Good night and see you all sooner than later!!!

  37. Day 3 -working on methods

  38. DH Day 3… Let’s go!

  39. Day 3, we can get through this….press on! Have a productive day everyone!

  40. Day 3- Ready to start!!

  41. Here on Day 3. Need to keep ironing out my data collection and analysis.

    1. You go girl!

  42. Here we go! Go team!

  43. Day 3: Literature Review Frankenstein work today.

    1. Good luck!

  44. Good morning DH. Here to working on formatting and journal publication revisions.

  45. Morning,
    More data work and regressions…

  46. Good Morning! Day 3 at DH! I’m ready to get moving. I have more edits and a follow up with my DC today.

  47. Sooo… It’s Day 3 of Dissertation House and I think (scratch that, I know) I’ve been posting in the wrong place! My experience thus far in a nutshell. Day 1 – excitement and energy about goal setting and jumpstarting the dissertation process. Ended the day teaching at College Park from 7-10 PM. Day 2 – Exhausted, but had a few lightbulb moments including the realization that a couple of my goals might be too far ahead of where I actually am. My one-on-one meeting with Dr. Carter-Veale helped me to reprioritize. Ended the day enjoying the Orioles game (work-life balance, right?). Looking forward to Day 3 and very thankful for the opportunity to participate in this experience.

    1. Sounds like a lot on your plate but you seem to be handling it well… Seems exhaustion doesn’t necessarily hinder insight, so keep it up!

  48. Satarupa Joardar Avatar
    Satarupa Joardar

    Day 3 morning goal: read two theory articles and summarize.

    1. Sounds like it’s time to bite the bullet and get to the data.

  49. Forgot to mention today’s goal: Reviewing and revising my theory section.

  50. It’s day three, but it’s my first day of blogging. On day 1 I did all the edits to chapter 3 of my dissertation and I created a table of contents. On day 2 I spent my time creating a new figure for chapter 3, as well as starting to redo the analyses for chapter 4. Today I will work on the methods section for chapter 4, as well as continuing to work on the analyses. This is my second time in dissertation house and I would recommend it for everyone! It really helped me figure out why I was procrastinating and how to avoid it.

    1. Better late than never, welcome to the DH blog. Glad to see that got some work done in the DH.

  51. Charemi A. Jones Avatar
    Charemi A. Jones

    Good morning DH members!
    I will be editing my first section of the Literature Review today, and hopefully will be able to get additional sections completed.

    1. So Charemi
      Did you accomplished what you set out to do? How complete is your LR now from 1-100%

  52. Day 3 of the Dissertation House. Welcome back. I today is the first day joining us that’s ok too.This morning we had media training. This afternoon we will hear from a DH Alum (Dr. Carlos Cortes) about his experience in the DH and his experience finishing his dissertation. We are eagerly looking forward to this presentation in about 1/2 hour,

    1. It was great to hear about Carlos’s experiences at DH and what helped him get through the process. Thanks Carlos

    2. Benita Rashaw Avatar
      Benita Rashaw

      Dr. Cortes was very personable and shared his story. He reaffirmed a lot for me!

  53. DH Day 3!! Since Tuesday I’ve made SO much progress. By breaking down what I have left to do into sections, I’ve minimized some of my anxiety and writer’s block and have started crossing things off my list. I’ve also slowly but surely began letting go of the need for everything to be perfect and just been writing. It really feels freeing and is much more conducive to getting the work done. I’m excited that in these couple of days I’ve gained so much that I can carry with me into the future from tips for my proposal defense, how to interact with my advisor, and presentation skills. One of my fellow LLCers said something to the effect that she has gotten more done in the last couple of days than she has in the past 6 months–I definitely know the feeling, and it feels good!

    1. I also meant to mention that my goal for the rest of the day is to complete the conclusion section for my historical analysis. I plan to continue to work for a few hours when I get home, and my hope is to knock out the genealogy section at that time.

  54. Brenda Holden Avatar
    Brenda Holden

    Hi DH members,
    Today is day 3 of my dissertation house experience. I find the information and the mini-lectures very informative. One day 1, I meet with Dr. Carter-Veale to clarify my topic (statement of purpose). On day 2, my goal was to gather data for the literature review. After much searching for information and sending documents to my email account, the information was lost.

    So today is another day and I must continue the process and get things done.


    1. Brenda

      Sorry to hear about the information going out into internet heaven. It happens but it can only get better. Joyce Meyers would say “No tests no testimony”

  55. Backing up a little to address the items in the introduction:

    1.Go to the comment section below and introduce yourself (name, school, department.)
    My name is Kathy and I am entering my 5th year as a part time student in the Gerontology program here at UMBC. By day, I am the academic director of Gerontology and Behavioral Sciences at UMUC in Largo which is a predominantly online university catering to non-traditional students.

    2.Tell us what you are working on and what you plan to accomplish today or over the next few days.
    My goals for DH were to read 2 dissertations on my topic (ageism and health outcomes), work on an outline of my lit review, refine my research questions, create a timeline, and investigate existing longitudinal datasets.

    In Days 1 and 2, I read the 2 dissertations, and read some other articles that are helping me to identify gaps in the literature in the hopes that this will help me with my research questions. I was able to create two timelines, one for Fall 2014 and one for Spring 2015. Since I’m very early in the process, I need to figure out what is realistic, and by comparing timelines, I can see that I probably need to aim for Spring 2015. After meeting with Dr. Carter-Veale in Day 2, I am working to re-organize my approach in thinking about how to create a cohesive and concise lit review. I think this will take not a little amount of work, but this effort should make the actual process of writing much more efficient and clear.

    My goals for Day 3 are to investigate existing datasets and to sketch out the overall structure of the literature review. Have done a little of both so far today. I’ve learned that not all information about datasets (e.g. measures and materials) can be obtained without special permission. I’m happiest about putting together a very rough sketch of my ideas by telling myself the “story” of my research. Devoting this afternoon to more of the same.

    My goal for Day 4 is to take the ideas that I’ve sketched out and create an outline.


  56. Had I realized how wrinkly this methods section would be, I would have fired up the iron a long time ago. Regardless, I think it’s almost ready to wear. Better yet, I think my advisor agrees too!

    1. Yay you–bet it will look great!

  57. Benita Rashaw Avatar
    Benita Rashaw

    I just had a “praise” report from my DC. I had a scheduled telephone call with her today to discuss revisions/edits of in preparation for my proposal defense and provide her of an update of my progress at DH. She came me clear and concise comments. She only had 3 revisions…hear that, 3! I will spend the rest of the afternoon working on the revisions. It’s looking like I will have to go back to the hotel and do some work in order to stay on course. DH has been a great experience. Drs. Carter-Veale and Tull are amazing women! I’ve truly enjoyed the mini-lectures (especially today with Dr. Cortes). I have to remember K.I.S.S.!

    1. Congrats on only 3 revisions!! That’s awesome!!

      1. Benita Rashaw Avatar
        Benita Rashaw

        Thanks! I’m sitting here struggling with APA formatting. Do you have any information on APA? I’m about to do a blog (plea for HELP)! LOL

  58. Benita Rashaw Avatar
    Benita Rashaw

    The room is so quiet so I will not make an announcement :-). Does anyone have information on APA formatting for dissertations? I specifically need insight on formatting chapter headers and subheaders The newest APA manual (6th ed) is no help. Hopefully, someone has a useful document. If so, please email it to at Thanks in advance.

    1. Hi Benita –

      I use the Purdue site on APA formatting quite a bit. Here’s what they say about headings – hope it helps:


      1. I use that website a lot also!!!

  59. Day 3 Conclusion: Today I worked on editing my Theory/Methods section for my dissertation. My method of critical textual analysis is a very theoretical method, so my adviser and I decided to combine the chapter. Anyway, I managed to refine the section on Discourse, Power, and Knowledge, Definitions and Theoretical Perspectives, the section on Symbolic Violence in the American News Media’s Discourse on “Honor-Killings” and the section on the American News Media as an Institution. So that’s about 7 pages. Tomorrow, I will write out the section on my data section and collect and hopefully get to the section on Critical Textual Analysis. Best Wishes to Everyone Else.

  60. Today went pretty well. I am getting tired, but I managed to learn some new strategies for getting items done efficiently and in ways that will encourage me to continue working, and I completed two portions of theory section edits. I plan to continue plugging along on the theory section tomorrow. Hope everyone has a wonderful evening! See you tomorrow! :o)

  61. Day 4 done and only 1 to go!!! Made a ton of edits to Chapter 2 and hope to complete them tomorrow. Time to go sit in traffic and get home to the kiddos! Have a great evening everyone!

  62. Hello there. Today I read some comments a committee member had on my proposal, as a refresher. I read articles and examined supporting information for the case studies I will conduct. Not sure that I will do interviews since I’ve found a study with interviews answers information very similar to the interviews I am considering conducting…I am also still debating my sample size for the case studies. Tonight, I am going to read the research document containing the already-conducted-interviews to make a final decision (and then run it by my Chair). Tomorrow I am also going to expand my methodology outline to include the type of supplemental data I will analyze for these case studies, much of which is from the website and is also contained in these interviews. To do all this, I am going to gather data from one of the sample case studies so I can see where the speed bumps lie. I don’t know that it’ll be done tomorrow but my HARD and FAST deadline is before Tuesday since I want to get it to my chair before he leaves the country for a few weeks. Hope everyone else’s day was just as productive!!!

  63. My Frankenstein literature review is up and running! It’s not pretty, but it’s functional. I’m hoping to finesse it even more tomorrow with the hopes of cleaning any loose ends up over the weekend so that I can get it to my advisers next week.

  64. Today I completed the body politics portion of my historical analysis. It was great to check something off. I began to tackle the genealogy portion this afternoon, and realized that I need to break the information down into some sort of visual timeline to make it more manageable first. I plan to do that this evening, so I can have a head start on that section tomorrow. My hope is to get the genealogy and negotiations portions of the paper/chapter done tomorrow, which will leave only editing to do.

  65. It’s the end of day three. Today I wanted to get some work done on my Chapter 4 methods section and to get some of the analyses done. Happily, I did that and more. I also worked on other sections of chapter 4, and put some time into organizing my dissertation in the correct format using the template. I also worked on my general introduction section.

  66. Satarupa Joardar Avatar
    Satarupa Joardar

    Day 3 goal partially achieved. Read two theory articles. Summarized 1 and will do the other tomorrow. Day 4 goal: start organizing and coding Twitter data, something I have been avoiding due to the bulk of the data. Promise I will open it tomorrow morning!

