Winter 2014 Challenge

Greetings! It’s cold outside, but that doesn’t mean that work on your dissertation comes to a halt. No stopping, no pausing. The holidays have passed and it’s time to get to work on that chapter, those revisions, the paragraph. Join us for the Winter 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, Winter 2014 season! This page will be active from January 2014 – June 2014.  We had so many graduates this year! Congratulations to all of our new PhDs!  (See our “Alumni” page for regular updates.) You 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 many countries in the world. The “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 initiative, and the PROMISE AGEP: Maryland Transformation project, we invite and encourage all doctoral students within the University System of Maryland to join us online, and you will have a special opportunity to join us in person this summer during the July Dissertation House.

Dr. Wendy Carter-Veale is your “Head Coach.” Dr. Carter-Veale will be conducting “in-person” Dissertation Houses at UMBC January 2014. 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.

Dr. Renetta Tull will join you online in January from time to time from Ecuador.

Regardless of your campus affiliation, whether you are in a doctoral program in Maryland, or pursuing your PhD at another school outside of Maryland, please to join us online using this page. Join  from your location … from any state in the U.S. or any country in the world.  Take the challenge to finish your dissertation!

To join us online:

  1. 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.
  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.

We will repeat something that we said before, because it is both important and true: 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.)

If you have joined us in the past, come back again if you are still working on your document. We’re still here, and we’ll still be part of the community that will cheer you on! Post your goals for the next six months on this page. You’re not alone, this is your online community. Focus on completion.

153 Responses to Winter 2014 Challenge

  1. Pingback: The Dissertation House “Winter 2014″ Challenge is now available | The Dissertation House

  2. Greetings and welcome to the Dissertation House Online for the Winter 2014 Season. We invite you to join us by posting your goals and sharing your successes. Good luck!

  3. Hello! I won’t be able to join you for Dissertation House, but I will still be working diligently and checking in with everyone. I am working on completing my case studies this month. I have one due tomorrow. For the rest of next week I’ll be preparing for my trip and making sure I have stuff to work on without having to carry all my materials out of the country. Good night!

  4. Karen Detrixhe says:

    I’m needing to get re-focused this semester! I’ve had some serious health issues that put a huge pause to everything, and still face several surgeries this year, but that doesn’t stop the clock ticking to get the diss done. I’m in foreign language ed from KU and hope to analyze data this semester. Good luck, all!

    • Hey Karen

      You are not alone. How is it going? Are you feeling healthy enough today to move your dissertation forward. Join us for Winter DH over the next 4 days if you are able to do so.

  5. Emerald Christopher says:

    My name is Emerald and I am in the Language, Literacy, and Culture program at UMBC. I recently defended my dissertation proposal and am beginning my archival research as well as working on my methodology chapter. I am currently in the process of reading the sources my committee provided me during the proposal defense. My goal is to a) finish reading my sources b) write annotations on each source and c) to complete my methodology chapter. I am starting on reading today with a goal to finish this book by Friday the 24th. Good luck, everyone!

    • Hello Emerald

      It’s important to read AND summarize in your own words. While some people might skip the summary; in the long run it proves to be helpful to do so. Read and summarize the article once and take electronic notes.

  6. Christine says:

    Hi all,
    I will also not be able to join you all for the Winter Dissertation House but hope to work some of the days from home! I had a setback last semester and was not able to get through my pre-proposal. I am over my writing funk and working on addressing the feedback I received from a committee member. Despite the neverending-ness of this process, it does feel like each draft gets better…Good Luck to all!! TTYL

  7. It’s 2014 and I still have not defended. Just submitted my IRB renewal for review. Working on edits to a section returned.
    Happy working everyone.

  8. Good Morning All
    My name is Dr. Wendy Carter-Veale and I am the dissertation coach of the Dissertation House (DH) at UMBC. Today the campus is closed. This is the first time ever in the history of the DH. Nonetheless, do not be deterred. Though the campus is closed today we can still set and accomplish our goals today.

