It’s that time of year. Rise to the challenge, take flight, and take the dissertation to another level. Work on that dissertation and get it done! Our online challenges span 6 months each: Winter Challenge [January – July] and Summer Challenge [July – December.]

Welcome to the Dissertation House On-line, Summer 2016 season! This page will be active from July 2016 – December 2016. Congratulations to our latest round of new PhDs! (See our “Alumni” page for regular updates.)

Ballon_halfSizeYou can participate in the online Dissertation House from any part of the world. Students join the Dissertation House (DH) from various states in the US and several countries. The “DHers” who participate in person come from universities throughout Maryland, with sponsorship from the National Science Foundation’s PROMISE AGEP: Maryland Transformation (Alliance for Graduate Education and the Professoriate, AGEP-T), and funding from our graduate schools. We invite and encourage all doctoral students to join us. Graduate students within the University System of Maryland will have a special opportunity to join us in person this summer during the July Dissertation House during the PROMISE Summer Success Institute.

Dr. Wendy Carter-Veale is your “Head Coach.” Dr. Carter-Veale will be conducting the “in-person” Dissertation House at UMBC – July 2016 at UMBC, and August 2016 at the PROMISE SSI. Our pre-registered participants are required to blog in daily during their time in the Dissertation House, and are encouraged to continue blogging until they finish their dissertations.

Since we are not able to accommodate everyone in-person due to the cost and space, join us ONLINE, from your location … from any state in the U.S. or any country in the world. Take the time, share this space. Take the challenge to finish your dissertation!

To join us online:

  • Go to the comment section below and introduce yourself (name, school, department.) Note: You may use your full name or an alias. If you have a blog, you may use your blogger ID, however, you do not need a username or password to participate.
  • Tell us what you are working on and what you plan to accomplish today or over the next few days.
  • 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.

Push through adversities, complications, and issues.  Finish sections, work with your committee and advisor, complete drafts, defend proposals, pass defenses, and turn in your final documents. If you have joined us in the past, come back again if you are still working on your document. We started the Dissertation House in March 2006, and we are still here, … committed to your success! This is your online community. Focus on the finish, and finish well!


Summer Dissertation House Challenge Photo Credits: Paul J. Everett, “Hot Air Balloon Summer Heat Festival,” and DarlArthurS’ “Colorado Springs Hot Air Balloon Competition,” under Creative Commons attribution 2.0. The Summer 2016 Dissertation House is co-sponsored by The Graduate School at UMBC, and by PROMISE: Maryland’s AGEP.

245 responses to “Summer 2016 Challenge”

  1. This site is now open! Join us! Are you working on your dissertation? What are your goals?

    1. Hello Dr. Tull and DHers,

      Yes, I am working on my dissertation. The topic is examining perceived discrimination as a possible mediator in the relationship between ethnicity, gender, and laboratory pain responses.
      I am working on the background sections of the fundamentals of pain and stress physiology. I’ve been working on different subheadings over the past 3 weeks. I keep getting sucked into pulling additional articles and re-writing sentences.

      My goal is to finish the stress physiology chapter today.


  2. […] and you can’t attend on your school’s designated date, please join us for the “2016 Dissertation House ONLINE.” You will be able to blog daily, and work along with others who are attending the […]

  3. Hello everyone!

    My goals for this Dissertation House is to finish my code for my current project!

    Hope you guys are working hard too!!

    1. Hello there! I’m happy to see you here. Good luck with that code (and don’t forget the documentation!) Please feel free to invite others from your network in case they need a space … if you’d like. If you all have a room there, where you can work together while joining us, that would be extremely cool! Let me know if there is a way that I can help!

  4. Greetings,

    My name is Erin Berry and I am a PhD Candidate in the Language, Literacy & Culture (LLC) Program at UMBC. I am currently editing Chapters 1 & 2 of my dissertation, while also working on a book review and book chapter. (YIKES)

    I look forward to being a part of the Dissertation House via this online portal! 🙂

    1. Hi Erin! Welcome. Guess what? You’re almost there! Chapters 1 & 2? Congratulations! You’re doing so well. I still remember your first day of orientation. Keep moving forward!

  5. Hello!

    I am working on my PhD in Language, Literacy and Culture. I would like to finish revising my papers for comps in the next two weeks, so that I can focus on a book chapter, fall presentations, a summer course I’m teaching, and my dissertation proposal. I’m also a mom with kids home for the summer–eek! Thanks for the support and good luck, everyone!

    1. Hello! I’m happy to see that the LLC cohorts are here! Students from LLC have been using the DH for years to finish strong! You’re part of that legacy. We’ve also had mamas come in virtually to use this space … and finish! They are docs, and you will be able to do this as well! Depending on the ages of your children, you can give them little chores to do to help you, with some treat-based family time mixed in at certain times of the day, e.g., afternoon “go-to-the park” break, evening movie break. We’re cheering you on, and will help you to chart your progress.

  6. Jonathan Bailey Avatar
    Jonathan Bailey

    Hello All!

    My name is Jonathan Bailey. I am a PhD Candidate in African American History at Morgan State University. I am currently writing and editing chapters 1 and 2. In addition, I am working on a article for a journal. I look forward to interacting with this group while I continue to embark on this writing journey!

    1. Jonathan, hello! It’s good to see Morgan State in the house! We’ve had folks from Morgan come in the past, and they have finished … they’re living their lives with their doctorates now. Ok .. chapters 1 and 2 … plus an article. Coach Dr. Wendy Carter-Veale urges everyone to think about “measurable” goals. So, think about this week. What is the thing that you want to COMPLETE this week? You may consider focusing on the dissertation this week, which can clear the way for working on the article next week while your advisor is reading your updates. Think about completing chunks of work. Thanks for joining!

      1. Jonathan Bailey Avatar
        Jonathan Bailey

        Duly noted. I will take heed to your advice and concentrate on my dissertation this week, and focus on my article the following week.

  7. Hello, hello!

    I am Talia, a Ph.D. candidate in Higher Education at Penn State (though working full-time in another state). I’m trying to get back on the horse…it kicked me off and I’ve been afraid to get back on. How’s that for honesty? No one every wants to talk about the rough parts of the process. Anyway, I’m finishing vacation (yes, everyone needs one) and will be back to routine on Tuesday afternoon. This week, I’d like to end the mind games I’m playing with myself and finish editing what I have for chapters 1 & 2. That may be too ambitious, so maybe I’ll aim for chapter 2.

    Happy thinking and writing, everyone!

    1. Hi Talia! Enjoy the rest of your vacation, and then stick to your plan to get back on the horse! (It’s waiting for you … patiently! ) How about saying that you will edit chapter 1, and finish it. Let’s start there. 🙂 Let us know when you finish that, then you can move on to chapter 2.

  8. Hi,
    I’m Debora Kamin Mukaz and I’m a Ph.D. student in Medical Sciences at the University of Delaware. For this summer, I plan on publishing a literature review. Additionally, I am working on the first part of my dissertation project.

    1. Debora, hi! It’s great to see you here. So … as you get into what you will do over the summer, tell us what you will do THIS WEEK. The purpose of the Dissertation House is to help you to parse out specific goals, and encourage you to stick to them. What is that thing that you will do THIS WEEK?

      1. This week, I want to read and take notes on at least 20 articles for my lit review. Moreover, I plan on attending a seminar on moderation to, hopefully, finish my statistical analysis next week.

  9. Hello there!
    I’m Micah and I am an MS/PhD student at the University of Georgia, in the Warnell School of Forestry. Over the next month I plan to finish my fieldwork and write a draft of my first thesis chapter!

    1. Hello Micah! Welcome! Ok, that sounds good. Dr. Carter-Veale and I want you to think about what you will do *this week*. If you’re in the field now, you’re probably taking daily notes and transcribing them in the evenings. However, if you have a few hours a day to carve out for writing your thesis, think about what you need to do for that first chapter. Do you have your outline already? Are you following the scientific method such that your first chapter is an introduction? Regardless of the structure (as dictated by your advisor and department), plan to work on that first part this week. Start with something like: “I will finish the outline for my thesis, and write 4 pages of my introduction.”

      1. Thank you!

        This week I want to finish packing for my field season, which starts when I land in Los Angeles on Wednesda. Once I’ve arrived at the dorms I want to organize my room, the next week’s schedule, field bag, and records system for daily fieldwork by Friday.
        I only have a very general outline for my first chapter so I’d like to flesh it out a little bit more by Sunday into a more complete topic outline of my literature review with references included.
        Today I packed all of my field equipment and arranged for my pet sitter. However, I still want to send a copy of my soil density protocol to my soils professor and organize my suitcase before the day is done.

      2. Tomorrow is my first day off since I got to my research station. I ran into some tansportation problems when I first arrived in Los Angeles and have since shortened my trip by 2 weeks to save money. That said, I’ve already finished collecting data from 53 of my 80 sites and hope to be finished with fieldwork by Wednesday! So, its slightly understandable why I haven’t written anything for my thesis since I arrived… but by the end of next week, I want to organize my EndNote references and update my prospectus. Hopefully I’ll be able to modify some portions of my prospectus and add them to my first chapter.