  67. Hello!! Today I finished writing the introduction of chapter 2 and started editing what I had of the methodology, it was a very productive day because I was just sitting on this introduction for a couple of months and not really “in the mood” for writing. Tomorrow I will focus on the general introduction of the dissertation so that can be READY next week (and put a little check mark next to it)!!
    WE CAN DO IT!!! 🙂

  68. Brenda Holden Avatar
    Brenda Holden

    Today, I outline terms and topics to formalize the research topic. I read Dr. Carter’s book – How to Select a Viable Thesis or Dissertation Topic.
    Tonight I will continue to read articles and publications on minority leadership and community development.

  69. Today
    95% of my material and methods
    70% of my results
    Hope I can finish the first draft for my paper 1!

  70. Benita Rashaw Avatar
    Benita Rashaw

    The end of day 3 at DH. I worked on my revisions/edits all day. I was even able to update my interview model. I am proud of myself! I still have to go back to the hotel and review one section (comparing leadership experience and leadership development)…that should be fun! I have to start my Powerpoint tomorrow. I’m excited to pick Dr. Carter’s brain tomorrow for during our one-on-one (I’m drinking ALL of the koolaid). The morning should be entertaining with the 2 minute morning shows! Good evening all.

  71. Charemi A. Jones Avatar
    Charemi A. Jones

    Today was a little slow. Not much additional writing/editing today. Literally walked into the side view mirror of a large pickup truck; sore left shoulder joint…(ouch!)
    Tomorrow will be better!

  72. Day 3.. done! Although today wasn’t as “easy” as yesterday was it was productive. I started out my day with an email from my advisor saying you should take a look at these 3 papers at some point, meaning read them right now. So I did. I later briefly spoke with my advisor for about 10minutes and she mentioned the 3 papers. Not only was I able to say that I read the papers, but I was able to talk specifics (since I had just finished reading them). That felt great, so when I got back to DH I was fully motivated to focus on my intro section. Yesterday I jumped around from subsection to subsection without as much focus since the topic I was writing about was more familiar to me. Today I decided to tackle and finish a specific subsection. I’m 3-4 sentences away from accomplishing that goal, and even though the day is over I’m going to stay in the room until it’s done!

    Tomorrow I will move on to the next subsection, and continuously remind myself to not be obsessed with everything being perfect.

    1. Way to go Sammie…keep it up!

    2. Nice conversation with the advisor and progress in writing? I call that a wonderful day!

  73. Blog #1 Late Blogger
    My goals for Thursday July 11th were to
    1. Identify between 10-15 journal sources relevant to my general topic.
    2. Read and analyze 1 article.
    3. Begin to refine and shape my topic.

  74. Blog #2
    I met 2 out of 3 goals yesterday, finding 11 journal sources relevant to my topic and refining my topic. My general topic was Anxiety in the Workplace. I realize that anxiety is really a symptom of a core problem. I shifted my search from anxiety to Bullying in the Workplace. I got greater results using the latter on the PsychINFO database.

    Recent statistics on the growing rate of people who suffer from anxiety, depression and post traumatic stress disorder suggested that these disabilities are a result of workplace bullying. One article mentioned that anxiety and depression are ranked closely with cardiovascular disease as the most documented disabilities in America.

    I did not completely read and analyze a complete article as planned. I did however locate a recent dissertation on Perceptions of Men vs Women on Bullying in the Workplace After scanning a few articles and really digging into this dissertation, I see two directions I can go. One could be to target a different population, say multiple generations.

    There are currently 4 generations working side by side in organizations. Is it important to know how each generation defines workplace bullying? Not sure.

    The other option is to design this research as a step toward raising awareness and highlight workplace bullying as a national issue. Currently there is no law in place to protect employees from workplace bullying, leaving many to suffer in silence to avoid consequences of speaking up for themselves. I believe this focus is more relevant.

    Next step-develop research questions?

  75. Blog #3 Correction

    Next step is to WRITE out several research questions to refine my focus more

  76. Good morning DH friends! Last day…we can do this! Today I will finish chapter 2 and submit!
    Good Luck!

  77. Note to self…. I can attempt to save the world AFTER dissertation. Keep it simple, silly! A good dissertation is a DONE dissertation. You already have validated measurement sales. Use this to tour advantage. Generations it is! End note.

  78. Day 4: Good Morning everyone. I have been making good and steady practice on my revisions to my theory/methods section. Today I need to work on actually writing down how collected my data and organized it. After Dissertation House, I will continue working on the methods section by describing my method of analysis, critical textual analysis. Best Wishes for a productive Friday.

  79. Last day! Today I will continue working on edits to the theory section. Wishing everyone a productive last day!

  80. Didn’t get as much done yesterday as I’d hoped to but the plan remains the same – figure out the case studies – how many, methodology, etc. and turn into my advisor by Tuesday

  81. We made it to day 4! Today’s goal is to wrap up this literature review section and read a methods section from a peer who also used teacher-research for her dissertation.

  82. Day 4 – Got the 2 minute interview out of the way – never got around to talking about my research though! Need to work on my “elevator speech”. Definitely appreciated the opportunity to practice with an audience. Even experiencing the anxiety is useful.

    My goal for today is to develop an outline for my literature review and continue to develop my research questions.

  83. Day 4 and I’m still alive… Oops, sorry that’s for a different blog (haha). It’s the final day of DH and I’m ready to COMPLETE another subsection of my intro. My day will likely go as follows:

    1) Find 2-3 recent review articles on cancer immunotherapies
    2) Describe the many available therapies
    3) Describe recent clinical trial data focusing on my protein of interest
    4) Describe there still needs to be better cancer therapies available (prefect transition to my work!)

    1. You might still be alive, but the question is: are your mice?

  84. Hi all,

    I’m chiming in after attending the Writing for Publication workshop earlier this week. My goal is to have a solid draft (that I’m 95% ok with!) by the end of the month so I can hit the “submit” button. Yesterday I finalized my figures, tables, and captions, made some revisions on my methods, fleshed out more of the outline for the discussion, and added bits and pieces to the introduction. I have shorter hours dedicated to the manuscript today, but I hope to add 1 to 2 more paragraphs to the introduction that I feel good about.

  85. Charemi A. Jones Avatar
    Charemi A. Jones

    Happy Friday everyone!

    My day has started off well. I received positive feedback from my chair regarding Chapter 1 this morning . If I get the thumbs up from my other committee members, I will have successfully passed my Candidacy!

    Will make my minor changes and continue working on my Literature Review today. 🙂

  86. Satarupa Joardar Avatar
    Satarupa Joardar

    Hello everyone!
    Forgot to blog in the morning. Sounds like the last day of DH! Met the goal for the morning of reading and summarizing a key theory article. Plan to code data in the afternoon. Scared of Excel so have been putting this off. But will “bite the bullet”, to quote Dr. Carter-Veale!

  87. The Dissertation House, wow- What can I say. This week has been an eye opening experience. I started my program years ago (and I won’t say how long), but to have information crystalize before your eyes is amazing. The basic concepts of organizing, processing, and researching have been made clearer.
    Just having the time to sit, listen and absorb means a lot to a learner. The program resources, time management techniques and the sharing of information provide the learning with the sense of “I can do this” skills.

    I often coach new entrepreneurs on business strategies, developing the business plan, and marketing concepts. Starting a business is a new venture and people go into it sometimes with their eyes open, yet closed. New businesses owners deal with “What is it that I don’t know that don’t know. And I don’t know that I don’t know that I don’t know.” That’s the mystery of the dissertation process.

    So this week visit with the Dissertation House Staff – Dr. Wendy Carter-Veale and Dr. Renetta Tull have cleared the fog and let me know that you can get an elephant through the eye of a needle. One piece at a time!

    I recommend that more universities use the model of the Dissertation House in order to move graduate students from the ABD to the PHd. Higher education opens doors for all people regardless of race, economic backgrounds, or national origin. So once the process is understood –success can be obtained.

    Thank you for the great experience and the clearing of the road towards my journey. This is part of the journey that I now can see the light at the end of the tunnel. I will return in January 2014 with half of my work completed. This jump start provided me strength and endurance.

    “Let us think of education as the means of developing our greatest abilities, because in each of us there is a private hope and dream which, fulfilled, can be translated into benefit for everyone and greater strength for our nation.”
    John F. Kennedy 1917-1963) Thirty-fifth President of the USA

    “Don’t feel entitled to anything you didn’t sweat and struggle for.”
    Marian Wright Edelman

  88. Benita Rashaw Avatar
    Benita Rashaw

    It is day 4 of Dissertation House and I am so grateful and inspired by this experience. I can clearly remember stumbling across Dr. Carter’s posts on Twitter and reaching out to her about the dissertation process. At that time, I learned about her work with doctoral students and the PROMISE Program. In February, I traveled to UMBC from the Eastern Shore of Maryland to attend a lecture about moving through the dissertation process. Drs. Carter and Tull were so welcoming and encouraging as I shared my journey as a struggling doctoral student with the aspiration completing a terminal degree. It was then they gave me information about the Dissertation House. As I researched the program, I learned that students receive one-on-one coaching from Dr. Carter, networked with other doctoral students, and spent 4 days working on their dissertations.
    The Summer Dissertation House has been a rewarding experience and has given me the fuel I needed to continue my journey to the PhD! I have met some wonderful professionals with interesting research projects from various academic disciplines. I will continue to remember these two points. According to Dr. Carter, “good dissertation is a done dissertation”. Secondly, in order to be successful with the process, you have to drink koolaid. Meaning, you have to be able to accept the feedback and constructive criticisms in order to move from ABD to PHD.
    Thank you Drs. Carter and Tull for your unending support. I am excited to share my Dissertation House experiences with the faculty and other doctoral students at my home institution.

    Good Luck to all of the Summer 2013 Dissertation House Participants! Keep writing and stay focused.

  89. I can’t believe we’re already on DH Day 4. The time seems to have flown by, but I’ve accomplished and gained so much. Dr. Carter often spoke of remember that this entire process is “all about you” and she also talked about knowing yourself and the type of work environment that works best for you. There have been some major changes in my personal life recently, and I’ve allowed them to keep me from getting in the zone I need to be in to get the work done. The DH has motivated me to refocus, find alternatives to what usually works for me that no longer will do to current life circumstances, and keep it moving. Having participated in this week of activities with so many other people who are driven and on the same path, I feel a greater sense of accountability as well. I don’t want to run into any of these people weeks from now and they ask how things are going and I’ve made no progress. One other thing that really benefited me was the 2 minute speech activity. Public speaking is something I have major anxiety about, but it’s obviously something I need to get used to. The feedback I received from Dr. Carter and the group was very beneficial and I look forward to implementing it in the future.