    On the first day of the DH we often introduce ourselves and set some measurable goals for the next four days. That being said we can still do that here. You won’t finish your dissertation today or over the next 4 days but challenge yourself to think about what you can accomplish in the next 4 days.
    Post your goals here:

  9. Laura says:

    Good Morning. I am starting off my dissertation house work this chilly morning from home. Here are a list of goals for the next four days:
    1) Write Theory and Methods sections for Chapter 5
    2) Review and write up analysis for Chapter 5
    3) Compile all existing notes for final discussion chapter
    4) Edit case studies section for Chapter 3
    5) Create figures for SDV

    Stay warm.

    • Great Laura
      Welcome to the Winter DH hopefully tomorrow we can meet face to face. If you don’t have a table of contents for the dissertation please create one (add that to the list). Which one of these will you start with first? Some people start with easy so that they can cross something off the list. Others start with difficult so that they can feel some relief. Either way forward progress is important. Stay warm. Dr. CV

      • Laura says:

        Weds: I created figures for SDV, made my TOC and met with Dr. Carter. Tomorrow in the morning will draft my theory and methods section for chapter 5, review my results for chapter 5 and meet with a committee member at lunch to discuss the outline of chapter 5 and review my results. In the afternoon I will write up the analysis section for chapter 5.

        • Laura says:

          Finished my Methods and Theory section, met with my committee member and reviewed and started to write up my results.

          • Laura says:

            I created the outline for chapter 6 and complied my notes for the discussion. I also meet with my adviser and I have a clear plan for moving forward. Thanks!

  10. Future Dr. Carr says:

    Good Morning DH! I am in the UMBC School of Public Policy with a concentration in Health Policy.
    I love Dissertation House because what seems impossible before I begin…gets done and then some.
    My plan:
    1) Revisit my conceptual model and rearrange my literature review (in progress)
    a) read three new articles and incorporate in existing lit review
    2) Revisit research design and methodology
    a)brainstorm exact goals of research, what can feasibly be done, analyze if the means will will satisfy the questions.
    b) rewrite research question(s)
    c) develop interview questions
    d develop introduction letters for interviewees
    e) research digital recorder prices to record interviews
    3) Submit final Proposal edits to advisor/committee
    4) Set Project Timeline for research, chapter development, submissions, defense, and graduation.
    5) Outline Chapter 4 (and 5 maybe)

    • Well well good to see you future Dr. Carr

      See even a snowy day couldn’t keep you away. When you are serious about your dissertation a snowy day is just another opportunity to get some work done!!! Take the opportunity to reread your proposal from start to finish and make notes in the margins. Download the dissertation UMBC Template from the Grad school’s website as well. Drag and drop (cut and paste) parts of your proposal into the appropriate sections of the template and then print out.
      Tackle one section at a time. That’s my suggestion for today. Afterward you can and should tackle some items from the list you have above. Look at other researchers interview questions as well because their questions have already been validated.

  11. Nadwa says:

    Good morning everyone,
    Look forward to catching up with old friends and meeting new ones.
    These are my plans for this week:
    A. Include an introductory chapter that outlines the “big picture,” and makes clear what ties the three essays together. (Dr. Carter – I need your help with this)
    B. Essay3:
    1. More detailed discussion of migration theory
    2. Possible policy implications of Circular Migrations (Pros & Cons)
    3. Data analysis:
    i. Include more info on family members left behind
    ii. Using data from Costa Rica, present more detail on Nicaraguan migrants in Costa Rica
    iii. Using data from U.S, present more detail on Nicaraguan migrants in U.S.
    4.Add more about the context of Nicaraguan circular migrants:
    i.A brief description of the economies of the countries involved and how this might influence circular migration;
    ii.A short description of the policies, and policy changes, regarding migration between Nicaragua and neighboring countries, especially Costa Rica;
    iii.How easy is it to cross borders, and has this changed in recent years?

    A tall order – I know.

    • Good Morning Nadwa
      I like your list of manageable bite-size pieces. I do expect to see a TOC on that list as well so that we can find the commonalities for chapter 1. What discipline is this, LLC? Start with the easiest one first just crossing something off the list will get your juices flowing.