  10. Shaquinta Richardson Avatar
    Shaquinta Richardson

    Hi everyone,
    My name is Shaquinta Richardson and I am a PhD student in Human Development and Family Science at the University of Georgia. I’m actually working on my comprehensive exams in preparation of becoming a candidate. I figured that even though I’m not quite working on my dissertation yet, I’m very close and this space can help me get there as I write the papers for my exam.

    1. Hi Shaquinta! Nice to meet you. Do you know Micah, above? I see that the University of Georgia is in the house. For the record, if there are several of you from a particular school or region, we recommend that you consider meeting together to work, and then you can blog together. Vanderbilt University has done something similar based on the efforts of Myriam Diaz Martinez and the Researchers for Collaborative Success: They have spaces that they’ve carved out for writing. (Myriam is a doc student at Vanderbilt, but was part of PROMISE when she was at UMBC during some of her postbac lab training.)

      1. Shaquinta Richardson Avatar
        Shaquinta Richardson

        Hi Dr. Tull,
        Yes, Micah and I are friends. That’s a very good idea. Our other friend Kishana is also going to be participating.

        1. Excellent! I saw Kishana’s post this morning. Make a pact with one another. Make it happen. You (ALL) will do this!

  11. Hi there,
    I’m Elisa and I’ve been working on my DBA (Doctor of Business Administration) with a Marketing focus since 2011. All coursework was completed by 2013 with a 4.0 GPA, and I was hoping to be finished with the research/dissertation by now. Opportunities have arisen in the last couple of years while trying to complete which have put me in a position where I had to make financial decisions, choosing between once in a lifetime opportunities to put my money into, or the research/dissertation sessions which are $3500 or so every 8 weeks.
    Over the Summer I would like to finish updating my current 80 page research paper (dissertation) as many of my references I can no longer use. Once I have done this, I can then go back into my sessions and hope to be done in 2017. At Walden we need to have at least 85% of the references in the last 5 years and as I began the paper in 2013/2014, a huge overhaul is in order. most references before 2012 will need to be replaced, and I have many from 2010, 2011, and 2012, as I thought I would be done by 2015.
    I have many things going on with my brands, my daughter, opportunities that take my breath away, but I have to finish this, I’m determined to finish this. I believe I time out in 2019, but I don’t want to get to the last six months and leave it too late.
    Love this group… as it offers accountability that I need.

    1. Hi Elisa! Welcome! OK, first, do you have the references that you need? Do you do annotated bibliographies in your field? That can help because you find sources, and then you write something short that gives you 1-page (or shorter) synopsis of the article. I ask my scholars to provide an annotated bibliography that has the contribution of the work, methods, results, conclusion, and next steps. This provides building blocks.

      One of the keys to having good references for a dissertation is to make sure that you have included the work of your committee members, and their colleagues, and work that *they* are regularly using. Think like a professor here … what do you want your students to know? Include that. Your field is different from mine, but it seems that your references should not need to be *replaced,* as you are appropriately building upon work that exists. You will indeed need to ADD to your reference base, because the research has continued. If your advisor has told you to eliminate some references, then that’s a different story, but you are a researcher, and you are building a foundation for your work based on the work of others, therefore, work that contributes to that foundation is relevant. It is not wasted!

      Thanks for joining us!

  12. Hi everyone,
    I’m Thao Tran, a former graduate student at UMBC (graduated in July 2015), and currently a postdoc at Hopkins. I highly recommend you to participate in the Dissertation House and tell your friends about this awesome opportunity. Under Dr. Tull and Dr. Carter’s coaching in the Dissertation House of winter 2015, I was able to start and finish both of my independent proposal and dissertation within 6 months as I wanted. I am still so thankful until these days for this Dissertation House and for their help!

    Don’t be afraid, listen to their advice, and just do it! Good luck to everyone!

    1. Hi Thao!!! It’s good to “see” you! Thanks for chiming in! We appreciate you!

    2. Hello Thao

      Thanks for checking in and sharing your story along with your encouraging words.
      All the best to you.

  13. Hello, all! My name is Tee and I’m a doctoral candidate in American Studies at UMD. My goal is to defend my dissertation by the end of this year. I’m working full-time, which has posed the biggest challenge to completing anything related to my research and writing, and it has contributed to a painfully protracted graduate experience. I also have a full plate balancing other commitments and relationships, and I haven’t been able to genuinely pursue more dynamic and profitable professional opportunities because I’m not done with my doctoral program.

    Honestly, I’ve always been the type to give 100% to anything I’ve committed myself to, but I’ve had the hardest time doing that with my doctoral work. I really want to change that!

    My short-term goal (i.e. for the week) is to get 5-10 more pages written for chapter 2 (a content chapter), and to have 5 to workshop with my writing partner by this Wednesday evening (7/6/16). I also need to collect more qualitative data for the next 2 months with a group I’ve been following, and I need to touch base with (elusive!) contacts this week to get those arrangements in order.

    I look forward to learning, growing, and making substantive progress with this group!

    Happy researching/writing, all!

    1. Hi Tee! That’s a good goal. I would encourage you to use the resources at College Park too. I know that it’s hard if you work full-time, so we’re happy to you can join us here! Think about when you can write if you’re doing this while working … early in the morning? Later at night? Find your special time and stick to it. When I’m writing publications, I typically start at 5:30 AM and write until 7:30 AM, and then go to work, and then I use 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM to continue. What works for you?

      1. Thank you, Dr. Tull! I’m glad to be able to participate in this space, and I also registered for the Promise/AGEP SSI Saturday event in August.

        My commute is long, so waking up early hasn’t worked since I need to be up earlier to get to work at a reasonable time, but I can try to do a better job of writing at night. My job is in academic affairs/student affairs, so I pour out a lot of energy working with students one-on-one each day. I’m working with someone right now to help me compartmentalize a little more so I have more energy for my own work at the end of the day. Lately, I’ve been meeting with my writing partner after work once a week, and we commit to 3 hours at a time. Maybe I can try for a few other nights where from 5pm – 7pm I stay at work and write, or 7pm – 9pm I allow myself enough time to get home and get a quick bite to eat then write.

        1. Hi Tee! I’m glad that you will be coming to the SSI: Others here are invited as well. If you are going to work at work, I would recommend considering a different spot other than your office so that you can’t be disturbed, nor pulled into any meetings. If eating is an issue, perhaps you can bring your dinner with you, or eat a full lunch and have something light in the cafeteria (with your laptop) in the evening. Since you’re in American Studies, I would encourage you to talk with Christopher Perez in The Graduate School as he is also in your department. There may be an “after hours” space available in STAMP, the department, or other location on campus to facilitate writing, particularly for those of you who are working and pouring your energy into others during the day.

          1. Christopher is my writing partner! Lol. I have a carrel in the main library reserved for my use this summer, so we’re going to try out that space. Separation from the office is really important since it’s so easy to get sucked into doing or thinking about something else while there. Also, thank you for the great suggestions and encouragement!

  14. […] Over the holiday weekend, the Dissertation House online opened, and we already have several students who have come over to join! The Dissertation House at UMBC which will house approximately 12-15 students in-person during the week with workshops, writing sessions, and meals, will also feature blogging activities. Since space is limited, we have invited others to join us online. This invitation extends to you. If you are working on your dissertation this summer, or if you SHOULD be working on your dissertation, we invite you to join us. Click here: […]

  15. Hi all. I was a PhD candidate in Science Education at the University of Michigan. (I am a UMBC alum–BS in Biochemistry 2001, minor in MLL focusing on Spanish.) I completed a draft of my dissertation and my pre-oral defense. Usually, that occurs about 1 month before the public defense. I took a tenure track job in a new state and was teaching and starting my research agenda while finishing my dissertation (I had planned to finish before I started my job). During my pre-oral, it became clear that my committee wanted me to reanalyze my data (qualitative) and rewrite my dissertation. Unfortunately, I became overwhelmed and had to step back from my dissertation and job. I withdrew from the program so that I didn’t have to continue paying tuition, but I always had it in the back of my mind that I could petition to re-enroll when I was healthy enough. It’s now three years later. I’ve had some pretty dramatic life changes recently, and I think I might have the support system that I might need to finally do it.

    My goal is to seriously investigate restarting my dissertation work–reopen my old files, read my draft, assess my status, and build a plan for moving forward. My first new business will be to transcribe video.

    1. One question: The directions say to “blog in,” and I wasn’t sure if there was a blog run by this page or if I was supposed to maintain my own blog. Thanks.

      1. Hi Kathryn,

        You are doing it correctly, you are “blogging in” by writing here, although in the past, we have had some people opt to start their own pages because it allowed them to have limitless (long) posts that they continued until they graduated.

        Getting back in after 3 years is a great testament to your commitment. Congratulations to you for coming back. Do you have a committee in place there at Michigan? I would say that your first step should be to open your file, and print out your draft. Read it, and congratulate yourself for what you’ve already done. Talk with your committee to see what they recommend as next steps. If you haven’t already had the conversation, you can talk with them about this based on what YOU think that you need to add, according to their areas of expertise, your hypothesis, and the direction of your field. Be sure that you are on the same page so that you are working on things that count, and not just on what you think that you should do … as your thoughts may differ from what your advisor may want to see from you.