  90. Good afternoon!

    Dr. Carter asked us to summarize our experience here in DH. While I provided an answer I did forget that I learned two other things: 1. there are plenty of people in my position – struggling to get through amidst “life;” 2. I have definitely been working on honing in my exact research, its niche and most importantly, how to explain my niche to anyone in 2 minutes…!! 🙂

  91. Okay…so today I managed to revise the first 12 pages of my methods section. All I have left to do is discuss my method of analysis, which I will work on at home. I hope everybody had a productive week at DH and hope to see you at the next DH, but not the one after, because I had better have graduated by then 🙂

  92. Benita Rashaw Avatar
    Benita Rashaw

    As I was just posting my final DH blog, one of my favorite songs came on Pandora. “It Ain’t Over” by Maurette Brown Clark. The profound words are “It ain’t over until God says it’s over…keep fighting until your victory is won.” There are small things around me that makes me press on through this process. As I head home, I will constantly remind myself how I feel that this moment. This was a great experience.

  93. Rachel Sturge Avatar
    Rachel Sturge

    Today, I worked on the analyses and results for my fourth chapter. I did not finish them, but I was not expecting to! I am happy with all that I accomplished this week. I met the majority of my goals and made progress on all of them. Thank you for offering this opportunity!

  94. We made it! Finished my theory edits. Hooray. Have a great weekend, all!

  95. Hey Summer DHers! It was great time. I am glad to have met everyone and i hope that we all continue to succeed and reach our goals of defending proposals/dissertations! Lets keep the momentum going into the rest of the summer and fall semester! A good dissertation is a done dissertation!

  96. We made it! Thanks, everyone, for the positive peer pressure. Good luck with your work! See some of you next time, maybe?

  97. Satarupa Joardar Avatar
    Satarupa Joardar

    Wrapping up final day! Thanks for the ride, folks. I finally did open my Twitter data Excel sheet and took a random sample. Which was a long process. So will continue working with the data next week. Thanks for all the encouragement and peer pressure, everyone. All the best, y’all 🙂 Thanks, Dr. Carter-Veale, Dr. Tull and the Promise staff. You rock!

  98. Thanks for a wonderful experience! I was able to at least address the goals I set for myself, even if it meant realizing that completing them all is a little too ambitious for now. I appreciate the support of Drs. Carter-Veale and Tull and that of my peers during these 4 days. My main goal was to jump start the dissertation process and I think I can safely say, mission accomplished!

    1. I am always setting my goals much too ambitiously – I suppose it’s better than expecting nothing at all, right?

  99. While DH is over, the work certainly is not! I’m very thankful for the opportunity to have participated. Like Kathy said, I have definitely jump started my dissertation process! Good luck everyone.

  100. Hello – I’ve thought of something to add to the DH program – the sharing of an email list / contact list among participants. A few of us started an accountability group on FB and I’d like anyone to join, so friend me or look up our group name (Keep It Simple Stupid) if you are interested!! 😉

  101. Charemi A. Jones Avatar
    Charemi A. Jones

    Good morning!
    I will be submitting my Candidacy paper, with corrections for final approval.
    This week, I am charged to add to the Literature Review, without seeking new information. (That’s a little habit I’m trying to rid myself of

  102. Just checking in. Methodology might be the death of me. Working out kinks but keeping on keeping on.

  103. While Chareme and I might be the only ones blogging here still (at least for now) I’ll keep Charemi company and continue to do so. I completed a 12-page methodology outline to replace the one from my proposal that didn’t work out b/c of lack of data. Going to fix it up and send it off. Then onto data collection for state # 1.

  104. Hoping for a productive week

  105. Hi Everyone,
    For today I will:
    -print and insert the drafts of each chapter that I have in a binder
    -re-read what I have
    -revise table of content

  106. Good Morning! First day at Dissertation House. Today, I will be working on revising the Denial section of Chapter 2

  107. Working on completing my discussion of a photo from Hank Willis Thomas’ B®anded exhibition today.

  108. Good morning DH! I am happy to be here. I will be working on my second case study. Have a great day!

  109. It’s my birthday! I’m sitting in MVA and I’m BLOGGING!!!!!!! Yes! Success!!!
    I have been writing since Saturday but forget to blog.
    Thank you Dr. Carter for the media exercise! I still wasn’t sure WHAT my topic was at that point but it helped me refocus. I thank you and the students for your feedback.

    Goals for today, Tuesday, July 16th
    1. Read and thoroughly analyze 2 journal articles.
    2. Write for at LEAST 30 minutes with no interruptions.
    3. Blog by midnight.

    1. I met 2 of my 3 goals today. I wrote for over a 1/2 hour. Meaningful stuff! I am blogging by midnight. I completed 1 thorough article review. My goal was 2. Still, progress was made! Picking up the pace for the remainder of this week.

  110. Goals for DH 2013:
    1. Produce a working title for my dissertation.
    2. Refine table of contents/Outline dissertation.
    3. Create a list of dissertation objectives (detailed and measurable).
    4. Identify areas for followup experiments.
    5. Create a detailed outline for literature review.
    6. Produce a list of potential committee members.
    7. Refine the timeline for completion.


    1. Worked on many of the goals. Progress has been made. —DBM

  111. Dissertation House Participant Avatar
    Dissertation House Participant

    UMD Goals:
    – revise IRB

    Chillin’ (i.e. needing wool long johns to combat the air conditioning),
    Dissertation House under the direction of Dr. Wendy Carter Veale

  112. Welcome to Day 1 of the Dissertation House at UMCP. We will be working on our proposals and dissertations for the next four days. Post your daily goals here. You can be anonymous or use your real name.
    Join us. Even if you did not do anything last week, year, semester, or 2 minutes ago you can start today to move your dissertation forward. Below are some helpful tips:
    * Treat writing your dissertation like a job, show up and be productive
    *You don’t have to wait for a warm and fuzzy feeling to work on your dissertation. You don’t even have to “feel like it” to make some forward progress
    * Your advisor/supervisor is not your BFF or colleague –treat him or her like your boss or the professional he or she is.
    *Set up a writing schedule because every day should not be a struggle for what to do or what to write.
    * Silenced the critic in your head because a good dissertation is a done dissertation.
    * There is only 1 dissertation prize do you have to be the recipient of that prize or do you just need to complete your PhD?
    *You won’t complete your dissertation today but you can make some forward progress.

  113. Charemi A. Jones Avatar
    Charemi A. Jones

    I’m sorry for the late post. Work was pretty busy this morning. I had a minor setback yesterday. I’ve lost 2 committee members and am scattering to find replacements. Thank goodness my chair is assisting. Here at DePaul, it’s like pulling teeth getting professors to be on your committee. (sigh!)
    I’m managing to get additional work completed with my Literature Review.

    1. HI Charemi. I had a similar setback in February – one of my committee members retired and left my committee. It took me some time to find a new member, BUT… well, first he is a GREAT committee member. I mean, responsive, supportive… you name it. He suggested we meet via video chat weekly and I’ve been doing that with him which has been great. So the second reason this has been great is because my needing to explain my research to him has really given me additional insight into my work.
      SO – I am sure this is a frustrating setback, believe me, but I would try focusing on the silver lining! 🙂

  114. First, welcome second round of DHers! Enjoy the week – they are productive, exhausting and re-energizing all at the same time!
    Folks, I’ve finally examined a second state as a possible case study. And so while the mixed blessing is a plethora of new questions, the GREAT blessing is a response from my committee member who is an EXPERT on this topic who finally (after 3 weeks) is responding to my request for a phone call to talk about her perspective on some things. Hopefully by the time my Chair returns from his trip I’ll have a good sample with a solid rationale, and might even be halfway through the analysis.

  115. First day in Dissertation House.
    1. write a detailed table of content
    2. identify what is needed to revise Ch. 1 and 2
    3. set goals and plan for this week
    4. keep dissertation timeline updated

    1. Plan for tomorrow:
      1. make a list of revision suggestions from the committee (easy – medium – hard)
      2. Ch.1: differentiate probelm statmement, background, rationale, purpose, significance.
      3. Ch.2: read it and plan ways to make it more focused. identify which section needs changes.

  116. Hi everyone. My name is Kendra and this is my first time at DH. I am going into my 7th year in the Sociology program at UMDCP. I’m currently in the data collection phase of my dissertation so my goals are to revise my interview guide, develop a first draft of my code list, and write a draft of chapter 3 (my chapter on black churches which explains the significance of black megachurches).

    1. Today I finished a draft of my code list and revised my interview guide.

    2. Welcome Kindra!! You research sounds similar to Dr. Tamara Wilds Lawson.

  117. Hello my name is Jatia Wrighten and I am currently attending the Dissertation House at the University of Maryland College Park. I have learned a lot of useful tips from Dr. Carter-Veale. I am currently trying to re-organize and focus in on my topic. Until I began this process I always thought it would be easy to edit something or do revisions. I find this a difficult and often times overwhelming task. I like that Dr. Carter-Veale says just do it… get it done and keep it moving. Simple and straight to the point. So that’s what I’m doing. I look forward to getting more work done tomorrow.

  118. Great first day at Dissertation House.
    Dr. Carter-Veale is wonderful. In our one-on-one meeting she helped give me fresh perspective and thinking about the dissertation proposal and process to get it done! Looking forward to tomorrow.

  119. Tomorrow working on Timeline and refining Dissertation Objectives. “Its all about me.” Mayo Blogging out!!! —DBM

  120. Today I played with SPSS and Excel creating tables and getting to understand my data.

  121. For today I printed out and bounded my drafts. Still working on the revisions for the TOC. Will continue to do that tomorrow.

  122. Had a very real conversation about the job market with Dr. Carter Veale. I have a lot of work ahead of me. My homework is putting together a timetable for a spring defense. Tomorrow I plan to finish applying revisions from my advisor and committee member to the 2nd chapter.

  123. Had a productive day with Dr. Carter-Veale. Getting past a serious block for an important section. Approaching the section as smaller subsections that are inter-related and re-framing chapters and sections as diagrams where I can visualize connections between people, events, and concepts. The diagram also helps me to visualize the most important elements of each chapter and chapter section.

  124. Founds some interesting data for analysis today. I’m going to examine another state and see what I find. I think I’ve found a good sample,and from there: case study after case study. Let’s just take it one step at a time: analyze one more state. Enjoy Day 2 of DH tomorrow!

  125. Doctoral Candidate at Argosy University, Ed.D Counselor Education and Supervision. I have been on the dissertation merry-go round for two years now. Partly because my life and business were so busy I did not have time to devote to it. I am now on the fast track to proposal defense by the end of summer term. My study is quantitative, and I am looking at the impact of Role Conflict & Ambiguity on the job satisfaction of elementary school counselors. Working on completing my lit review this week so I can revise my Intro & Methodology chapters next week.