      • Nadwa says:

        I am in the Public Policy program with a three essay ECON dissertation.
        I will update the TOC to bring with me tomorrow.
        Thanks Dr. Carter

  12. Arundhathi KV says:

    Good morning everyone ! I’m Arundhathi, and hope to defend my PhD in Biochemical Engineering by April/May this year !
    My plans for today and this week include :
    1. Finish the chapter on background and literature review so i can email the draft to my advisor
    2. Finish the chapter on signaling (Aim 2) – work on the figures and graphs especially, as well as the graphs from the computational model
    3.Start working on the materials and methods for Chapter ” Epigenetic tool development”
    4.Start working on the introduction section for Chapter “Epigenetic tool development”

    I wish everyone else good luck on their dissertation, and hopefully we can meet in person tomorrow and the weather will be better !

    • Hello Arundhathi

      Thank you for what we refer to as blogging in. I like your goals but I think you can and should break them down into more bite- size pieces. For example, “Finishing the background section should be 1 item.” The next item could be to create an outline for the literature review using citations or concepts to guide you. I hope this advice is clear. I also suggest that you create a Table of Content (TOC) for your dissertation as well. When students meet with me 1-on-1 I like to see that as well.

  13. BD says:

    Hello All,

    I am not working on my dissertation quite yet. I am in the Chemistry department and must first complete my independent proposal. This proposal is separate from my dissertation work, but must only be proposed, not completed.

    My goals for this week:
    1. Read recent literature on my idea
    2. Create an outline for my proposal (Assuming my idea is still valid after reading recent lit.)
    3. Complete a literature review/introduction to my document
    4. Create a detailed outline for my methods section

    Honestly, a snow day is not the best way for me to start off. I have NO discipline when it comes to working from home. I’m really hoping to keep focused and get some reading done today.

    • Hello BD

      Thank you for joining us.Today might just be a test for you to let you know that you can do something to move your proposal forward even on a snowy day. We expect a progress report at the end of the day so don’t disappoint. We have had many Chemistry students in the DH who had to work on that independent proposals. They were able to successfully complete the proposal and subsequently go on to finish their dissertations. You have many alumna who have been in your shoes. It can be done.

      • BD says:

        Dr. Carter,

        I think I made some progress. I got up to speed on my protein of interest and got a few ideas for studies that could be done. I’m also half way through a lengthy and recent review article that provides quite a bit of detail on what’s been done with this protein already. I’ve written down a few directions I could go with my proposal but am cautious not to get too close to repeating my dissertation work on this protein (a requirement of the IP). I hope I did not disappoint. I certainly did not expect to make this much progress at home, but am SO glad I did.

        Tomorrow, I will complete the review article and any other recent relevant articles I can find and come up with some Aims/objectives for my proposal. I suspect some of this will happen this evening…

        Thanks for the encouragement Dr. Carter. And I hope you all are feeling accomplished for the day as well!

  14. Kathy says:

    Good morning to all!

    I am at an exciting part of my research – I have collected all my data and am now beginning to work through it. I had an extremely successful set of 140 user studies from Oct – Dec and am using that energy to move forward. I finished my data collection on Dec 20, did an initial analysis to submit for 2 conferences by January 7. Since then I have been getting myself organized for the next 4 months. My goal is to submit my dissertation to my committee before I leave for a conference in Toronto on April 25. I plan to put together a very aggressive schedule this week. I do have a bit more clean up before I get started, so that will be at the top of my list this week.

    1. finish cleaning up interviews
    2. import remainder of interviews into NVivo
    3. Import Eva interactions into NVivo
    4. one last verification of data from Carney server (had some initial issues and I want to make sure all is well now.)
    5. make detailed list of analyses to be completed
    6. make detailed list of sections to write
    7. create schedule for analysis completion dates
    8. create schedule for writing completion dates
    9. Code 20 interviews


  15. Shreyasi says:

    Hello Everyone!
    Good morning. I am in the Department of Public Policy at UMBC and just beginning to think about my proposal. My first and foremost challenge is to NOT get distracted. When I read/write on my own, I tend to spend a lot of time reading other stuff that is interesting for me but not directly related to my dissertation topic. Other than that my immediate goals are:
    1. Think more on the research questions and write/re-write them.
    2. I have a data source in mind but I need to learn more about it.
    3. Following from the above, I would like to work on the methods section.
    4. If I can do all of the above, I will start on writing a background kind of introductory chapter.

    Good luck, everyone.