        Thanks for coming in!

  16. Hi all!
    My name is Kishana Taylor. I am a PhD Student at the University of Georgia in the Interdisciplinary Biomedical Sciences Program. My goal is to finish my presentation for my prospectus defense and study for my oral comprehensive exam, both on Monday July 11th and continue working on the first chapter of my dissertation.

    1. Kishana! Hello! Thank you so much for coming; it’s good to “see” you again after our conference. I see that there are several of you here from U. of Georgia. Perhaps you all can share a room and write, or meet for coffee to blog in, or just touch base with one another since you are on the same campus.

      Ok. You have a week. As you are studying for your orals, do you have 1-2 oral practices scheduled? I recommend having one session with your friends just to move through the material and to give you feedback on the *delivery*, and one with your lab mates (include postdocs, lab managers) and ask them to give you good critical feeback on the *content.* Please consider something with your friends on Wednesday afternoon or Thursday morning, and with your research group on Thursday afternoon or Friday morning.

      1. Shaquinta Richardson Avatar
        Shaquinta Richardson

        We actually wrote together yesterday (with Micah as well) and I think we all got a good bit done. Micah wanted us to post about her completing her protocol for her research and she will be traveling to California today!

      2. I practiced my orals with friends (wednesday) and lab mates (Thursday). I took my exam on Monday and PASSED! My committee stressed the need for me to improve my writing. So my goal for this next week is to work on the literature review section of dissertation. Both reviewing what is already written and adding more to the section.

  17. Hi, my name is Will. I am a PhD student at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore in Organizational Leadership, social science department. My goal is to use the next 4 weeks to finish preparing for the comprehensive exams on August 3 and 4, 2016. After comprehensive exams, my goals are to focus on chapters 1-2 in August-September, chapter 3 in October-November and submit my dissertation proposal by December 2016.

    1. Shaquinta Richardson Avatar
      Shaquinta Richardson

      Hi Will, I defend my comps on August 5 and we have similar timelines. We got this!

      1. Great Shaquinta, we can encourage one another! We got this!

        1. Yes, great! Continue to encourage each other! Welcome back Will! We hope to see you at the SSI this year as well:

          1. Thank you Dr. Tull, thank you for providing this space for us to connect and encourage one another. Yes, I’m registered for SSI, got an earlier engagement, hope to be there by 10:30.

    2. Hello Will

      Thank you for joining us. I am glad to see you here. I hope you have read the 2 articles I recommended to help you move forward. Best of luck on your Comps.

      1. Hi Dr. CV, yes, I read those articles and I believe they were instrumental as I prepare and organized my notes for comps. I took the comps last week (Aug 4 and 5) and felt good, pre/during and post. I should have the official results in about 3-4 weeks.

  18. Hi! My name is Jess. I’m working on my dissertation for the Applied Developmental Psychology PhD program at UMBC. I’m trying hard to balance things this summer with minimal childcare for my 2 and 5 year olds, but luckily have supportive in-laws to help out! This week I am meeting with some master’s students who will be helping me to code articles for the meta-analysis portion of my dissertation. I’m also meeting up with an undergrad who will be doing some data extraction for me. After that, I hope to get moving on these articles. Longer term goal is to have all the articles coded and data extracted by the start of fall semester!

    1. Hi Jess! Welcome! That sounds good. We have a few moms here in the DH in the Commons, and some others online, so you are not along. So it looks like you are focusing on coding and extraction. Are you going to do some writing as well? I would recommend making a goal to finish a few pages of writing each week to go along with the other activities. It will fuel your fire, and assist with the momentum.

      1. Hi! Thanks for the reply. I don’t have a writing goal right now. I proposed my dissertation in June so my documents have completed introductions and method sections. Right now, I need to focus on getting the data, which includes reading and coding A LOT articles. I also have an actual study I will be starting as soon as IRB approval comes in. I do plan to write as the data comes in though! I met with my undergrad yesterday who will be working on the data extraction (pulling the coordinates out of the graphs) and am meeting with masters students today to discuss how to code the articles and split up the load. Before I meet with them, I plan to code 1-2 articles for examples.

  19. Hi! I’m Elizabeth. I’ve entered No Man’s Land in the dissertation process – my way of saying that the process has now exceeded the four years I allotted. I am working on the lit review and I am in the Walden University Richard Riley School of Education, PhD program specializing in learning, instruction, and innovation. I need to get my lit review substantially filled out. I guess what’s happened could be called procrastination, but I really, really want to get this done and just feel very blocked.
    I welcome all helpful words! Best to all of you!

    1. Hi Elizabeth. So, let’s eliminate the procrastination, and put that faith (from your moniker) into action. Let’s create a goal. How much of the lit review will you complete today? What is your target? How many articles?

      1. Today I’m going to update my references section. I have 8 articles to add. My chair has asked me to move on to my conceptual framework. I’ll begin finding articles for that section.

  20. Hi All,
    I’m Georgette, a Ph.D. student at North Carolina A&T State University in Industrial & Systems Engineering. I am researching dissertation topics while interning in MD for the summer. Any advice on how to narrow down a dissertation topic is welcomed. I have considered starting a blog. Just remember to take it a day at a time!!! I look forward to exchanging thoughts with everyone.

    1. Hi Georgette! Since you’re in Maryland, you should come in to see us. We’ve had others from A&T who were interning in the DMV, come in to join us in person for lunch. Your poetry is beautiful; now let’s harness some of that energy and put it into the dissertation. Consider the following things with regard to your dissertation topic:
      1) What is the problem that you want to solve within your discipline?
      2) Is it within an area of expertise for your advisor and members of your committee (to answer this, you should read review each of their CVs, and read at least 5 papers for each person.)
      3) Is it in line with the research that is coming out of your department
      4) Do the papers that you’re reading mention your research question as a “next step” or “future work?”

      Think about these things. Let us know if you want to join us for a Dissertation House lunch at UMBC, tomorrow, or Thursday, 12-1.

      1. Rodrigo Alatriste-Diaz Avatar
        Rodrigo Alatriste-Diaz

        Hi All,

        Rodrigo Alatriste, Doctoral Candidate in Development Sociology at Cornell. Today I will be writing a variable justification section for my dissertation for 2 hours. I will divide the rest of my day into 1) organizing output for factor analysis for my RAship and 2) checking for missing values in a summary 1 file for my dissertation.

        Happy Friday!

  21. Hi everyone,

    I’m Ohud Saud, a Ph.D. student at UMBC in Information Systems. I’m working on my dissertation in data mining field. Currently, I’m building a predictive model to identify potential breaches and analyze what kind of data could be leaked by applying risk assessment approach. I’m almost done with the data preprocessing & codes (one final code and I’ll finish coding part) and I’m starting with the documentation so I choose to join the DH to be heading in the right direction.

    Good luck to you all 🙂

    1. Welcome Ohud to Day 1 of the DH. One final code!! yeah. The documentation seems to be the best place to make some progress with your writing. We looking forward to reading your progress report this evening. How long did the final code take and were you able to begin the writing process?
      Good luck.

      1. I will start with the final code once I make a progress with the document.

        Thank you,

  22. Good morning DH!

    My name is Sheila Prados. I am in year six of the Language, Literature and Culture doctoral program at UMBC.

    I am happy to be here this morning and wish you all well in reaching your goals for this workshop and throughout your career.

    1. Hello Shelia

      Welcome to Day 1 of the DH. Welcome back to the DH. The goals your posted on the board in class were very specific and ambitious. Let us know if you were able to get done all that you planned just for today. Estamos acqui para ti (We’re here for you!). That’s all the Spanish I know, but it is enough to get the sentiment across.

  23. Good Morning Dissertation House Members!

    I am Amanda Lo, a Master’s student from the Biological Sciences Dept. at UMBC, who is helping to staff Dissertation House. Wishing everyone best of luck on their writing this week! 🙂

  24. Hello Everyone,
    At the dissertation house this week and plan to work on reviewing 30 journal articles. Today I aim to get through 7 papers, additionally review, methods of 4 papers I previously looked over.

    1. Dr. J

      It was great speaking with you this morning. I am looking forward to the progress report at the end of the day. It is always helpful to know what you are looking for when you are reviewing a paper. It should make the process go a lot faster.

  25. Hi Everyone,
    I am TJ, I am a PhD Candidate and working on my dissertation. My goal for today is to edit my TOC and write 5 methods for my thesis and read one paper on phosphorylation and summarize.

    Happy working to you all too 🙂


    1. Hello TJ

      Welcome to Day 1 of the DH. Your goals sound quite ambitious. Let us know at the end of the day how much you were able to accomplish.

      1. Hi Dr. CV,
        I have completed editing my TOC, organized the papers, and written 5 materials and methods. However, reading and summarizing the paper takes longer than I thought. I will tackle the remaining material and methods section tomorrow and also continue writing the introduction and read papers along the way.

        Thanks for you guidance.


        1. TJ Glad to see that you have made some progress and I agree it takes longer to read & summarize. However, will remember more of the article if you are able to summarize it in your own words. Keep up the good work. Glad to see that you stayed to 5:00.