      1. Thank you so much! I am glad to be ther!

  126. Hello College Park DH Participants and all of the folks from last week’s DH at UMBC! Welcome also to folks joining us from other schools. This is your week! Isn’t it exciting to be on a roll and to be getting things done? One step at a time … you can do this! It’s good to see so many of you on line. For some, I’ve met you at other PROMISE events like SSI, or our trips to the SREB conference, but it’s good to “see” you online. I’ll see you in person on Thursday morning. Follow Dr. CV’s advice … you may work harder than ever, but you’ll also be finished. Stay true to the process. Our list of alumni shows that this works. Your name will be among the “finished” soon!

  127. With 95% confidence that I’ve selected my actual sample size, I’m going to review the materials available for three of the five states today. Good luck to everyone as the push continues!

  128. Good morning,
    For today I will continue to revise my TOC and update two sections of the literature review

  129. I finished my homework and created a timeline for this year. Today I’m revising %30 of my 2nd chapter. Let the games begin! Keep up the productive work folks!

  130. Day 2 of DH! Will look to work on my DV section of my lit review. Love Dr. CV’s idea of an excel spreadsheet with all citations for quick overview.

    1. My spreadsheet really helped me as well Donna!

  131. Participating in the dissertation house has made me realize how much work you can get done if you sit still for a couple of hours. Ready to get started this morning.

  132. Charemi A. Jones Avatar
    Charemi A. Jones

    Good morning,
    Starting off my day with continued energy! Will complete at least two sections of the z Literature Review today.

  133. Logging in for Day 2 and DH.
    Yesterday, I wrote a detailed table of content and worked it into an outline, which helped me refocus and organize my ideas.

    Today, I am going to
    1. prioritize my to-do list
    2. prioritize revision suggestions from the committee (easy – medium – hard)
    3. Ch.1: differentiate problem statmement, background, rationale, purpose, significance.
    4. Ch.2: read it and plan ways to make it more focused. identify which section needs changes.

    1. Due to an IRB-related emergency, i.e. revisions requested from IRB board, I spent most of the pm on it. Same goals for tomorrow. Bye now!

  134. Day 2 of DH. Today I met with Dr. Carter-Veale and she was really helpful with giving me advice about my literature review that I have been struggling with since the proposal stage of my dissertation. Today I’m going to work on transcribing an interview (which wasn’t on my original goals list but I’m adding it today now that I have the equipment to do it).

  135. Yesterday I came to a better understanding of what SPSS could do for me and what I can get done in Excel. Today I will write the profiles of the two schools I observed and begin coding the survey responses.

  136. So I totally forgot to blog in this morning.

    I got side tracked today because I had to make some progress on a Fellowship proposal for (deadline for giving it to my advisor for review was move up). I left for a little while to update him on my progress as I was not in the research group meeting this morning (he appreciated that) but this felt like a distraction.

    * I did make progress on my dissertation outline.
    * Produced a timeline for completion.
    * I listed the dissertation committee members which will open a discussion with my advisor
    * Worked on a list of experiments that need to be done based on the compiled list of experiments that have already been done.

    Tomorrow will be spent working on an outline for my Literature review.

  137. Ok, I’ll also work on refining my objectives tomorrow… I forgot I said I would do that today so I’ll do it tomorrow along with my literature review outline. Mayo Blogging OUT!!! —DBM

  138. I am at Dissertation House from Noon to 5 for the week.
    Today I tagged the comments from the survey as I begin to code. I also created and began to fill in some of the information for the school profiles. The information I need was not with me!!! I will locate when I get home and try to complete at least one of the profiles.

    Tomorrow I will continue with the coding process and complete the profile for the second school. The coding of survey open ended response is going faster that I thought Yippee! I also have my first meeting with Dr. CV tomorrow.

  139. Had a relatively good day today. I met with Dr. Carter-Veale and have made progress on the organization of the results chapters.

  140. Hi everyone! I wanted to pop in here and cheer everyone on. I successfully defended my dissertation in March and Dissertation House was a huge help for me. Just do what Drs. Carter-Veale and Tull tell you to do and keep working on the next little bit. You’ll get there!
    -Dr. Lisa M. Vizer

  141. Charemi A. Jones Avatar
    Charemi A. Jones

    …finding my voice with this Literature Review is giving me the blues today. I’m going to attribute it to this HOT weather. 92°-95° in Chicago. (100° heat index)
    I will try to keep cool and prepare for tomorrow with a clear mind.
    Good night everyone.

  142. Had a day filled with printing. Cursorily reviewed state data – not as quickly as I had hoped but still did a good chunk of work today. Enjoy day 3! Tomorrow I complete review of 3rd state. Friday I complete state 4. Saturday I start in depth case study write up of first state, when i am having my own version of a weekend DH on UMBC campus.

  143. Took last notes for one section of lit review. 🙂

  144. Today was so productive! I completed %75 of what I set out to do. Looking forward to a good session tomorrow (technically today). Time for the 2 minute elevator speech!

  145. Dr. Carter’s suggestion of doing a diagram really helped me to get the big picture I needed to outline this final section that has been vexing me for some time. Before doing a diagram I had so much information running through my brain that it was overwhelming. The diagram, however, helped me to see that out of all the information I had, there were a few things I needed to focus on, and those few things in this particular section a relevant to every chapter and section of the dissertation. Diagrams are a great idea!!!

  146. Since I checked in last week I had a barrage of little projects that needed to be taken care of before I could really focus of my writing. Tonight I have a chunk of time dedicated to my manuscript again, and I hope to fill out my introduction with another paragraph that incorporates some feedback I received from my adviser. It could be very challenging because the comments fell beyond my initial vision for the introduction (but seem very reasonable now after reflection!) and so tweaking what I have already written without changing the meaning/direction is a hurdle. Here we go!

  147. Day 3 of DH. I did my 2 minute talk this morning which was really helpful. It’s sort of like going to the gym. You don’t want to do it but you’re glad you did it once you’re done. When it was over I was glad to have gotten that practice because you have no idea how fast 2 minutes goes by until you do it. Today my goal is to finish transcribing the interview I was working on yesterday. I’m about halfway through it so I think I can finish today.

    1. Finished transcribing my interview today. Will probably begin transcribing another one tomorrow.

  148. Thanks everybody for the feedback on “Good Morning Dissertation House”. It was VERY useful.

  149. I forgot to blog out yesterday. I was able to find suitable questions for my statistical model. I also created a chart with the questions from the survey and an explanation of the variables.

  150. Logging in for Day 3:
    1. prioritize my to-do list
    2. prioritize revision suggestions from the committee (easy – medium – hard)
    3. Ch.1: differentiate problem statmement, background, rationale, purpose, significance.
    4. Ch.2: read it and plan ways to make it more focused. identify which section needs changes.

    1. I just had a meeting with Dr. Carter. Now I have a workable, specific goal for today is to finish transcribing interview #1 of participant #1.

      It feels way much better to have this goal than to sort through my partially-done tasks here and there and feel lost! 🙂

      1. It’s 5 o’clock. I worked on transcription from 80% to 90%. Four pages left, and I will finish it before I return tomorrow. See you tomorrow!

  151. Day 3 of the Dissertation House- I did my two minute spiel on my research this morning. I have been nervous about it all last night. It was not awful but it makes you realize how short two minutes really is. It was helpful to get both positive and negative feedback. I need the practice since I am doing a new topic.

  152. Good morning everyone,
    My goal for today is to revise my draft of chapter 4.
    1. Reorganize sections according to revised outline
    2. Insert rough analysis for new sections.

  153. Mayo Blogging in:

    Setting up and looking forward to being productive.

    —Finish Fellowship proposal (ready for review)
    —Refine Dissertation Research Objectives
    —Literature Review Outline


  154. Thanks so much for the feedback on the elevator speech everyone! It was a great exercise. I don’t know if I should begin my new task or finish up the last of what I left from yesterday. Any suggestions?

    1. Get something to 99% before you move on to the next unfinished item

    2. Let us know what you chose to do! 🙂 I would rather choose finishing up the left over from yesterday – in order to get closer to the feeling of accomplishment.

  155. Charemi A. Jones Avatar
    Charemi A. Jones

    Good morning!
    Continuing to work on my Literature Review.

  156. Day 3 of the Dissertation House. Welcome back. If today is your first day joining us welcome. We finished up our media training this morning. We welcomed a visit from Dr. Tull the director of the PROMISE program and co-founder of the DH. She encouraged all of you who have participated in previous Dissertation Houses to join us for a special Alumini DH at the SSI in August.

    The journey continues tomorrow our last day of the DH at College Park.

    Keep in mind that the “Dream has to be bigger than the struggle.”

  157. Good morning. Today I’m continuing to revise my Ch. 5. If I get through it, I can start on revising Ch. 6 tomorrow.

  158. Hello all! Today I will type my notes I took from reading a chapter in a great book for my lit. review chapter. This will add one huge piece to my chp 2!

  159. Charemi A. Jones Avatar
    Charemi A. Jones

    Chiming in during lunch with great news. My chair was able to talk to a previous committee member, who although was initially unable to commit, is now willing to serve on my committee.
    Now, I have to really step up my game. I need to submit my Methods Chapter and be ready to defend after August 22nd; that doesn’t include the completion of my Literature Review.

  160. Today I finished most of my Ch. 5 revisions. Tomorrow, I need to complete a few more tasks: inserting the missing footnotes, making sure my intro and concluding paragraphs are logically connected, and working on transitions between my subsections.

  161. Finished the Fellowship proposal and Finished the literature review outline. Didn’t refine the objectives but I did add more detail to the timeline for finishing. I resolve to graduate in Spring 2013.

    Tomorrow’s goals are to…

    – Refine Dissertation Research Objectives.
    -Write 2 pages of Literature Review


    Mayo Blogging out!!!

  162. End of Day 3 of DH. Making progress…read an article on sense of belonging; found some new recent articles to read; going to make a timeline for the rest of month to finish my proposal (tip from today’s presenter – Thanks Marci!!

  163. Today was productive. I was able to successfully focus in on my research topic and create an outline regarding my theory. I also began to re-structure my literature review and have a working dependent variable. Tomorrow I will work on finishing my methods section and write transition paragraphs.

  164. Dissertation House Participant Avatar
    Dissertation House Participant

    Hi Colleagues!
    I’m learning how do revise my goal setting practices, without negative self-judgment. I’m working toward a daily practice of writing discrete, realistic, and attainable goals. However, when I undertake a new task the learning curve involves unnamed tasks and unknown amounts of time, which challenge my goal setting. Hence, I will build in an assessment phase, when starting a new task.