    • Hello Shreyasi Welcome to the DH.Glad to see you have a plan.

      At 1:00 in the DH we generally have a min-lecture. I am posting my mini-lecture as a reply to you but it is for everyone:

      Mini-Lecture: Reading Journal Articles Once

      I always recommend that when starting out to take electronic notes from every article you read. My reasoning is as follows:
      1. You should be in a conversation with the literature hence that conversation should be recorded rather than in your head.
      2. You should summarize the article in your own words to be sure that you understood what you have read.
      3. You should takes notes with page numbers to possibly use as quotes later on. Be sure to take down the bibliographic information so that you can build your citation database
      4. You do all of this electronically so that you can easily keep track of what you have read and your first impressions of the article have been recorded.
      5. This might seem like a lot of work and it is but then it forces you to be selective about what you read fully, skim or ignore all together.
      6. If you read the hard copy, highlight the hard copy then lose the hard copy you have to begin again, I believe in reading once and then looking at my notes.
      7. Make note of the abstract exactly as is rather than paraphrasing it. Months from now you will not remember what you meant if you don’t just cut and paste, copy the abstract exactly as worded by the author. At very least you will know what the author meant.

      • Shreyasi says:

        Dr. Carter,
        That is very useful. I often paraphrase my take-away from articles I read and then forget the details/other relevant discussions in the article. Thank you.

  16. Daniel Schall says:

    Greetings All!

    My Name is Daniel from Geography & Environmental Systems (MS), I’ll be finishing up at UMBC this spring. Listed below are my DH goals.

    • Complete my Chapter 1: historical land-use changes and Chesapeake Bay restoration efforts on the Eastern Shore of Maryland
    • Revise/modify Chapter 2’s (Q-Method/Interviews) discussion and conclusion.
    • Expand upon chapter 3’s policy proposal
    • Make sure each chapter can stand on it’s own and connects to my overarching thesis.
    • Organize tasks, edits & administrative PW for the month of February.

    Hope to see everyone tomorrow!!


    • Hello Daniel
      Welcome to the DH. We wish you all the best for a Spring graduation. Be sure to go to UMBC’s gradschool website and make note of all of the deadline dates and forms required for graduation. Be sure to download the dissertation template so that your dissertation is in the correct format sooner rather than later. Sometimes formatting the dissertation can be a course by itself.

      • Daniel

        Update? What were you able to accomplish today?

        • Daniel Schall says:

          Still plugging away with my opening chapter. However, it appears that I’ve finally settled on my organizational structure. Since chapter 1 covers historical land-use change and bay restoration I have plenty of sources that I’ve been pulling from to build my argument. I just need to seamlessly weave quotes from my interviews to serve as supplemental support. See you tomorrow!

          • Daniel Schall says:

            Made some headway on my Chapter 1 draft. Additionally, drafted my TOC.

            Thursday Goals
            finalize TOC / complete Hudson Lawsuit/Pfiesteria portion of Chapter 1
            revise chapter two methods (discourse section and discussion)
            prep chapter three policy proposal revamp (friday)


  17. Kelly Lynch says:

    Hi I’m Kelly, and I am happy to be joining Dissertation House! I am in LLC cohort 10 and my dissertation is called (for now) Narrative and Genre Analysis of Online News Reporting of Immigration Reform. I have finished chapters 1 and 2 and my advisor suggested that I make a table for the data that I have collected before attempting to analyze it. My goals therefore are:
    1. figure out the best organizational scheme for the tables that I will be making,
    2. enter the data as I have collected it.
    3. once all data is entered, look for meaningful patterns and identify the most frequent
    4. use this information to decide how I will continue based upon the genres of reporting that I see
    5. if there is time, begin research on genre analysis for the lit review

    I find that sometimes, when I am starting something so immense, I have to start over several times until I find a way to manage all of the information more easily. I hope to figure out by the end of today the way I want to design my tables. My sister (a business educator) has recommended Excel, even though I have started with just a simple table in Word. I don’t tend to use Excel, because it goes on and on and is a little overwhelming. I am going to take just one piece of data and try it both ways to see which is more practical. I have a feeling that I will end up with Excel. So,,,it’s time to leave the comfort zone!