  26. Good Morning! I am from UMBC in the Department of Chemistry. I am working on the final edits of my independent proposal and portions of my dissertation during DH this week. Today I plan to finish edits from my introduction and aim 1.

    1. Hello dmccaul4

      The dreaded IP. As we agreed let’s get it finish today and edit tomorrow. It’s important for all of us to remember that it does not have to be all or nothing. You do not have to write and edit on the same day. In many circumstances it is helpful to put some time and space between these 2 processes.

  27. Good Morning!

    My name is Patrick Carrington. I am starting my 6th year of the Human-Centered Computing program at UMBC. I will be working on my dissertation. For the week I’ll be working on making revisions based on feedback from my proposal. I’ll be making additions to my literature review and edits to my study protocols.

    1. Hello Patrick

      Glad to see that you are working on your revisions. It is always helpful to organize your revisions when you get any feedback. My suggestion is that you go through your revisions from start to finish and mark, E (Easy revision–i.e. can be done immediately) M, (Medium—can be done while you are on the computer without having to look up a source) D (Difficult–need to read something else, conduct another experiment, etc). Go back though the document and finish all of the Es then the Ms, then tackle the Ds after building confidence from addressing the other 2 categories.

  28. Howdy, folks.

    My name is Erin Buehler, I’m a PhD candidate in the human-centered computing program at UMBC in the Information Systems Department. My goal for today is to continue reviewing data I recently gathered over the previous semester. This is data will go toward a chapter in my dissertation and will help me formulate my next study (part of tomorrow’s goals).

    Happy writing to all.

    1. Hello Erin

      Welcome to Day 1 of the DH. Glad to see that you are reviewing the data from the previous semester. It might be helpful to consider what is the end product of the review? Will it be a table, figure, illustration? What decisions will you make after your review?
      Let me know at the end of the day…

      1. My deliverable on this task was going to be more strict definitions of some terms I had used in my proposal document, including concepts like turn-taking (what are the attributes of a turn, what constitutes a good or bad turn) and positive learning outcomes (grades, self-efficacy) in the context of my topic. I started on this task, but noticed that the theme really emerging from my qualitative analysis was more about engagement. I put the analysis on hold and sought out references relevant to student engagement from both education literature and human-computer interaction studies. This led me to an existing collection of protocol instruments for measuring engagement using observations and self-reports. I ultimately did less analysis than planned, but consider these protocols a major point of progress because they address questions my committee raised and will further my analysis. My plan tomorrow is to finish reviewing these instruments and select one to apply to my existing data set.

        1. Good for you Erin. Glad you could make a connection to what the committee wanted. You never know what you will find until you get started. Keep up the good work.

  29. Welcome to Day 1 of the Summer 2016 Dissertation House.
    If you’re here you are in the right place. You have joined a larger community of dissertation writers some of whom have finished and some of whom are working on finishing their proposal or dissertation. A good dissertation is a done dissertation. You can use this opportunity to make some progress on your writing knowing that you are no alone in your quest to complete your Ph.D.

    This forum is a chance for you to have some accountability to others that you are setting goals and accomplishing them on a daily basis. I wish you all the best and thank you for joining the group of writers here on the campus of UMBC.

  30. Day 1 DH Blog out:
    Went through 8 articles, reviewed methods of 1 of the previous papers.

    Day 2 plan:
    Review 10 additional papers

    1. Dr. J
      Good to see you making progress…we agreed on 20 at the minimum by Friday so you are well on your way.

  31. Hi DH’ers

    I completed my goals for today. I did not make as much progress on goal two, but I will be on it 1st thing in the morning. Hope everyone was productive and leave here motivated and inspired. Tomorrow I will continue summarizing the mental health report. I need to make a connection between Wht/Blk/Othr groups in order to justify why I chose my sample. I also need to incorporate the socio-cultural component into the intro to make a statement…last thoughts of the day.

    See you tomorrow…..

    P.S. I wish DH was everyday!! It feels great to be in the same room suffering and triumphing with my peers!!! Write On!

  32. Today I was able to update my table of contents and compile new references for my literature review. I started a spreadsheet to help organize the findings and themes for my related work and will continue reading and summarizing tomorrow.

    I did not set a goal for just today but will set one for tomorrow. I think that will help me focus on getting just one thing done at a time.

  33. As we wrap today up, I was able to start edits for the first half of my IP and begin the third aim. I spent the afternoon summarizing 5 papers in order to complete aim 3 tomorrow. I’m hoping to have aim 3 finished by tomorrow.

    1. Dmccaul4 good to see that you have started the edits and summarized 5 papers. I would like for your to get “hoping” out of your vocabulary and make the change by using more declarative statements. “I will finish aim 3 by tomorrow”. Three paragraphs….We had scheduled editing for Wednesday. Please catch up.

  34. Today’s goal is to start writing the literature review. I completed 10 out of 30 planned articles. I had to delete some after meeting up with Dr. Carter because they are out of my paper’s scope. After completing the literature review tonight, I’ll review what I’ve written before starting drawing the model (tomorrow’s task).

    1. Ohud Glad to see you working beyond 5pm. And l am looking forward to seeing a picture of the model some time tomorrow.

  35. Hi DH’ers

    I was excited today and I believe I overdid it. I have been sitting here for over 2 hours trying to decide what to do. I want and need to be there in person, but my body says, “no.”

    Dr.Tull, Dr. C-V,DH team and colleagues, I am going to be there around 11am. I will be online for the first part of the morning, but I am coming in as early as possible. Thank you and DH for always inspiring me and helping me see the light at the end of my tunnel.



  36. Good morning,

    starting the day with the literature review (15 articles left). Then, I’ll continue writing the model.

  37. Good morning!

    I was able to meet my goal of completing 5 pages to pass along to my writing partner, and we plan to workshop them tonight. My next goal is to complete another 5 pages by this upcoming Sunday, July 10th.

    My goal for month’s end is to have a 2 chapters completed by July 29th to send along to my advisor. Thankfully, I’ve taken more vacation time for the week of July 25th – July 29th to spend on finishing another chapter, and I believe if I can stay consistent, I can meet the goal.

    The very best to everyone this week!

  38. Hump Day!!!

    So I made it in early instead of late. This day will be rough but I will do my best. I wish everyone a productive day!!.

    Summarizing the mental health and culture report, adding it to the proposal, and a modity the theory section

  39. Good Morning,

    I’ll be starting today with my literature review (10-15 papers today).

    1. Good Morning Patrick….How are did you get? How many more are you tackling today?

  40. Good Morning All!

    Working on 10 articles as planned from yesterday.

    1. Dr. J 13 more articles to go. If you finish today you can start writing tomorrow. Go, go, go.

  41. Goodmorning All,
    Yesterday was good start and it felt good to achieve my goals. Today I am finishing up the remaining materials section and also read 3 articles and summarize.

    Goodluck and have a productive day !


    1. Hi Dr. CV,
      I finished my M&M section. I however did not get to the introduction section. Tomorrow, I am going to pull all my old committee documents and use the information from them to start the foot work of my introduction section. I have changed the plan from reading new papers to building on what I already have in my previous documents. That way I think I will get the most done in the next two days.


      1. TJ I think that’s a great idea. Sometimes I think we read too much. Working with what you already have allows you get something done and forces you to synthesize what you already have before adding more and more new information. Good for you.

  42. Good Morning! Looking forward to finishing three paragraphs to complete my IP today! Good luck everyone!

    1. Are we at the editing stage now for the IP? I hope by this afternoon we can put that document in the rear view and move on to the dissertation.

  43. Odin’s day begins with coffee and an insider perspective on the dissertation defense process. I’ll be starting on a review of my newly discovered observational protocols, stopping for a side quest to have my one-on-one with Dr. CV, and looking forward to revising my final study instruments.

    Eid mubarak to my friends who are Rama_done_ with fasting.

    1. As planned, I spent my morning reviewing my protocol finds and put together an email for one of my committee members. Digging into the origins cited for this particular protocol, I had questions about its relatability to my population, so I sought out expertise from my external committee member on modifying this particular instrument for my own purposes. After my meeting with Dr. CV, I decided to try a story exercise where I come up with as many avenues of exploration as possible for my dissertation based on the data I have already collected (of which there is A LOT). So far, I have four stories with varying levels of detail. Tomorrow I want to review those ideas and see if I can come up with an additional four. The goal is to take a step back and consider what I want my contribution to be and how that fits the narrative of my career plans.

      1. So Erin what’s the verdict? Did you come up with an alternative measure that does not include time? Have you made a decision?

  44. Shaquinta Richardson Avatar
    Shaquinta Richardson

    Hello DHers,
    I completed my goal for yesterday and I am currently working on today’s goal, which is to complete one of the sections of my comprehensive exam. Once I complete this goal, I will complete the methodology section.

    1. Hello Shaquinta

      Thanks for joining us. Are you done with the methodology section? Have you moved on to another section?

      1. Shaquinta Richardson Avatar
        Shaquinta Richardson

        I did not. I have not written anything since July 7. I completed the other section, but through a series of unfortunate events over the last few days, I fell off the wagon for a bit. I’m working on the section right now and will complete it tonight. All else be damned.