  165. Today was not very productive. I sensed my lack of focus early on and instead I put my energy into making sure that my figures were accurately labeled. I was fairly successful with that. Considering Dr. Carter-Veale’s advice, I will to spend tomorrow completing the first section of the second chapter before I move on to any other sections.

  166. Completed 24 pages of my chapter outline since coming to the Dissertation House. The workshop has helped me to accomplish in a few days what I was pressed about completing for the past few months. Time to go. Tired.

  167. Today I had my meeting with Dr. CV and learned a bit about defining values in SPSS how to layout my quantitative section. The session with Dr. Marcy was great. Tomorrow I will spend some time before coming to DH working on SPSS in the basement at Benjamin and I will do an outline of chapter 4

  168. Today I wrote two new sections in chapter 4. I’m still reorganizing the chapter and will have that completed before I come in to dissertation house tomorrow morning.
    For the last day of the dissertation house, I will continue to work on chapter 4. Write 2 missing section and revise 2 sections.

  169. Good afternoon! It was great to be with the DH group at College Park! Here is the link to the PROMISE SSI:, note that the Dissertation House will be held on Friday, August 16. Thanks to all of the folks at UMCP for your attention during my impromptu lunch talk. Best wishes as you press forward to continue to work toward those goals. Cross them off, and blog on!

  170. Good Morning,
    I will continue to work on chapter 4. Write 2 missing section and revise 2 sections.

  171. Good morning, everyone,

    This morning I want to quickly skim over my Ch. 5, looking to see if I’ve accomplished my goals for this chapter — in terms of how it relates to my dissertation question, tests my hypotheses, and makes a contribution to the literature.

  172. Charemi A. Jones Avatar
    Charemi A. Jones

    Good morning,
    Today I will continue reviewing my research Methods materials and develop an outline for the chapter (I started my review last night). I’m going to take a rest from the Literature Review today.

  173. Good morning.

    My goals for the last day of dissertation house are
    1. Make a template for participant profile with Participant #1.
    2. Print out my most updated drafts and put them in a binder.
    3. Make a list of revisions for literature review, put easy-medium-hard next to them and add it to the binder.

    1. 100% completed! I am so proud of myself.

      I am so glad that I participated. Thank you so much for everything, Dr. Carter. Thank you everyone for the energy filled in the room for the past four days. Good luck with your research!

      I will be back blogging next week. Have a great weekend! 🙂

  174. Good morning! Today I would like to read more on the discrimination literature to tie into my other theories and write some transition paragraphs.

  175. At DH one hour earlier. Goal for today I to get SPSS trial on my machine again. I am wearing my #teamgetitdone Promise Tshirt and ready!

  176. Mayo Blogging in…

    Thinking about hiring a dissertation coach… Any insight or recommendations?


    1. I think that’s what Dr. CV does… I recommend her!

  177. About to break for lunch. Making good progress. Moving into another section of my chapter.

  178. After meeting with Dr. Carter this morning, she has suggested that that start drafting my Ch. 7 Conclusion before I revise my other chapters. THat’s what I will start doing this afternoon.

  179. Dr. Carter is getting ready to give the evening talk…and will focus of finding jobs…this is one link she is referencing
    March 16, 2001, In Chronicle of Higher Education
    Where to Find Information on Nonacademic Careers
    By Gabriela Montell

  180. Can’t believe it is the last day! Have a plan for the next 10 days to complete draft of chapter 2. Great experience. Thank you Dissertation House!!

  181. Plan on reading and taking notes on theoretical model for chp 2! Requesting clarity today!

  182. I was not able to complete all of my goals but I am much further along than I was a week ago. I am also much more motivated to get this thing done. I was feeling overwhelmed but now I know that I just need to get over it and get it done!

    Dissertation House has been a great experience!

  183. A HUGE THANK YOU to Nanda and Dr. Tull for reserving a room on UMBC Campus for a Summer Dissertation House continuation! Summer Saturday DH is ON! Kentucky is the name of the game today – review materials and start writing case study.

  184. Dissertation House continues at UMCP in Oakland Hall. Today I will continue working with SPSS. I will label the values and assign meaning to the codes. I will then run an analysis and create my demographics table.

  185. I created the template for my case study of each of my five states for study. Going to research methodology for analyzing videos and then will head home. Tonight I am going to do a cursory review of the data from my final state for analysis.

  186. Good afternoon. I am continuing in the spirit of the Dissertation House on this Sunday afternoon at the library. I will be drafting my Conclusion. Thank you Dissertation House and Dr. Carter!

  187. Good morning. This is the week after the DH. I am following Dr. Carter’s plan to complete everything by the end of this month. Yesterday, I drafted my Conclusion. Although I am tempted to keep working on my conclusion, Dr. Carter has asked me to start revising Ch. 5 today, and another chapter tomorrow. I will put my faith in the process and follow her plan for me.

    Happy writing and dissertating!

    1. Good job – keep it up. Not sure how many people are still blogging, but I’m still reading your posts. KEEP IT UP!

    2. Faith is taking a step even if you don’t seek the full staircase (MLKjr.) Glad to see that you trust the process.

      1. You’re right Dr. Carter. It does take faith to move forward on this project. Is there any help with getting someone to read what you’ve written and make suggestions?

  188. I’ve decided my plan for the next few weeks, actually, for the remainder of my dissertation research can be summed up in one sentence. “I seem to be in somewhat of a P.I.C.K.L.E.” P – Pennsylvania case study; I – Illinois case study; C – Colorado case study; K – Kentucky case study; L – Louisiana case study; E – EVALUATE (the five case studies as answers to my research questions) Today = P. Pennsylvania.

  189. Charemi A. Jones Avatar
    Charemi A. Jones

    Good morning everyone,
    Charging ahead with my Methods Chapter. Taking a break form the Literature Review this week. I really need to look at it with fresh eyes.

  190. Charemi A. Jones Avatar
    Charemi A. Jones

    …break from the Literature Review…

  191. Good morning! Today I’m moving onto revising Ch. 3, following Dr. Carter’s plan for me. Sometimes, I am tempted to keep revising the other chapters, but I just need to keep going.
    Good luck to those who are still blogging and working on their dissertation!

  192. Charemi A. Jones Avatar
    Charemi A. Jones

    Good morning,everyone!
    Yesterday, I had a good start to completing my Methods outline. Today, I expect to have the outline complete and will begin writing the chapter.

  193. At work now but I have 2pm conference call with a committee member who is going to talk through some sample selection options. Then it is ON. I’m excited to be able to justify my sample and MOVE FORWARD!

  194. Good Morning,
    I am Linda Jones, doctoral student at the University of Maryland in Education. Just struggling with writing–getting it down on paper. Trying to get a draft proposal together. Working on lit review. Trying to get it finished!!!!!

    1. Hello Linda

      Welcome to the DH. Don’t worry about how it sounds get some words or ideas down on paper. Go back and edit later. It doesn’t have to be perfect it just has to be done.

      1. Dr. Carter,

        Can I get someone to read what I’ve written and critique?

  195. Charemi A. Jones Avatar
    Charemi A. Jones

    Good afternoon,
    Sorry for the late post. Today will be a continuation of of completing the Methods Chapter. Forging ahead!

  196. So, at the risk of sounding redundant, I am AGAIN going to try and start my first case study. It isn’t for lack of trying, but more for complete CERTAINTY that the states I choose are defendable, that it has taken me so long.

    ANY advice on how to analyze video presentations? (state reps presenting to feds as part of an application process)

  197. Good morning, everyone! Today I will continue revising Ch. 6 (which I started yesterday). Since it’s an important chapter, I need to spend more time on it.

  198. Charemi A. Jones Avatar
    Charemi A. Jones

    Good morning

    I failed to mention earlier that I will be taking an online course this summer for Statistics and Analytics. I was originally going to do a qualitative study with my original dissertation topic. Since I changed my topic, I have chosen to do mixed methods, and it’s been 16 years since I took a statistics course, I felt I needed a refresher. It’s an online interactive course at DePaul University, where twice a week, for five weeks I will ” attend” class.
    In the interim, I am still working on my Methods Chapter.

  199. *Statistics An, Introduction 1983, Authors: Robert D. Mason, Douglas A. Lind, William G. Marchal
    Publisher: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, INC, ISBN0-15-583525-4
    Charemi this is a stats book that I recommend if you are struggling.

    1. Charemi A. Jones Avatar
      Charemi A. Jones

      Thanks Dr. Carter!

      Good morning everyone,
      Starting out my online class on a high! Completed a quiz after the first day of class; preparing for a Lab and 2nd quiz. I think this summer is going to pass quickly!
      Methods Chapter is developing.

  200. I was wondering why it was so quiet on this blog and then I remembered that I forgot to subscribe to it! Doh! Well I have 31 days until my defense. The dissertation has been given to the committee and I am working on getting some of the paperwork for the Grad school out of the way and dealing with the minor stuff like parking passes for my externals etc. I have started the presentation but took a mini-break from it. I will get back to that this week. I need to break it up into sections since I am not feeling especially motivated to work on this.

  201. Congratulations, Kelley. Your success is really encouraging

    1. Thanks Linda. One year ago I attended my first DH and my research was really going nowhere. Then I started putting into action the suggestions and strategies. I am almost in disbelief that my defense is in 30 days!

      1. Hi Kelley – I read your post while I was in Dissertation House earlier this month. Saw you live in York, which I where I am from too. Good luck with your defense – the end is near!

  202. It’s been a hard week – family in town, daughter turning one, daughter sick, husband away… List goes on. I’m taking today to refocus myself and because I start back full time at a new job on Thursday, it is time to plan ahead and make sure I get at least 15 minutes a day… Case study today.

    1. Hi Leigh – I started back to work full time this past year. I had a sticky note posted to my PC that said “15 minutes” as my reminder to work on my dissertation each day. I didn’t perfectly adhere to it but it was helpful to have the reminder each day. Glad to know another Yorkie – I actually live in Enola but my work is in York so I am here 5 days a week! Maybe we could schedule a work session for an evening sometime – I need to get this presentation done! Feel free to email me at

      1. Hi Kelley!
        I’m so happy for you! Way to go with motivating yourself in this last stretch! Leigh, I see that you are determined and committed. The two of you might be great accountability partners!