    Good luck to everyone else out there,

    • Hello Kelly Welcome to the DH.

      I am in favor of Excel too because you can always cut and paste information from Excel into Word but the reverse is less true or optimal. Listen to your sister. Get the data into the spreadsheet first, go back and check for accuracy and then make it pretty later. That’s my quick suggestion. Give us a progress update at the end of the day.

      • Kelly Lynch says:

        Well, I have been working in it and I am beginning to feel more comfortable and not focus on the “messiness” until the data is entered. (I do sometimes get hung up on more trivial aspects) I figured out what information I want to catalog and I got through two articles. I anticipate working much faster tomorrow, since the table is set up and I now know how to enter what I need!

        • Kelly
          Good for you for getting the data in and leaving the prettiness of it until later. And you manage to get through 2 articles as well? Great. Faster pace tomorrow that’s a goal we can live with. Thanks for the update.

  18. Yuepu Guo says:

    Hi All,

    I’m in the Information Systems Department. Currently I’m trying to convert my proposal to the dissertation. My dissertation is composed of four individual studies with two types (retrospective and case study). Two of them have been completed and I had publications for them. So the next step is to convert the published work to dissertation chapters. I’ve finished the field work for the third study, but the collected data are less than what I needed and it lasted very long. So for this study, I would start with writing a narrative of the study based on all information I have. Then I can pick up useful pieces and analyze them to serve my dissertation according to my research design. So I set my goals for the dissertation house as follows.

    1) Convert the retrospective study to a dissertation chapter.
    2) Convert the case study to a dissertation chapter
    3) Finished writing up the narrative of another case study
    4) Analyze the narrative of the case study and try to convert it to a dissertation chapter.


    • Sounds like a good plan Yuepu. Welcome to the DH; I recommend that you start with #3 first then move on to #4. When you are done you can and should go back to 1 and 2. It’s about getting something significant done. You can always polish 1 and 2 until they shine after you finish #3 and 4. Keep us posted.

      • Yuepu Guo says:

        Yes, that’s good idea. I’ll start with #3.

        • Yuepu

          How far did you get with #3 today? Give us and update as we wind down here.

          • Yuepu Guo says:

            Hi Dr. Carter,

            I’ve been going over the data I collected (field notes, email communications, interviews, etc.) and made a storyline with major events. Based on the storyline, I’m currently writing the narrative of the study by filling the details in. Since the study had a long time span (over two years), it may take me some time to refresh my memory and write up the story. I’ve written about two pages for the study and I’ll keep going. Hope you can review what I’ve wrote tomorrow and give me some advise.

            Thank you very much!

      • Yuepu Guo says:

        On DH Day 2, I keep working on the story writing and I’ve done the first half of it. I expect to finish the rest by the end of tomorrow.

  19. Good Morning All,
    Participating online with DH. My goals for today are
    1) Make a few calls to confirm peer editors (Dr. D, Dr. F and Nicole)
    2) Complete the edits to survey section that was returned to me.
    3) Walk or run for 30 minutes
    4) Work on the writing the document results section.

    • Good Morning Lenisa
      Welcome to the DH; you know you have a good coach who calls you to say “hey get on line we miss you.” How did the calls go? Did you leave messages?
      Make the edits to the survey sections and try not to take the revisions from your committee personally. Remember, feedback gets you closer to a PhD, holding on to the chapter doesn’t.

      • Made the calls talked with one person way too long…she is very busy and cannot help. Other chatted with…just started new job would like too but…Third saw online said yeah call…now did not answer and has not responded. Forth …sent and email asking to meet. Going to take a walk in the snow.

        • Be careful not to fall. There will be no one to pick you up. Come back, we’ll be here waiting.

        • Lenisa
          Are you back? How did the walk in the snow go for a woman from Trinidad? Did it clear your mind and lift your spirits. I know I am bugging you but that’s my job. Give us an update for the evening.

          • Hi Dr. CV. you are amongst very few who can bug me. I had a great walk in the snow 45 mins. Came back did home work with Colin and worked on the edits for the survey section. Not finished…some things I felt I addressed in Chapter 3 so I used place holders. Thank you for checking Dr. CV.