  45. I finished creating the model I planned to finish for today. I may change tomorrow’s goal; instead of feature extraction and risk score,which is the technical part, I will write more to the model “methodology section”.

    good luck everyone,

  46. Major progress today! I finished my last aim! I also had time to start edits in the intro/background section. Tomorrow I am looking forward to completing edits on the remainder of the intro/background, along with aim 1 edits!

    1. Good for you on finishing that last aim. Edit, revise, & resubmit. You will do this over and over again as you write your dissertation. Keep up the good work.

  47. Some progress today on the literature review (4 papers). I started the spreadsheet for my literature review and added a section to my document. I was also able to read through and start organizing the comments from my committee on my proposal. My goal for tomorrow is to finish organizing comments and begin addressing some of the easy and medium difficulty edits.

    1. Patrick, glad to see that you organized your revisions. 🙂

  48. Caitlin Rathe Avatar
    Caitlin Rathe

    Hello! I am a bit late to the game; a colleague here at UBalt just shared the link to this site with me. I’m a history of public policy PhD student at UC Santa Barbara, spending the summer in Baltimore and Ann Arbor to do research and methods training and could so use some accountability to make sure I stay on track during this very busy summer!

    I passed my comps last September, finished my prospectus in January, and am just now really getting rolling on doing my archival research. My long-term goal is to have archiving complete by December (with the exception of a 4-week trip to London) while also beginning to write little bits that I can eventually incorporate into the diss. I just read a great article on writing, the big point being how important it is to write a little bit everyday. In the past week, I’ve been toying with the idea of starting a blog to share exciting archival finds, and to keep me jazzed about my topic. My daily goal is going to be 150 words. By the end of tomorrow, I’d like to have a skeleton blog site set up with a bio on who I am and what I think my project is, while also spending at least 3 hours going through archival records here at Langsdale and doing one unit of my R tutorial to prep for math camp.

    Looking forward to making progress with you all!

    P.S. Here’s the link to the article on writing for anyone that’s interested!

  49. Completed:
    Reviewed 10 documents
    Tomorrow’s plan:
    review remaining 13 docs

  50. Good night all. I draw my strength from all of you. I made progress today and that makes me smile. See you tomorrow where I will be writing more on the summary and revising the conceptual model.

    1. Hi Shelia! I am trying to contact you. Can you email me at your earliest convenience. Thanks.

  51. Hello!
    I’m working on my Ph.D. at University of Maryland, College Park. I have been working on finalizing my results chapter and plan to submit it by the end of the week. Tonight I plan to print it out so that I can work on edits tomorrow and finalize the cited references on Friday.
    Hope you are having a productive week! Thank you for the support!

  52. Welcome to Day 3 of the Dissertation House
    Even if you started with us today that’s ok. Better late than not at all. It’s going to be a hot one today so join us for a couple of hours and enjoy the rest of the day without the sense of guilt. The the box. You have done something today to move your dissertation forward.

  53. Good morning Dr CV and Dr. Tull,

    I am running late but will be there. Unexpected medical issue but all is well.

  54. Good Morning! I’m excited for today’s progress. I have changed my plan to revise the all three aims and I will end with the edits from the introduction.

    1. Why are you revising the 3 aims? What prompted you to do that?

  55. Good Morning,

    Today I will be working on my literature review. Yesterday I made a point of printing out several articles and grabbing hard copies of papers I already had. I read a lot slower on my laptop now and I take fewer notes. I noticed this yesterday.

    10 papers
    List of Edits/questions from my committee
    Start on the edits

    Good Luck to everyone else!

  56. Good Morning! Today I am working on editing my results chapter. Have a productive day!

  57. Thor’s day is off to a slow start. Feedback from my committee on the protocols I found was not positive, so I may have arrived at a dead end despite my enthusiasm. I will continue my story generation based on my collected data. Once I have eight to ten stories, I will write a brief outline for each to see how feasible they are given my timeline. I’ve found in the past that it’s useful for me to generate several ideas before paring down the unrealistic. Writing an outline that explores the motivation, next step in methods, and potential limitations usually helps me eliminate weak narratives (if it isn’t clear how to outline it, it isn’t fully baked). The result should be one to two stories with a clear path that I can further sketch out and present as my contribution and final study.

    1. Made it through eight narratives and two outlines. I’m also in the middle of a correspondence with some of my committee members on protocol design for my population. Tomorrow, I will pick up where I left off on outlines and discussion with my committee.

  58. Ikenna Okafor Avatar
    Ikenna Okafor

    Hello my name is Ikenna Okafor, and I just completed my first year at UMBC. Over these two days I will be working on my first chapter of my Masters Thesis. Have a Productive Day!

  59. I figured out that on today’s agenda I had to create statistics from data that I’ve already done last night. Today, I’ll stick with my plan to write into the methodology section and change tomorrow’s task by the end of the day.

  60. Hello! I am also a few days late joining this round of Dissertation House but I am looking forward to making progress with all of you. I just read through all these wonderful posts and found them incredibly motivating.

    My name is Stephanie Dolamore and I am working toward my Doctor of Public Administration from the University of Baltimore. By the end of summer (late August) I hope to have a solid draft of my proposal, so I am spending much of my time reading, outlining and revising. By the end of December, I hope to have defended my proposal and have made progress on the first two chapters of my dissertation.

    My goal for this week is to finish my initial proposal outline to share with my adviser prior to our meeting next week. Today (Thursday) my goal is to finish outlining the theoretical framework and methodology sections.

    1. Glad you joined us Stephanie. Welcome. It’s never too late to get started on your dissertation.

  61. All is not well. I will not be in.

    1. Sorry to hear that. Please take care of yourself. We will be thinking of you.

  62. Good Afternoon!

    Reviewed 11 articles
    Emailed librarian
    PubMed search found 6 articles
    Reviewed Med Students Publication
    Tracked down the 2000 survey – did not find
    Re-worded methods section (for MeSH usage)

    Review remaining 2 articles
    Review PubMed 25 articles (from librarian)
    Review PubMed 6 articles
    Find articles using other DBs (CINAHL)

  63. Today I didn’t make as much progress as I wanted, but I was able to complete all of the small edits. I also completed all of the tables and figures for aim 1. Tomorrow I will tackle the harder edits to finish everything up. I’m going to take a break now and finish reading a few papers this evening for tomorrow’s writing!

  64. Today I was able to finish compiling the list of edits and wrote descriptions of resolutions for most of them. I was also able to read 8 of the 10 papers I set out to read. I will finish the other two before tomorrow. I started making the small, easy edits from my proposal and feel that I have made progress with framing my literature review to address some of the more difficult edits.

    Tomorrow my goal will be to get through as many of the edits as possible and to write up a draft description of the resolution plan to share with my committee. Resolving this will be a big step towards completing my dissertation and aligning with my intended timeline for finishing.

    1. Patrick…love this. It shows that 8 of 10 is ok too. It does not have to be “all or nothing”. Seems as if framing the literature review is getting closer to completion. Good for you.

  65. Today, I put statistics in words. I wrote methodology section that represents current work. I plan tomorrow to write a nice introduction.

    Good luck to you all 🙂

  66. Hi Everyone:

    Happy Writing!!
    I’m Andrea Gray, a graduate student in the Chemistry department at UMBC. I just successfully defended my dissertation on July 1st. I went to DH summer 2015 and winter 2016… it is okay to return to DH. My last 6 months I was simultaneosly working on my independent proposal and dissertation… but honestly it was the last 3 months that were challenging, exhausting, but MANAGABLE. I was still revisng my independent proposal (many times), finishing experiments, writing my entire dissertation, assembling my presentation and PRACTICING. Spreading the work out is best, but it doesn’t always happen that way. It can be done… you can all get there. I definitely developed the mentality, “It’s all about me” at the end, which created a necessary focus and ownership.

    Even in times of great loss and grieving, you can be strong and capable… my father passed away in December and that was a major part of my motivation to finish as fast as possible… to make him proud. A fellow graduate student friend of mine said that I inspired her to dive back in to finish as she was having family difficulties as well. I didn’t seek to inspire anyone, but you never know who’s watching and what an impact you can make.

    Good luck and push through!!


    1. Andrea

      Your words resonate with me for so many reasons. I am sorry to hear of your loss and I admire how your are using your grief as motivation. You are an inspiration and thank you for sharing your story. I am confident it will touch others’ lives as it has mine.



    2. Thank you for your input and encouraging words. We are glad to know that it can be done!!!! Congrats on successfully defending your dissertation and Welcome to the Club. You can take some time to rest but do have a date ready for when you will work on your revisions if you have any. All the best to you, Dr. Gray.

  67. Caitlin Rathe Avatar
    Caitlin Rathe

    Good morning all! I worked on each of the three tasks I set for myself for yesterday. Didn’t archive for 3 hours, more like 1, but took the plunge and started blogging and made it through another lesson in my R tutorial. Today, I will complete another unit in R, free write for at least 20 minutes on what I’m finding in the archives to hopefully draw some new connections between the material I’m looking at, and then go through more archival boxes. I want to finish the box I’ve had on my desk for more than a week, and pie-in-the-sky goal is to get through 2 more, all by 4:45pm! I look forward to reading about what everyone else is up to today 🙂

    1. You can do it, Caitlin! 🙂

  68. Another good morning from Baltimore! Seeing Caitlin’s post (above) is motivating me to set some good goals for today. Yesterday, I finished my goal for outlining two sections of my proposal. Today, I want to complete two more section outlines and draft the conclusion on a book chapter that is due later this summer. Today is a great day to accomplish our goals 🙂 I hope you all have a great Friday!