  203. Charemi A. Jones Avatar
    Charemi A. Jones

    Good morning,

    I’m sorry I didn’t post yesterday. I’ve been heavily reviewing my Statistics information. The previous statistics class I took was for my MBA; this approach to statistics is more detailed. With two quizzes and a lab due within a week, I’ve been pretty busy. Trying to remain focused on my main goal of completing my Methods Chapter has been challenging. BUT, I’m forging ahead! 🙂

  204. Charemi,

    Just keep up the good work. I know it’s hard as it is for me. I try to do something every day but sometimes get a little tired, Need to try to keep a balance between sleep and work..

    1. Charemi
      I really need some strategies and suggestions. Also need someone to read what I have written. Is there any help with that?

  205. Hello folks! Today is my last full day of my “break” between jobs. I think I need a little bit of distraction or something because I am finding it very hard to concentrate this week. Anyways, I have complete an exit strategy – how I’m going to shift from a full-time focus to a part-time focus on this. I am hoping to keep my goal – 76 hours, 12 days and 50 minutes until I submit the dissertation to my Chair…

  206. Completed transition strategy to continue dissertation work while going back to full time job. 78 days, 11 hours to get it done

  207. Charemi A. Jones Avatar
    Charemi A. Jones

    Good afternoon everyone,

    Long, dreary day…..
    Chugging along.
    @ Linda, I’m trying to develop some better strategies myself. My work, motherhood, school, and life in general is being hindered by a possible summer cold and allergies; so I’m not at my best. As far as having someone read your work, please feel free to send it. My eyes can use a little break from my own writing. 🙂 or

  208. Hi all — I’m new to posting but it’s been great reading the comments on this blog.
    I have a question for you all– when you picked your target date, how did you know that the date was feasible? A few months ago, I picked this December, and have 63 days to go until the date I picked to give a completed dissertation to my advisor (which is also right before I leave for a week to get married in October!?!). What I have left to do in these 63 days is starting to feel really overwhelming though– mainly I’m wondering about finishing my research projects (some of which seem like they are in disarray and could take longer than expected), whereas the actual the writing seems easier. How do I know if this overwhelmed feeling is because my goal of graduating in December is not realistic/feasible, or if this is normal?

    1. Hi AB,
      The overwhelming feeling might be unrealistic … or it might be normal. Either way, if you push through and keep jumping through the hoops as consistently as possible, you will finish. Keep your committee in the loop with where you are and they can guide you further. Usually once you are allowed to set the date, your advisor is pretty confident that you can do it. Worst case scenario is that you are closer than ever and they decide to reschedule. It happens, but it also happens that you accomplish a heck of a lot in the last few months or so and get it done. You can’t know until you do your best to get there. So focus on that.

      On another note: Happy people are able to be comfortable with uncertainty and a HEALTHY level of anxiety. You have to keep a gauge on your feelings. If you are too overwhelmed, you can’t be productive. Be sure that you have a support group (like this one), accountability partner, counselor/therapist, mentor, or all of the above so that you can keep your balance while you finish.

      Breathe, you are on the right track, AB!

      1. Alexis– thanks for your words of advice and encouragement. I am trying to breathe while also forging ahead and making each of these (now) 62 days count. And working on being comfortable with uncertainty, while moving towards my goal!

        1. Hello – I too am hoping to graduate in December. I also feel like the October deadline I’ve set for myself is impossible. I actually decided to use my blog to create a 75-day challenge and I’m now accountable to anyone who reads it/cares as I post each day. I have 72 days left… I think the overwhelming feeling is a little bit of both – somewhat unrealistic, maybe, but also thinking about the entire dissertation as one HUGE thing, rather than a multitude of little steps and tasks… So I’m doing things one day at a time, one task at a time, hoping that I’ve been challenging but realistic in the daily goals I expect of myself. I also grab time wherever I can!

      2. Good to see you hanging in there!

  209. Charemi A. Jones Avatar
    Charemi A. Jones

    Good morning,
    After a rigorous Statistics I’ve revisited the Methods Chapter. My outline and resources are ” organized” I’m ready to write out the process.
    Coming from an original scientific background ( Biology/ micro), and having transitioned into Education, constructing the dialogue is a little different. Many of the dissertation examples I have reviewed for my topic incorporate the data and results in the Methods Chapter. Obviously, I’m not at that point. Any recommendations about how I should proceed before speaking to my Chair about my roadblock?

    1. I would look at either your Chair’s dissertation or other dissertations that your Chair has been a chair of. See how he or she organized the paper / data results.

  210. Sections E, F and G of my Michigan Case Study today. Almost done with Section E – hope to finish soon b/c lunch depends on it! 🙂

  211. Thanks, Leigh. I do have a copy of a dissertation that my Chair oversaw.

  212. Hi Folks! Leigh, I liked your note acknowledging that thinking of the dissertation as one huge document can be stifling. That could break down just about anyone. It broke me down for a long time. Here are some things I wrote down as part of my “mission statement” while I was finishing up:

    – I’m realizing that I’ve been looking at this life all wrong. There IS no dissertation. There is only a sentence read or written, and then another. So to say even that I am going to “break down my dissertation into smaller, achievable chunks” is inaccurate. The dissertation is a concept and only an imaginary thing until small, real pieces are combined meaningfully. There is no breaking it down because it doesn’t exist. Same with life. There is no life. There are only moments. So to say that I will live for the moment is untrue – the moment IS life. The moment is THAT important.

    – You are NOT out of time. When you are out of time, you will know it without a doubt. Now, breathe. Go into your space of hope and acceptance, of power and possibility. Think of the best way to use this time, and, yes, you do have enough. Take the green light.

    I wrote that second one after seeing drivers approach intersections and slow down while the light was still green, anticipating that the red light was coming. I used to get so mad! But then I realized that I was doing the same thing with my work. I started saying, “While the light is green, go.” As long as your light is green for your work, keep going!

    1. I love the green means go statement. I realize what I’ve been doing is holding myself back from trying 100%. The reason is that I was scared, that if I set a goal for Dec, and try my hardest, but don’t make it I will be more disappointed. But I do have months, days, hours, minutes right now. And I shouldn’t slow down before I see the yellow light!!
      Also Leigh– good to see a fellow December-er : )

      1. (and I don’t always recommend this, but sometimes when the light is yellow, I go faster. Just saying!) 🙂

  213. Great points too! I still get overwhelmed when I think of my deadline and all that needs to get done. So, I take a step back, trust that the schedule I very randomly assigned to myself will work itself out, and I focus on the task that I gave myself for that day. Like today – I’m hoping to finish the draft of my one case study so I can send it on to my advisor. Then – onward, upward – GREEN LIGHT GO!

  214. Finalizing a section = APA style checks… ugh!

    1. You are doing it! I can relate to the ugh of APA life. But it gets “good enough” eventually…

  215. Hi everyone…. I’ve recommitted to my target date and have 50 days left in my countdown! Also I have my blog back up. Today was an exercise in pushing myself further, and it ended up that things that I thought would be very difficult and that I couldn’t get done today weren’t that hard after all once I got into them and were *almost* all finished today… here’s to diving right in for the next 50 days. : )

  216. Charemi A. Jones Avatar
    Charemi A. Jones

    Good morning everyone!

    It’s been a week since I last posted; my summer statistics class has been pretty challenging. I completed my Midterm last Thursday and am preparing for my final for next Thursday.
    I wouldn’t recommend anyone doing this!!! An accelerated summer graduate statistics class, along with completing the dissertation proposal, all within the same 5 weeks, was an insane venture.
    I haven’t had much sleep and I’m very tired. Package all that with working everyday, and a 34 month old and you have the makings for losing your mind!!! LOL!!!

    I’ve made great strides. I have to finish writing out my steps for conducting my research and analyzing the data. I must admit,this statistics class has renewed my confidence in being able to explain my methodology in a clear, concise, and definitely scientific manner.

  217. Hello All
    Just checking in after reading some of your post. I will be in MD tomorrow for SSI Dissertation House. Thanks Dr. Alexis for filling in the gap. Looking forward to see you and what you have been up to. Charemi hope that statistics final goes well it is the type of thing that if you don’t use it (statistics) on a regular basis the knowledge goes away pretty quickly. Add it to the proposal and start using it by playing with real data.

    AB 49 days and counting. As Joyce Meyer says “No Test No testimony.” Some days are like that. On those days we have to figure out “of all of the things that you have to do today what will give you the most bang for your buck i.e. what will give you the most sense of accomplishment?” Once you figure that out… do that and leave everything else for the next day.

    Hey Leigh keep the count going. How many days left? Glad to see that you have tasks schedule for each day. If you stay on schedule there is an light at the end. You are not alone and someone does care. Forward progress today. Remember, it’s all about you 🙂 take care of you and handle your business.

    Linda I hope you have found someone to read your document. I am sure that you have friends who might owe you a favor or family member, or church members who have been to college who might be able to read for clarity. Don’t overlook your networks. Otherwise consider hiring an editor who does that for a living.
    Happy Wednesday everyone.

    1. Charemi A. Jones Avatar
      Charemi A. Jones

      Thank you Dr. Carter!

      1. Hello! Dr. Carter! I have my blog, which is great – keep my dissertation at the front of my mind. I am working on my second case study while wondering what feedback I’ll get on my first – but not letting that deter me. I’ve actually hooked up with Kelley in York, who is a past DH-er and is defending in the next month. She and I are working out times to meet. I’ve also been really good at letting go of the “now” time with my children knowing that my time with them will be so much better when I’m completed. We have my contract on the fridge, reminding me every day. It’s been a change, for sure, with the new job (hence I can’t attend tomorrow) but it has been good also in the sense that I am one who does more when busy, then when tasked with only one thing.
        Thanks for checking in on us! My 75-day challenge is a challenge for sure, but one I’m up to. It is Day 15!

  218. Good morning everyone! I’ll be in the Postdoctoral and Alumni Writing Suite with Dr. Pollack and others today. Today, one of Dr. Pollack’s mentees, Bill Moss defends! Bill came to one of the DH sessions and has been working with Judith Pollack, who is also a Chemical Engineer. Good luck to Bill!! Dr. C-V is in town! I know that you all are happy about that! I echo her thanks to Dr. Alexis Williams, one of our DH alums, for putting on her mentoring hat and encouraging you!

    We’ll see some of you over in the SMC Center at UMB today. Others, we’ll look for you online … right here. Post your goals, join the party!

  219. Hello! I’m here (online); but at work physically. I don’t have a huge goal for today but my hour of time will be to print out all of my materials to complete my second case study. Tomorrow and Sunday I will work on my case study and will finish it to submit to my advisor by Monday night. I have 59 days left until I submit my final draft to my Chair and distribute to my committee…!!