            • Good Morning Lenisa
              What’s on tap for day 2? Are you still working on the revisions from the committee? Did you get a confirmation email from any of your contacts from yesterday. Do you now have someone confirmed to be your peer reviewer? Are you sending out another request today? Be persistent.

  20. Christine says:

    Hi DHers,
    I am joining the group online this week. Luckily my work was closed today so I have time to work on my revisions today! I am challenging myself to work on my chapters 1 and 2, even with my kids home from school.
    My goals are:
    1. Revise statement of the problem
    2. Revise theoretical framework/ May have to completely revamp.
    Good luck everyone and thanks Dr Carter-Veale!!!

    • Christine Welcome to the Winter DH at UMBC.

      See what a phone call can do!!!
      Thanks Christine for posting your goals and joining us on-line. I want you to finish. Find something to keep the children occupied and move your dissertation/proposal forward today. We should talk since you mentioned revamping the statement of the problem. I saw an article on your topic this morning clearly the topic is still relevant. Maybe “revamp” is too strong a word here.

  21. Day 1 of the Dissertation House is over. Though it was on-line entirely, we all did manage to get something done. Congratulations on following through with your commitment to move your dissertations/proposals forward today. I look forward to working with you tomorrow one way or another.

    It’s after 5. Post here what you were able to accomplish today and what you will work on tomorrow. I expect to see all of you in the morning unless the campus is closed again. If it is I will see you here on-line again : ) I am looking forward to reading your progress reports.

    I have read many progress updates and have responded. Thank you for taking the time to blog and post your updates. Have a good evening, enjoy it because you know that you got some work accomplished today. I hope you all have a plan for what you will be working on tomorrow so that you can hit the ground running without having to start the day planning or thinking about what you will do.

  22. Arundhathi KV says:

    Hello all,

    I finished my thesis background and motivation chapter and emailed it to my advisor .
    My goal for tomorrow is :
    Make a list of contents
    Edit chapter 2, specifically : add sections on modeling, edit figures, edit and add references

  23. Future Dr. Carr says:

    1a) read three new articles and incorporate in existing lit review

    I read the related articles. There was an extra article that I could not access. I will see if my advisor can access it tomorrow. I plan to incorporate the new readings into the Lit Review tomorrow morning. I forgot how intensive reading articles and outlining their relevance can be…I shall be finished with this Lit Review YET!

  24. Kathy says:

    Today I worked through the remainder of the interviews and cleaned up the ones to import. It took me longer to work on the few remaining for the transcriber, but I will finish tonight and send to her tomorrow morning. I also started to download the Eva interactions from the server.

    Tomorrow I have to have a change of plans. The event at the college where I’m adjuncting this semester cancelled their event for tonight so they have asked me to come spend part of the day tomorrow with the dept chair and the other instructors in the dept. Since class starts next week, and this is a place I’d like to work when I graduate, I think I should attend. I’ll virtually participate in the DH for about an hour in the morning, then for a few more hours in the late afternoon.

    My list for Wednesday:
    1. Finish downloading Eva interactions.
    2. Import Eva interactions into NVivo
    3. Start the final verification of data from Carney server

    • Ok Kathy Good to see that you have made some progress and have plans to finish up later tonight.
      I look forward to seeing your post in the morning. Go ahead and network your way to future employment. Put your best foot forward.

  25. Christine says:

    Today I was able to revise my problem statement…it’s almost at 100% but not quite. I was glad to get this section done today. Tomorrow bright and early I hope to work on my theoretical framework section. Good night DHers!!

  26. Navid says:

    Hi DH friends,

    I am Navid, PhD candidate in Mechanical Eng. Dept. at UMBC. I am looking for finishing my thesis by the end of this week and defend my PhD in February.
    Here is my plan for this four-day winter DH:

    Tue. Chap. 5 and Chap. 3
    Wed. Chap. 1, 2, 6
    Thu. Chap. 1, 4, 6
    Fri. Chap. 1, 2, 3, 4, 6

    I finished reviewing chapter three today and revised chapter five; I have to run more simulations for Chap. 5 on the weekend. My pc in the office crashed this morning and I do not have access to some of my documents…Fortunately, I have a back up of all my data in different places! (one of the helpful lessons I learned from previous DH events)

    I am looking forward to see you all, specially Dr. Carter. I have learned a lot from the DH…thanks for organizing such a great program for grad students.