    1. Good for you Stephanie for drawing inspiration from someone else and completing some of your goals. How are the outlines going for today? Happy Friday to you.

  69. Good Morning All! I’m excited for a fresh start today and I’m looking forward to finishing the rest of my edits (hard edits). Good luck to everyone.

  70. Final Frige’s day. My plan for the last session is to finish my outlining exercise and make a decision about what direction I want to take my final study. I’ll spend the remaining time fleshing out the methods and limitations of my chosen one (or two). And I will drink a lot of coffee. And water. Stay hydrated, folks.

    1. Identified a ninth narrative for my work, completed the outlines for all of them, picked two narratives to flesh out and present to my advisor. And I am reasonably hydrated. A good day.

  71. Today’s schedule
    – writing introduction
    – writing agenda before meeting my advisor
    – writing follow-up email after

  72. Good Morning,

    On this last day of DH. I’m working on resolving the edits to my proposal and writing up plans for my committee.


  73. Good Morning DH,
    -Review 2 remaining articles
    -Reflect on this week’s articles reviewed in light of current LR write-up (e.g. is there anything new or same information?)
    -Review my current LR database in light of today’s lecture on LR
    -Track down website that helps to determine if publication is peer-reviewed or not

  74. Encouraging to hear everyone’s progress. Things are slow over here since I have to work before the kids wake up (4am-7am). I can’t always get myself up and they don’t always stay asleep. Hopefully, I will finish revising paper #1 of two by tomorrow. Then I can start on paper #2 on Monday. Both papers due July 18!

  75. Welcome to Day 4 of the Dissertation House.
    We have been working hard for the last 4 days. It’s important to make an assessment of how much you have been able to accomplish over the past 4 days. Congratulate yourself on doing something to move your dissertation forward. Baby steps are still steps. Celebrate the small victories.

    Beyond today how will you continue this process of working on your dissertation? Will you continue to set small, bite size manageable goals? Will you continue to blog in order to keep some real accountability going? Will you commit to working on your dissertation everyday? How important is it to join a community of dissertation writers? Do you need the support of others to help you finish your degree?

  76. Signing out but not for good!!

    All my best to everyone. I met some goals this week but most importantly, I was able to gain clarity on a significant component of my proposal. I was able to write a bit which encouraged me tremendously.

    Thanks to my peers for showing up and thanks to the Dissertation House faculty and staff!! Next time you see me in these rooms, it will be AFTER I defend my proposal!!


  77. End of the day, End of this round of DH.

    This was a helpful experience I feel like I am a lot closer to completing the next milestone toward completing my dissertation. Thanks to everyone who makes dissertation house possible and especially those who make it happen, including everyone in the room and online.

    My personal progress I was able to come away with several strategies for completing the goals I set at 100%. I was able to write several pages of text that I can use in my literature review, Introduction, study design, and contributions for my dissertation.

    This environment is one for progress and encouragement.

    Glad to have taken part. Hopefully I will be able to do it again but not too many times. (because I’ll be done.)

  78. This week’s dissertation house was a success for me! I finished the week out with my entire document written! I only have aims 2 and 3 to finish for very small edits. I am glad I came back this year because I learned a bunch of tips that I can use for my duration here at UMBC. And strategies that I haven’t heard before. Thank you again Dr. CV and to the rest of my fellow bloggers! I enjoyed reading the motivation. So long for now, and happy writing!!

  79. Denae Johnson Avatar
    Denae Johnson

    Hi there!
    My name is Denae Johnson and I am a doctoral candidate in the department of sociology at UMDCP. I am currently working on my dissertation proposal. Dr. Carter-Veale, I have your books- they have been SO helpful so far (especially the methods handbook). My goal for today is to read 3 articles for a new section of my proposal. And this weekend I will respond to comments on the most recent draft of my proposal.
    Thank you for all you do!!


    1. Denae Johnson Avatar
      Denae Johnson

      Good afternoon, everyone!
      Checking out from Friday: I only read 2 of the 3 articles, and I responded to all of the comments but one (which requires additional literature). My goal for today is to do some organizational work, and then find/save the additional literature for later reading.

  80. Hello All,

    My name is Kenisha and I am a PhD student in Physics at Howard University. I meant to post this time last week, but as you all know this PhD life gets crazy sometimes and that is exactly how my week has been!

    I am currently preparing for my comprehensive exam that will take place on 8/23 and 8/25 and planning to propose in the fall. I want to do this by mid-October. I am really interested in learning how to set up a realistic timeline for this and my dissertation in general so that I can effectively set my weekly goals and prioritize my daily tasks.

    1. Shaquinta Richardson Avatar
      Shaquinta Richardson

      Hi Kenisha, I am also working on my comps which are due on July 22 (written) and the oral defense is Aug. 5. I’m rooting for you from Athens, GA!

  81. Shaquinta Richardson Avatar
    Shaquinta Richardson

    Hi all,
    For several reasons, I fell off course for a few days and did not complete the section of my exam that I was hoping to complete on Thursday. But I am back at it and will complete it tonight no matter what.

    I have three papers to complete for my comprehensive exam and this last section will be the completion of paper 2. Paper 3 goals will begin tomorrow.

    My lesson for this week…be gentle with myself.

  82. GM All,

    Meant to check out on Friday…

    went through remaining 2 articles in Ga Tech DB
    Sorted DB to check for common ground from articles
    only 1-2 articles met full inclusion criteria
    With help from librarian found DB that determines if articles are peer-reviewed
    Started searching CINAHL DB

    Prep for PI Meeting
    Search CINAHL DB for articles
    PubMed papers go through titles and abstracts
    Prep for annual progress report meeting

  83. Good morning! I also meant to check out on Friday. I was able to get through the remaining two sections of my outline and the conclusion of my book chapter. Today is a new week and some new goals are on the horizon. Today I will (1) review my proposal outline and preparing for a meeting with my adviser on Wednesday, (2) send correspondence to research partners to schedule meetings, and (3) continue coding my archival materials incorporating feedback from my readings last week. Good luck to all meeting your goals for today.

    1. Denae Johnson Avatar
      Denae Johnson

      Hi Stephanie! Good luck on meeting your goals as well!

  84. Good Evening,

    Done :
    PI meeting went well
    Located (143) Publications in the following DB’s
    PubMED, (32 papers)
    ERIC (11 papers) – Eric website temporarily down as of 7/11 7:30pm, good time to stop!
    Engineering Village (61)
    IEEEXplore (1)
    Business (1)
    WebofScience (29)
    Scopus (3)
    CINAHL (5)
    ProQuest (delete) –too many 100K +
    Pitt CAT (delete)
    Google Scholar (delete)

    To Do’s:
    Figure out how long it’s going to take to complete draft
    Need to go through titles & abstracts
    Download papers
    Need to prepare for annual adviser meeting

  85. Good morning! I had a productive day yesterday and completed all three goals. Today’s goals include:
    -Email adviser proposal outline
    -Continue coding archival documents
    -Edit introduction on manuscript with M.E.

  86. Hello all! I thought I had posted my goals yesterday, but it looks like they have disappeared into the interwebs. New goals for today: get through two years of USDA records at NARA II, 1974 and 1975. Still waiting on boxes so we will see if that is do-able by 5pm, but here’s to dreaming! And once I’m home I will organize them by box and back-up them up. Cataloguing will be for another day… Very happy to have this space to hear what other folks are up to!

    1. Go, Caitlin, go! Hope you got all the boxes you needed from the Archives. Can’t wait to hear more.

  87. Hello and happy Wednesday! I was not nearly as productive as I had hoped with coding yesterday, coming down with a migraine after lunch. Fortunately, I finished my other goals for the day and got to my work space early to get things off on the right foot. Today’s goals: (1) coding, (2) coding, and (3) more coding. Looking forward to meeting with my adviser to break up the screen time. Good luck to everyone meeting your goals today.

  88. Caitlin Rathe Avatar
    Caitlin Rathe

    Hi all, and Stephanie, thanks for the nudge! I only got through 1975 yesterday, so I’m hustling today with a new archival strategy to get through material more quickly. I’ve made it almost through 1974 (~20 boxes), and have 20ish more boxes to speed through after lunch. Post archive goals are to divide by box and back up all photos and finish rereading/ commenting on a paper I wrote that deals with material I’m now getting a chance to see in the archives. R-tutorials will be back on the docket tomorrow 🙂 Happy dissertating to all!

  89. Hi Everyone,

    Took my comprehensive on Monday after practicing last week and passed! I am no a candidate and need to start working on my dissertation. I am starting with the revisions given to me by my committee as well as adding to my literature review.