  220. Morning all! I’m here in Dayton (MD not OH) working remotely today. Excited to be back to working a few days a week on my dissertation as my internship winds down and ends next week. I am waiting for IRB approval – been told it should be today, got my fingers and toes crossed! As soon as that arrives I’ll be starting my pilot study. Session 1 is all set to go, but I want to run thru the whole process one more time today. We will be starting on Aug 26 if the IRB comes thru today. We are in the process of building the follow up sessions that will happen 4 weeks after the 1st sessions end. I need to work thru what we have done so far and what needs to be completed for those. I do know I need to check each of the 44 questions from the conversation agent to see if any need special attention. And the other thing on my list today is to review the results of the diagnostic test to find out how that interaction went. Should be a full day! Glad to be working in tandem with others!

  221. Hi, all.
    I am back in DH today at UMB campus for SSI. It feels good to be back!
    Today my goals are as below:
    1. complete transcribing interview #1-2
    2. find concepts from #1-2 under three themes
    3. list concepts from #1-1 and #1-2

    1. #1 done
      # 2 and 3 in progress

      Have a great weekend y’all!

  222. Hello Everyone!!!

    1. Evelyn Thomas, Ph.D.; UMBC; Mathematics and Statistics
    2. I plan to work on an NSF grant and outline 3 papers that I will write.

  223. […] in the “in-person” DH and those who are participating virtually can post their goals here:  Let’s make it a productive […]

  224. Can you say TRUDGING through this case study? But I’m still here, aren’t I, 4 hours into this… One more hour to go today. Ugh. 🙂 Hope everyone is doing well!

  225. Go Leigh! Trudging but through. It is encouraging to see you working hard and posting here with a similar goal as me (45 days left for me!). I had these past few days where personal life prevented me from being able to make progress, but I am back today 🙂

  226. It was so good to see and meet some of you this weekend at SSI. Congrats to those who are still working – trudging, crawling, or otherwise. You will soon enough receive congratulations of a different, even happier sort.

    it was great to see Dr. CV, Dr. Tull, Dr. Pollack, and others from PROMISE who gave me some of the best advice (they don’t stop being helpful just because you take your degree; these amazing folks are in it for the long-haul). I am inspired.

    Happy Monday!

  227. How are folks doing out there?

    1. I’m hanging in there. The new job and its hours are sort of killing me but last night I revised my to-do list to accommodate the building pile of things to do for the diss. Hoping I can push through and submit quality drafts of two case studies to my advisor by Monday…

      1. Funny. I was just journaling about updating my schedule for the next few days to “accommodate the building pile of things to do” (I can’t say it better than you said it!). I keep saying that the skills you learn in grad school continue to be useful once you’re done. You learn them for a reason. Even the frustrating task of scheduling is necessary toward your success, so take time to plan. It is not wasted time.

        Keep pushing, Leigh! I’m pushing and pulling for/alongside you.

  228. […] The Dissertation House in Maryland […]

  229. It’s Monday! and I have 38 days left in my countdown! Strangely enough, this feels do-able : ) Let’s go

    1. My advisor asked this morning whether I still am planning on finishing by December. I said yes, the deadlines were earlier than I thought they would be, but I am aiming to have my dissertation sent out to my committee in October. He seemed to be supportive and also think this was do-able, and said he would read my chapters as I go (the ones I haven’t finished yet). But we didn’t have time to get into scheduling a date…. when do I do this? I’m a little nervous about finding an available time in November, but I don’t want to force my advisor pre-emptively, before he is certain that I am ready? So maybe when I send the next draft over to him?

      1. Hello AB,

        You’re in good shape! Make sure that you have all of your paperwork in early! Since your advisor wants the chapters as you write them, be sure to follow that course. This post that we wrote for the DH might be helpful: Think about conflicting issues in advance: Thanksgiving, giving final exams, big conferences in your field that members of your committee might be attending, etc. Try to plan around those and your own personal needs. Some people like to try for something after Thanksgiving because they need the break. It might be nice to hand your dissertation in to the committee before Thanksgiving e.g., Monday, the 11th (so that you can rest and enjoy the holiday before prepping for the defense), and then seek a date at the end of November.

        Renetta Tull

      2. Just saying hi! I don’t have much to add to what Dr. Tull said. I just remember that my committee members were hard to pin down, so once my advisor was “satisfied/confident enough” with my progress, we started checking schedules. I wasn’t that certain but I worked to meet the deadline once I had one. I hope that helps!

  230. Hello Everyone. Well… finally had a face to face conversation with my Chair. I honestly cannot remember the last time that was, but the last string of emails was mid-July. He’s back in the country and we chatted for a good while last night. My sample is going to increase by more than double – and as a result so will my time and my deadline. I’m okay with this, sort of. I expected it. So, new deadline is now 105 days away, no longer 48. Oh well. Maybe I can make it sooner than that, but I won’t be graduating December, that’s for sure.

    1. Sorry to hear your deadline has been pushed back but good to hear you seem to be taking it in stride. 105 days will be here soon enough, and you have a head start with the work you have been doing when you thought you had an earlier deadline.

    2. Leigh, it’s good to see you’re taking the adjustment in stride. You’ll definitely finish that way (if you ever worried about whether you would or not) – jumping through the hoops as they come rather than sitting around worrying about them.

      Also, it seems like it’s a nice thing to be on the same page with your chair; even though you might take a little more time, you’ll have satisfied all of the chair/committee’s expectations along the way and you will have a much better product in the end. We’re here pulling for you!

  231. I successfully defended my dissertation yesterday – it is done! I have some minor edits to do but my committee has already signed off on the dissertation. That was the best outcome ever! I am so relieved. I would post more but right now I am very tired from going out last night and work beckons this morning. Thank you to Dr. C-V and Dr. Tull for all of your help over the past year! And to all the DH members (past and present) who have been cheering me on.

    1. Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!!!! Congratulations, Kelley! I am celebrating with you in your happy exhaustion. And to not have many edits! That is fantastic!!! You have worked hard and you kept your accountability and it has paid off.

      Thank you for sharing the happy news. Today is a good day.


    2. Congratulations !!!!! Dr. Kelley with an e. Welcome to the Club.

      1. Thank you Dr. C-V!

    3. So happy for you! Congratulations!!

  232. Hello Everyone
    Welcome to back (even if you never left) to a new semester. Even if you are not attending UMBC, you should check your university’s website for graduation requirements and more importantly the deadlines. Missing a particular deadline can cost you another semester’s tuition.

    Have an exit strategy. If you are thinking about graduating in December your final draft of your dissertation should probably be completed by Oct 15, 2013, While we are at it if you are thinking about graduating in the Spring, mid-march to April 7th, 2014 should be your deadline. I put solid dates because December 2013 and May 2014 might seem as if you have a lot of time. Keep in mind that you must give time for your advisor to read and provide feedback prior to sending it to the readers and or committee members. Also your readers and committee members must have time to read the document before a defense date. They will not pull an all-nighter to read your dissertation. After reading the document they most-likely will be willing to set a defense date. After the defense you most-likely will have revisions. You will have to complete the revisions, have someone check the revisions, submit, & upload the document prior to being cleared to participate in the graduation ceremony. I wish you all the best this semester.

    1. Thanks Dr. C-V! I had to extend my deadline – a LONG overdue convo with my advisor (he was out of the country) resulted in a sample size more than double what I had, but I’m going to work it out. No longer October 15 but it is December 10. That way I can try and defend BEFORE spring semester starts… 🙂

  233. Happy September! Where did the summer go? I hope you folks are out there doing well.

  234. Hello Everyone!

    Hope you all enjoyed your 3 day weekend. I’m a 2nd yr PhD student in Industrial & Systems Engineering at NC A&T State University and I’m excited to join the blog! I am just beginning my dissertation research. This week I am revising the outline for my literature review and drafting an outline for each of my dissertation chapters.


  235. Good morning! Last week I finally sent my entire dissertation to my advisor for feedback. I’m aiming to defend this Fall semester. While I’m waiting for my advisor’s comments, I have taken a short break and am working on the appendix section. Any advice on what else I should be doing in the meantime? Thanks!

  236. Hi Dorian and Jennifer,
    Welcome, Dorian – I hope that you continue your posts to stay accountable and on-task. Jennifer, major congratulations! You might simply check in quickly with your advisor to find out what recommendations s/he has for improving the document without overlapping with any changes that s/he is making. You can always re-read what you wrote for typos and such, but stay on board with your advisor. Has s/he seen drafts of the individual chapters before this?

    Take care and have a great weekend,

  237. Hey DHers! I know it is has been a while since I have blogged (I am really bad at blogging) but I have great news. I have turned in my dissertation about a month ago and I will be defending my dissertation this Wednesday!!!! I am excited, nervous, and scared all at the same time!! Thanks to Dr. Carter-Veale and Dr. Tull for all their help and support as well as the support from everyone at DH!
    Keep writing and working hard and make sure you drink the Dr. Carter-Veale’s Juice!!!

    1. Is this the Nicole from DH in July 2013? Either way, CONGRATS!!

      1. Yes it is!! Thanks!

    2. Congratulations, Nicole! It’s great that you can feel the “excited” along with the “nervous” and “scared” – focus on the former and let it pull you through. You are on your way to the other side!

  238. Congratulations to all who have completed your work. Best wishes as you pursue your career post doctorate. We will all get there with consistency and hard work.

  239. In the end, I’m having a real “which came first, chicken or the egg” experience. I have been dead set on deadlines but twice now, significant wrenches have been thrown my way and my “dead” line has been moved. I hope that I can somehow keep my 12-10-13 deadline relevant because until I start to see the progress I don’t feel like I’m doing much more than making a to-do list. I am DOING the work, but the constant revisions and redirections have me a little thrown off. Making the most of what I’ve got, though!! 🙂

  240. Good Morning All
    It’s Thursday and a brand new day to make some forward progress on your dissertations. However, let’s congratulation our brand spanking newly minted PhD graduate student Dr. Nicole Barkley who passed her defense yesterday!!!!! Dr. Barkley Welcome to the Club!!!!

    About a year ago, Dr. Barkley came to the DH and said Dr. Carter “I need to be first on your one-on-one consultation list because I don’t know what I am doing? now she’s done! A good dissertation is a done dissertation.

    If you are struggling today that should give you some motivation to get out of bed and move your dissertation forward.
    Leigh keep coming toward the finish line, some days are like that and other days are more productive. It’s all part of the process.

    Jennifer send us an update. Do you have a defense date? Are your practicing your defense presentation? Have you started your PowerPoint slides?

    Have a great day.

  241. I hope folks are doing ok out there. Anyone checking in? I read today on The Daily Motivator not to be too hard on yourself, but don’t be too easy either. Have a sense of balanced urgency. You can keep going today!

    Wish you the best.