    Good luck everyone and good night.

    • Welcome Navid to the on-line DH

      Glad you did not totally miss day 1. Looks like you have been working hard and good to see that you have a plan. I wonder in that plan if you have time to share it with friends for editing purposes? Hope to see you today so that we can discuss it further.

      • Navid says:

        Hi Dr. Carter,
        Yes…It is good I checked my email and remembered that we have this blog.
        Most of these chapters have been published in journals/proceedings. But, It would be great if I could ask for another review.

        Hope to see you today if schools opens.

    • Nadwa says:

      Hello Navid,
      I am glad you are defending your dissertation next month – and glad to see you at the winter DH

      • Navid says:

        Hi Nadwa,
        Thank you…I see you have a long order here…I hope you successfully finish all tasks.
        See you today or tomorrow at DH

  27. Good Morning It’s Day 2 of the DH

    Congratulations on making it through Day 1. Many people were able to take advantage of the day off to make progress on the dissertation despite their misgivings. Welcome Navid to the DH I look forward to seeing you again too. Looks like you have made some progress since we last met.

    UMBC is opening at Noon today. Check on the website for updates to that status report. You can get some work done prior to the start in addition to scraping the snow of your cars. Drive safely I hope to meet everyone so that I can match a name to a face.
    For others not coming to campus I expect to see a post in the morning and an update in the evening. Lenisa and Christine I hope to hear from you both today; yes I am calling you both out. 🙂

  28. Pingback: Day 2 of the Dissertation House Starts at Noon | The Dissertation House

  29. Future Dr. Carr says:

    Okay, well…I’m on campus now so I guess I will get started, lol. I missed the messages. I will see everyone at noon.

  30. Kathy says:

    This morning has been filled with fixing my course that was not transferred properly within the system. Good thing I thought about checking it before I went to my meeting at the college today. So no DH work this morning, but that means extra hours tonight.

    I’ll check back in when I return from the college this afternoon and make a plan for the remainder of the day.

    Happy writing!

    • Kathy, I hope your networking went well and that you will make good use of your time tonight to make some forward progress. Another day another opportunity to get it almost right.

      • Kathy says:

        Thanks, Dr CV. The networking went really well – I even got asked by the dept chair what type of job I’m looking for when I’m done. Good conversation followed! It was the technology that was frustrating today. But we think we worked through it. We will know for sure by the end of tomorrow.
        See you in the morning!

  31. Navid says:

    Good morning everyone,
    Here is my plan for today:

    1. Revising Chapter two (morning and afternoon)
    2. Working on paper 1 for the ASME conference (afternoon)
    3. Working on paper 2 for the ASME confernece (evening)

    Good luck everyone with your goals for today.

  32. Arundhathi KV says:

    I am taking the shuttle to school and it starts only at noon so I think I will be there by 12:45 pm or so. Sorry in advance for being late.

  33. Siobhan Quinn says:

    I only wish I could join you this week in person. I am off work due to the snow and so am preparing for the semester and getting in some unexpected dissertation proposal time. I have followed through on my plan to pre-read most of the course materials for the semester, so that I might start exploring how this particular course might influence my dissertation. Thank God for Dissertation House, and thank you for welcoming me. DH has truly changed the way I am pursuing the work. I’m taking 30 minutes every day to journal, and another hour each day to write & edit… glad I found you at the beginning of my process! Today I work on what I expect will become my chapter 1.

    • Siobhan
      Good to hear that you are making the best use of a day “off”. When you are writing a dissertation it’s important to make daily forward progress. Set a hard deadline for when you want Chapter 1 to be done. Make everyday count.

  34. I am at my grad-appointment. Revised for my plan today.
    Met with my advisers about my IRB renewal 12:00- 12:45pm I need to reduce the pool of participants and re-due the IRB-draft renewal. I am going to spend a few an hour working on the renewal. “Make alot of lemonade in that dissertation from this”- advice from one adviser.

    At 2:00 pm I begin my work for stipend. I have a bucket full of stuff to do for an orientation on Saturday. I will leave campus for home at 5:00pm today.

    Work on dissertation will resume 7:30pm until midnight. I will work on a quick re-write of Chapter 3.