    1. Kishana,
      congratulations!!! Mine is in two-weeks, going over course notes.

      1. Thanks! Good luck! What’s your format?

        1. It’s face-to-face, timed format. One knows the general topics (research methodology questions, special topics, core leadership questions) that may be covered but not the specific questions until you arrive to take the test.

  90. Good afternoon Dissertation House @ SSI participants!

    Welcome to the Dissertation House! Keep up the good work.

  91. Hi Everyone! This is Angel Miles. I’ve had to repeat dissertation house many, many times. Glad to say this is my last one! I guess you guys haven’t posted yet. I hope I’m at the right place. In any event. Here’s what I’m working on:
    Update all citations in the dissertation document
    Update appendixes
    Outline dissertation conclusion
    Lofty goals but I’m running out of time. I have to submit another draft of the dissertation to my adviser this Saturday and upload it in it’s entirety to my dissertation committee by next Wednesday August 24th! Yikes! What I can’t believe about this process, is how deep and how vast the degree of work you put into it. I simply can’t believe that after completing so much work, I still have SO MUCH WORK TO DO! It looks like I’m going to be cranking this thing out until the very end. Go team!

    1. Angel!!! So happy to see you! Thanks for joining us virtually!

  92. Good Evening DHers,

    Primarily working on draft of review paper
    Still working on consolidating results table (halfway through)

  93. I am here and ready to get this show on the roll. I’ve already met with Dr. Carter, and developed my plan of attack for the next day and half as well upcoming semester. I have to constantly remind myself that it is all about me. I have developed a plan put dates and ready to go.

  94. Hi everyone! i am Amanda Lo, a 3rd year Master’s student in the Biological Sciences Department at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) Campus. I am currently participating at the Dissertation House at the 2016 Summer Success Institute (SSI).

    My goals for my time during the Dissertation House are:

    – revise the Introduction section of my thesis

    – revise the methodology section of my thesis

    I have passed my Master’s verbal defense and am working on revising my thesis where I have comments from my committee.

    Today, I had the wonderful opportunity to have a one-on-one session with the Dissertation House writing coach, Dr. Wendy Carter-Veale, who taught me about the “compare documents” feature of Microsoft Word. After the session, I went back to Word and merged all of my committee’s comments onto one document. Thank you, Dr. Carter, for the advice! I am working through the comments and making revisions as I go. 🙂

  95. Good Evening DH,

    I’ve been working on revising the text of Chapters from my proposal for my dissertation. I’ve also been working on outlining the chapters of my proposed work as they will be presented in the dissertation. Tomorrow I’ll continue with this.

    Today, I finished one of the outlines, organized my tables + figures, most of the revisions for chapter 3, and started revisions for chapter 1. Tomorrow I’ll start with finishing up Chapter 3 in the morning. Then going at Chapter 4 for the majority of the day.


  96. Hey guys! My name is Kristen and I am starting my 6th and final year of my PhD in Marine Estuarine Environmental Science program at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore. I am currently participating at the Dissertation House at the 2016 Summer Success Institute at Arundel Preserve.

    Today, I worked on revisions for my first, first author paper. This paper was submitted several months ago and we finally got the peer review revisions back.

    I also continued working on my literature review this evening, taking notes and writing the rough draft.

    Tomorrow, I will come back to the revisions of Paper #1 so that it’s ready to send to my advisor Monday morning.

  97. Today is Day 1 of Dissertation House at SSI. Today, I was did:

    – I did some reading articles about the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine where 3 scientists discovered about dendritic cells and the link between the innate immune response and the adaptive immune response. I started writing in my intro the difference between both components and why Drosophila is a good model organism for my study.

    – I also did some reading about the pathogens that were natural and not natural to Drosophila melanogaster.

    – I merged all the comments from my committee onto one document rather than looking at each document of comments separately

  98. Hi All. I completed most of Aim2 of my proposal, in only 5 hrs!!!! Tomorrow, I will write the significance of aim1 and 2. Then move on to literature review!!!!!

  99. Good evening,

    Today I worked on reorganizing my literature review and focusing on how the literature that I’ve selected speaks to my topic. Also, working with Dr. Carter-Veale helped me to get rid of a lot of the doubt that I had about my ability to get done.

    Tomorrow, I will focus on cleaning up my results section by continuing to narrow my focus.

  100. Ar'Quette Grant Avatar
    Ar’Quette Grant

    Hello everyone out there reading this blog! For anyone out there who has never experienced the Dissertation House, you don’t know what you’re missing! I have gotten more of my writing completed in these few sleep deprived hours of the evening than I have over the last few months. There’s a synergy of accomplishment that’s in the room and I plan to feed off of it for the next few days, because I have every intention of graduating in December 2016!

  101. Hola:
    A lot of work tonight! I am working in my PhD. Super tired of this working day but a lot was accomplished. I spent 4 hours making my presentation understandable for other besides me!
    More boxes to check tomorrow! Wipi!

  102. Hi DH,
    Today, I had a very detailed and specific checklist to guide me and keep me productive. I was able to check off 4 out of 11 to-dos. I will continue from where I left off. Goodnight!


  103. Good Morning DHers,
    Plan continue working on results table and TOC, and revise parts of LR.

  104. Good Morning DHers,

    I am wide awake and ready to work. Today I plan to work on my calendar, in which I will establish the deadlines need to generate the first draft of paper 1. Today I plan on starting the background on my organisms for paper 1. In addition to that I plan on reviewing my methods, and writing up my methods from my last set of experiments.

  105. Good Morning! Yesterday I completed the figures for my case study 2 (Chapter 6). Today I plan to complete the figures for case study 1 (Chapter 6) and finish writing about them. Hope you have a productive day!

  106. Good morning everyone! I started working on addressing all the comments from reviewers on Paper 1 during breakfast and will continue to do so until lunch. We also had a mini-lecture from Dr. Carter and another lecture on active vs. passive voice and other grammar issues from Jocelyn Broadwick, the UMB Writing Center Coordinator.

    I also have a powerpoint presentation that needs finishing touches before it is uploaded due (8/20) for a talk I am giving in NYC at the end of the month at the NOAA EPP Forum.

  107. Good Morning Dissertation House!

    Today is Day 2 of Dissertation House at SSI! Today, I plan to continue working on revising my Introduction and Methodology section. I plan to work on making figures to add into my Introduction and reading background papers.

  108. Good Morning,

    Starting Day 2 – I finished with Chapter 3 (save for another proofreading pass and a Summary). I started on Chapter 4 revisions and will work on updating my outline for chapter 6 and my TOC. I would also like to work on creating a schedule and calendar for completing the dissertation.

    Good luck writing!


  109. Good afternoon, DH-ers!

    I’m another alum of the Dissertation House and I’m encouraged to see so much progress and renewed hope already coming through your comments. That’s what the DH does!

    Hopefully I’ll see you this weekend at SSI. I’ll be a discussant at the Sisters talk tonight if you can make it. If not, you might see me here again checking in sooner than later. Thanks to the PROMISE leadership over the years, this blog and students like you helped save my dissertation and sanity.


  110. Hello,

    Energy was feeling a little drained after lunch , sob I decided to do my title, dedication, and acknowledgement pages. After the completion of those, I feel more motivated to work on the generation of paper 1.

  111. Ar'Quette Grant Avatar
    Ar’Quette Grant

    Just finished crossing off another item on the list of things to do! Before starting, that list seemed overwhelming and impossible, but I’ve been eating this elephant a bite at a time and it is doesn’t seem that bad. Crossing things off this list is keeping me motivated to start the next item! I’m on a writing high and I don’t want to come down!!!

  112. Today, I finished out my detailed plan. I believe in 80% planning, 20% work

  113. Finished revisions on paper 1, uploaded my presentation, and got back to work on my literature review. Feeling good about the progress that I have made and excited for the Summer Success Institute tomorrow!

  114. Dissertation House Day 2 is intense!!! It’s been the longest amount of hours I’ve spent in a room to write on my thesis and not move elsewhere. Today, I was able to accomplish the following things:

    – revisions on graphs and figures
    – created a table and inserted in paper
    – created figures as requested by committee
    – Edited captions for figures
    – completed comments from the Introduction and Methodology sections
    – read articles to find the primary literature to address committee’s comments

    It was a great day at Dissertation House today! I felt I made great progress! I plan to also continue working Saturday and Sunday too! 🙂

  115. Finished consolidating a results table to 3 pages.
    Started results section.

    Next will work on methods section and creating methods diagram.
    Draft of results section.

  116. Good Evening,

    I have accomplished alot tonight, I was able to work on my front matter, and summarize 7 articles and their relation to my subsections. I am excited for Summer Success Institute tomorrow. I am also ready to continue to dive in formatting and writing the document. My goal is to carry this momentum into the semester and finish the semester just as strong as I started it. I hope everyone can continue to accomplish the goals that they set forth this weekend at DH!

  117. I love the sisters of the dissertation activity. The building of a community and hearing others people’s perspective of same issues was eyeopening. We had the same struggles and it was great to communicate this with each other. Dissertation house has been great! It also helped acknowledge I need to focus in myself! #Support system

  118. From the Dissertation House, the takeaways that I have learned are:

    – It is all about me. I need to keep a schedule to keep working towards finishing

    – making checklists to help me not freak out and see that small steps can lead to reaching completion

    – I learned to start using tools to help facilitate how to organize comments from the entire committee. I learned how to merge documents together, which helps to focus on the thesis.