    1. Sorry I never wrote back – I am here at Employee DH on UMBC campus so you’ll be able to see where I am. How are YOU doing??

  242. Congratulations to Maritza!

  243. Hey DHers, Today is Day #82 until I finish my entire dissertation draft. Today I am working on writing Chapter 6 Section I (Chapter Introduction) and will beginning writing Section II.

  244. In the wise words of Ru Paul, “You better work!” Here’s what I need to get done in the next 2 days:
    (1) Find an article that uses geography and GIS mapping.
    (2) Write a 100-word annotation of this article
    (3) Find an article about alternative tourism
    (4) Write a 100-word annotation of this article
    (5) Edit the Limitations section of the GIS Pilot Project (GP3)
    (6) Update the Delimitations section of the GP3
    (7) Work on the Methodology section of the GP3

  245. So: Flood warnings and slow drivers and “locked” mouse pads on my computer did not prevent me from finally getting to the point of READY TO WRITE! I’m here and today I will complete my Georgia case study analysis – this means, second half of my results portion, and relating my case study to research question 1 and research question 2. I’ll check in with you later!

  246. Met my goal for the morning!! Ready for lunch and then after lunch, research questions 1 and 2!!

  247. Hello All
    Day 1 of the Dissertation House for Employees and Non-traditional students. Join us today and tomorrow. No excuses. Move your dissertation forward.

  248. At Dissertation House in UMBC…saw several accidents on the way but I am here…Working on editing 2 transcripts while here.

  249. Looks like it is time for to square away some details… Sorry to be cryptic but it is time to come to grips with what I am expected to do so I can set my deadline appropriately…

  250. Hi DHers, today I finished writing Chapter 6 Section I and will start Section II tomorrow

  251. Hello – finished 1 1/2 of my projected goals. Tonight I will finish my GA case study (pre-edit/revisions) Tomorrow during DH I will write out my interview questions, review state contact information, condense my journal of notes and THEN will set my DEADLINE!

    1. You’re on a roll Leigh! Keep up the good work 🙂

      1. Thanks Kelley!! Question: did you pay for summer tuition since you defended in the summer??

        1. No – I only paid for spring. And since I defended on the first day of the fall semester, I was considered a December graduate but I didn’t have to pay tuition so long as I had everything in (forms, approval sheet, final dissertation, surveys completed) by the 10th day of the semester.

  252. Checking into Dissertation House while at airport waiting for next flight. It’s 8 here so I should be able to review and editing 2 transcriptions.

  253. Good Morning!! My main focus for DH today is to solidify my schedule and deadline. This includes revising my template for each case study since it has changed since I first started these in July. I also want to complete my RQ1 answer for my case study. If I have time I want to start writing my interview questions as well as create the contact database for my interview contacts. These tasks will likely overflow into the rest of the day/weekend. If I can get these done, plus complete my GA case study to submit tomorrow, I will be VERY happy and can watch ‘Revenge!’ (I also pick up our family’s brand new car today!!)

  254. Good Morning DHers, Today I will work on writing Chapter 6 Section II, A, B, and C

  255. Good Morning Everyone,
    This is the first time I’ve participated in DH, and I’m thrilled! I’m at the very beginning of my process/planning. After having some lofty dreams about what I might accomplish in this 2 day DH, I’ve rehashed it all. I was able to re-configure my digitized research, as well as how I was thinking about it, and then start working within my new system today. So glad this experience happened at this time– it’s a great beginning.

  256. Good Morning All

    Welcome to day 2 of the Employee DH. It’s cold, cloudy but not raining. We are spending half of our Saturday working hard to get something done.
    This morning’s presentation was on “Preparing for your defense”.

    It’s Saturday—when you are working on your dissertation, weekends are for undergrads. You can move your dissertation forward today. Baby steps are still steps.

  257. Good Morning, Everyone,
    I participated for first time in the Dissertation House and I got a lot of it. I have to finish the proposal by the end of October, so I will continue working on it on Sunday and Monday… and the rest of the days. The Dissertation House helped me to get more confidence that I can finish the proposal. I also got clear idea about setting realistic goals to be accomplished.
    Thank you all,

    1. Great Nadia

      It’s November, what’s new with the proposal? Have you move it to a dissertation? Start by changing the tense from future to present/past. Check in let us know of your progress.

      1. Yes, Dr. Carter,
        I submitted it, but my adviser now wants me to make it shorter. So, hopefully, this Saturday I will submit the shorter version. I am moving slowly forward.

  258. Jet lag was real….was very tired and cranky. I edited one transcript yesterday while traveling and another today. They were long and tedious. 😦 but I did them. need to count again and see how many more need to be edited. Then back to coding.

    1. Time to update us on the progress Lenisa. Good to see you at SREB. Another day another opportunity to make some forward progress on your dissertation.

  259. Hello everyone,

    My name is Joi Mondisa and I am a third year PhD student in Engineering Education at Purdue University, West Lafayette. I had the pleasure of attending a Summer Horizons 2013 event. I also enjoyed speaking with Dr. Tull and Dr. Carter-Veale at the Dissertation House Summer 2013 and sitting in on some of the seminars as well. I truly appreciate the invitation to share my PhD journey on this blog.

    Right now, I am in the midst of developing my dissertation proposal for my prelim exam that is scheduled for December. My goals over the next two weeks are to finalize my literature review and elaborate on my research methods.


    1. Hello Joi
      Welcome to the Dissertation House. I hope you post often and are able to make full use of this site. All the best to you.
      Dr. CV

  260. Trying to complete the rest of a chapter this week while applying to postdocs and jobs. Fingers crossed, nose to the grindstone!

    1. Our fingers are crossed for you! and we have added your request to the prayer list too. Let us know what the results were.

  261. Hello All
    I see that it’s been a while since we all posted to the blog. I know many of you are busy. Perhaps you are busy working on your dissertation. Nonetheless, I know of many students who have used this blog to finish their PhD. It’s important to posts your goals in a public place rather than in your head. It’s important to let people know that you are working on your dissertation and to let others see your progress. Likewise your lack of progress also shows others that there are points where others struggle too.

    When you are stuck you will have a community who will reach out to you or answer your questions to get you “unstuck.” Just sitting at home alone stuck does not get you any closer to your PhD. There is help out here in the world if you are willing to seek it. There is very little value in suffering in silence.

    This post is for all of you working on your dissertations, proposals, qualifying exam etc. There is value in your work. You might not finish your dissertation today but you can post a reply and make some progress on your dissertation. Prove me wrong today and reply.

    What’s going on DHers? What’s new in the world of writing your dissertations? Are we there yet?

    1. Hi everyone…. I haven’t been posting on here recently but I just wanted to check in to report I passed my dissertation defense : ) To those struggling, your persistence in hard work will bring you to the end.

  262. I am working Dr. CV! I am not there yet..the road is getting narrower. Tonight I am coding documents. I made a list of documents, checked it twice and dropped a quite a few. Reviewed my research questions did a brief run though of the lit review and decided I only really need to focus on 5 documents. Your tweets today were very helpful in reminding me where to focus. They are all over 100 pages but it’s just 5.

  263. I guess no one else is working. I remembered Dr. CV saying to finish something. I’ve been wanting to rewrite the end of the quantitative section I submitted to my advisor. Tonight I am rewriting it and then resubmitting and asking politely if she would read it by next week.

  264. Ok I still seem to be the only person…but when I drink the cool aid stuff happens. I did not complete the rewrite last night. Got very sleepy and left for home about 11 not sure if I brushed my teeth last night (oops) just changed crawled under the covers. Today was a struggle to get out the bed but I was able to get out of bed, clean up and get to campus HOORAY for me. Shared with my advisor that I was rewriting the section on comments. She agreed to read this weekend if I get it to her by Friday. So I am here (in the quiet space working).

  265. I finalized my literature review and research methods and submitted my proposal to my committee today. Now I will begin preparing for my prelim exam on December 5.

  266. Hello Lenisa and Joi
    Good to see your persistence. Aditi thanks for sharing that you passed your defense. As we approach December’s graduation, we have a number of students who are preparing this semester to defend their dissertations. Sammie H will defend Nov, 25, 2013 so will Nanda!!!! We wish them the best of luck. If you have a defense date let us know so that we send out good thoughts and prayers. Use your elevator pitch that we have practiced in the DH many times to start your defense off on a good foot. Happy Holidays as we approach the end of November and the beginning of December.

  267. Hello All
    It’s December and time for graduation. No one has posted since my last post? We are getting ready for Winter DH. If you have not graduated and want to work during your “vacation” think about joining us. Soon we will be posting the deadline for applications.
    Sammie & Nanda I have to assume that you have both passed your respective defenses. Congratulations and welcome to the club. Please let us share in your accomplishment. Autumn is up next for a defense on Valentine’s day. Lenisa did you turn that chapter over to your committee? I am looking forward to seeing everyone at UMBC’s graduation on the 19th. Remember a good dissertation is a done dissertation.

  268. Congratulations Aditi, Sammie, Nanda, and Rae!
    We also have to congratulate Nohemi (she defended this Fall as well!)

    Good luck everyone! Your hard work will be worth it!

  269. Happy 2014 Everyone…Looking forward to getting my Ph.D. this year 🙂

  270. Okay okay, here I am. I’ve been working diligently but have a few too many place to post my progress – so much so that it sometimes prevents me from actually progressing. I’m currently working on getting out of a funk, does that count? I planned on moving forward today but have spent most of the day trying to address just ONE point my Chair made. I think I’ve tackled it, but I’m sort of bummed I’m not as far along as I need to be. I know I’ll feel differently another day.

    1. Getting out of a funk definitely counts! Glad to hear you are making progress. Sometimes forecasting the amount of time spent on various items is an imprecise science. But just know that sometimes things you think will take a long time will take less too – so it works both ways!

  271. Hi everyone, we’re going to close this page and we invite you to join us on the Winter 2014 page:

    Leigh … working on getting out of a funk IS progress. Don’t underestimate that milestone. Congratulations on taking a step forward. Kellie is correct, and she is a great example of how progress is made by moving forward step by step by step.
    Lenisa, yes … PhD 2014 … looking forward to the celebration!

    Please join us on the new page. Visit

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What is dissertation house?

The Dissertation House program is an intensive writing retreat designed to help graduate students overcome the barriers that often impede progress on their dissertations. Developed by the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, the program provides a supportive and structured environment where students can focus on their writing, receive feedback, and learn effective time management and goal-setting strategies. Over several days, students work in groups, participate in workshops, and receive coaching from experienced facilitators. The Dissertation House program has been highly successful in helping students make significant progress on their dissertations. It is widely regarded as a valuable resource for graduate students seeking to complete their degrees.