    – it’s nice to have a support system where we all aim towards the same goal

  119. Just finished up at the Summer Success Institute! Had a great day of meeting and reconnecting with fellow students and mentors and listened to some fabulous speakers! Hoping to get a little bit done on my literature review before I head out to meet up with a friend for dinner before I head back to the Eastern Shore tomorrow morning.

    Thanks to everyone for a fantastic Dissertation House! The UMES crew will be starting ‘Writing Wednesdays’ where we have a space to come and write together every Wednesday afternoon from 2 to 5 pm. This might be something where only a couple students show up occasionally, but we are hoping to keep up the momentum and ethusiasm from Dissertation House throughout the Fall semester and beyond.

    Good luck to everyone and thanks again!

  120. It was an amazingly productive weekend. I truly got inspired an refresh by the house if dissertation program. Not only that, I advanced my proposal a lot. I will keep the momentum…set small goals…and it’s all about me!!!! Thank you for this opportunity!!!!

  121. Hi everyone,
    I’m sorry I wasn’t able to post more. I got a lot done! But still working. Today my goals are the following.
    Finish conclusion of chapter 5
    Finish chapter 6.
    Let’s keep this going! What are you working on today?

    1. Ar'Quette Grant Avatar
      Ar’Quette Grant

      Were you able to accomplish your goals?

  122. Hey Everybody,

    So I am committing to blogging everyday. It will help me with checks and balance. I did not get much accomplished today in terms of writing. I am trying to force myself to work on this paper and I am “just not into it”. I did get some writing accomplished yesterday. I am trying to commit myself to writing for at least 15 minutes, which will then hopefully lead to 30 and then so on and so on. Wish me luck.

  123. Ar'Quette Grant Avatar
    Ar’Quette Grant

    Good news on the dissertation outline. Not only did I convince my PI to knock down my dissertation chapters from 13 to 6, I convinced her to let me copy and past my manuscripts into the dissertation. Overnight, my dissertation is 3/4 written!!! Shout out to Dr. Carter-Veale for giving me the tools I needed and helping me plan my attack! You the real MVP!

    1. Congratulations Ar’Quette, this is great news!!

    2. Good stuff!

  124. Hello all,
    Finished drafting a new table of paper
    Midway through the results section of paper

    To Do’s:
    Finish results section
    Start to draft the discussion section of paper

  125. Done
    Completed first draft of results

    To Do
    Need to decide which information to move in discussion section or keep in results section
    Clean up the results write up

  126. Done:
    Drafted Intro, results, discussion, conclusion

    To Do’s:
    Write limitations
    Create table of secondary publications – non-peer reviewed
    Add another table
    Add methods figure
    Add results table
    Compile draft

    1. Ar'Quette Grant Avatar
      Ar’Quette Grant

      Excellent progress! It is truly inspiring!

  127. Ar'Quette Grant Avatar
    Ar’Quette Grant

    A doodle poll of my defense date options have been sent to my committee. If they agree, I will be defending my dissertation on either October, 26, 28, 31, or Nov 4. I’ll keep everyone posted.

  128. Journal paper draft sent out for review.
    Just received some initial comments.
    TAing a course this fall. Spent past 6 hours preparing and catching up.
    Received adviser’s dissertation.
    Need to finish brainstorming proposal.

    1. Ar'Quette Grant Avatar
      Ar’Quette Grant

      You got this!

  129. Ar'Quette Grant Avatar
    Ar’Quette Grant

    Guess who just sent the first, extremely polished, draft to her adviser? She’s going to return her corrections by the end of the week and I’ll have a dissertation ready to send to my committee a week before the deadline!!! I’m not sure if I want to send it a week early or if I should take the extra week to work on it. I want to make sure I’m sending high quality work, but I don’t want to get stuck in that trap of perfection.

  130. Ar'Quette Grant Avatar
    Ar’Quette Grant

    The date has been set. I will be defending my dissertation November 2, 2016 at 11am. Keep me in your prayers and may God grant me His strength.

    1. Congratulations on setting the date!!!!

      1. Ar'Quette Grant Avatar
        Ar’Quette Grant

        Thanks! It extremely difficult to get 5 very busy people to agree to meet for 3 hours on the same date. I have never had to make so many changes to a doodle poll in my life. But with great trials come great rewards :-}

  131. Good Morning Everyone!!

    Today is Day 1 of the Dissertation House for UMBC Employees and Non-Traditional Students! I wish everyone the best of luck on reaching the goals that you have set for today. 🙂 Happy writing to all! 🙂

  132. Good morning! My first goal today is to read and summarize 3 articles for one of my case studies. Hope you have a productive day!

  133. Good Morning! My goals for today are to summarize the journal requirements for my publications, organize/outline my sections, and review manuscripts by members of my lab group. I hope everyone has a very productive day!! 🙂

    1. Dr. Andrea, How are those papers coming along. Are we there yet?

  134. Good Afternoon everyone! Accomplished a lot today. Looking forward to getting more work done tomorrow.

  135. Great day at Dissertation House Day 1! Very productive day 🙂 I’ll see everyone tomorrow for Day 2 of Dissertation House tomorrow! And best of luck to everyone on their writing process! 🙂

  136. Dennis Van Dusen Avatar
    Dennis Van Dusen

    Well, the first day was certainly instructive. But, it was day 1 and it is over, so only 1200 days left before THE PhD!!!! This is so helpful.

  137. Good Morrow to all of you in the Dissertation House. I am Sunji and I am a UMBC staffer and PhD student in Public Policy. We just finished an awesome day with Dr. Carter here at UMBC. The takeaways, as always, will move me one step closer to PhD from ABD.
    Note to Self – We made some good progress on our lit review today. 5 papers down with summaries! Got some great feedback from WC on next steps.
    For Next session:
    There are 2 more papers to go over and then we can finish that lit matrix. Go back and specify whether the older studies supported our research questions or not. Also, find a deadline for submission that lines up with your stated goal for proposal completion.

    I hope you all had a productive day today and an even more productive one tomorrow.

    1. Sunji

      Keep it moving forward. The year 2017 is yours to get your PhD. When you go a day without doing something on your dissertation don’t turn it into a week without doing something on your dissertation. Progress not perfection gets you a PhD.

  138. My name is Dave Sears and I am a PhD student in Public Policy focusing on Higher Education. Great dissertation house on October 7! Many thanks to Dr. Tull and Dr. Carter for their advice, insights, and guidance to finishing the dissertation proposal and dissertation. I have renewed confidence I can do this based on their input. An invaluable day to jump-start me on completing the PhD program.

    Looking forward to October 8 to complete a revised timeline and deadline for completion of the proposal and the dissertation. I plan to also read three more scholarly articles with a focus on other studies at four-year schools on donor-given scholarships and student completion and seeing how those methods may not tie to my approach to studying those scholarships and completion at community colleges. Finally, I want to map out daily goals for the next few weeks of my professional development leave.

    Again, many thanks to the UMBC team for putting this together!

    1. Hello Dave

      How is that proposal and literature review coming along? It was great meeting you in the E-DH. I hope by now you have succinctly narrowed down those research questions and have looked at the data to see the viability of the research. Stay in touch

  139. Good Afternoon! Today I had a productive day 🙂 I created a matrix for one of my case studies and revised my ToC. I also created a to do list based on the notes from the last meeting with my advisor. Tomorrow I plan to continue working on my chapter. Thank you Dr. Tull and Dr. CV!

  140. Hello DH writers

    I am heading to SREB on Thursday. By now you already know if you will be graduating in December 2016. Only you know if you have kept up with your schedule or if you have slacked off. If you haven’t stayed on schedule it’s time to make some revisions and some adjustments. It’s not the time to beat yourself up and spend a week wallowing in your missteps. You can always hit the reset button on a Monday. Read set go! don’t look back; make an assessment and keep it moving forward. May 2017 will be here before you know it and the draft must be done by the end of February if you plan to graduate in May. I hope to see some of you in Tampa Fl.

  141. Ar'Quette Grant Avatar
    Ar’Quette Grant

    My dissertation defense is 7 days away, and I just had my first dry run in front of my advisor and lab members. It went well and wasn’t near as bad as I thought it would be. Their criticisms were very constructive and helpful. It needs a bit of work, but that’s what practices are for. Through prayers, works and the grace of God, I will be a doctor by the end of next week!

    1. Hello Dr. (Almost)Grant We wish you all the best this week. Show’em what you’re made of. Hang in there make the corrections and you should be home free.

  142. Ar'Quette Grant Avatar
    Ar’Quette Grant

    Last week, Wednesday, November 2, 2016, I successfully defended my dissertation! I passed with minor revisions, and all the revisions have been incorporated. The paperwork has been signed and submitted. I AM OFFICIALLY DR. GRANT!!!!!! All that’s left is the shout!

    1. Congrats!!!! Dr. Grant!

  143. Dennis Van Dusen Avatar
    Dennis Van Dusen


  144. it’s a new year. Please migrate over to our Winter 2017 Challenge page

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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.