    • Hello Lenisa
      Based on what you wrote you should still be up working. This post is for you to let you know you are not alone. Thanks for posting. See you in the morning on this same “bat channel.”

  35. Arundhathi KV says:

    Hi everyone,

    Today , i completed my table of contents (except for the page numbers). I started editing my Chapter 2 Graphs and Figures, as planned but still have some more to complete before I will be done.

    Tomorrow, my plan is
    1. Continue editing Chapter 3 Graphs and Figures, including the Figure captions
    2. Start working on Chapter 4 Introduction and background, that is development of a novel tool for epigenetic analysis.
    3.Complete the introduction and background for Chapter 4.

  36. BD says:

    Hi All,

    Today, I was able to read 3 articles that helped me formulate some possible aims for my proposal. This allowed me to create a TOC as well as an outline for my proposal. I also emailed these ideas to a professor in my department who is an expert in the area I am exploring for my proposal. I hope she will provide some helpful feedback on my idea.

    Tomorrow, I plan to read a few more articles and flesh out my outline.

    • Hello BD Seems like you are making some progress. Three articles in one afternoon from 1-5 pretty good. I look forward to our 1 on 1 to help you narrow down the aims. I hope you get the email response back in time to make some more progress on Thurs.

  37. Kelly Lynch says:

    Today (Wednesday) I further defined my data tables and added new criteria. I need to complete four on the four major themes that I am analyzing before I can write my two analysis chapters. I am just about finished with the first table. I am back to a word document (sorry!) because I can fill it in, format it and manipulate it so much more quickly. I can see that excel would be very helpful with quantitative data, but since I am using qualitative, I need things that help me identify nuance, more than I need to label, count and sort. The table that I have now is ten pages long (10 pt) and color-coded. I can easily see how I can identify genre and group narratives.

    Tomorrow, I will make sure that the first table is complete, then I will start the table on the second theme right away. I plan to finish that theme by the end of the day and then the third theme on Friday.

    • Kelly I hope that at the very least your cut and pasted your Excel into a Word document and did not retype the data into the Word file. Talk to Autumn Reed when she shows up on Friday. Many people have many different ways of doing the same thing. I look forward to our 1 on 1 soon.

  38. Hi everybody
    This is Ahmed AlEroud. The first day of the dissertation house was great. I was able to work on my approach chapter and revise its content. I found this a great challenge to make a good progress in my dissertation. Tomorrow, I’m planning to finish the following tasks
    1. I will revise the second part of my research approach.
    2. I will be revising the research problem part
    3. I will revise the first section in my experiment and evaluation chapter.

    see you tomorrow at 9:00 AM

  39. Future Dr. Carr says:

    I am still in the process of reorganizing my Lit Review. I should be able to incorporate the new articles in the lit review chart and entire section tomorrow morning and move on to revisiting chapter 3 by tomorrow afternoon. I will submit chapter 2 to my advisor as soon as it is complete.
    I also plan to check on my IRB status sometime during tomorrow.

  40. Nadwa says:

    Hello everyone,
    Today I was able to
    1) Figure out what my introduction will look like
    2) Created an excellent TOC for Essay 3 which I can easily follow in finishing my 3rd essay.
    3) ALSO – created a syllabus quiz for my class 🙂 I know it’s not dissertation but I believe this is going to save me lots of time during the semester – time I can use to finish my dissertation
    Tomorrow I will:
    1) Find information for my introduction in other disciplines (create bullet points)
    2) write the “Theoretical Models of Circular Migration” section (2-3 pages)

    Have a great evening and see bright and early tomorrow.

  41. Kathy says:

    Just got back from the college and my meetings. I’m going to grab some dinner and do a bit of work.

    See you all tomorrow!

  42. Hey Danny Where is your post did you make any progress today? We are looking for an update. Is chapter 3 fully revised?

  43. Christine says:

    Hello fellow DHers
    I had to work today but was able to get 2 hours of writing in and hope to do more tonight! Tomorrow my kids finally go back to school!! I will have a nice 4 hour stretch of writing!! Can’t wait! Tomorrow is theoretical framework time!

  44. Navid says:

    Hi everyone,

    Today I finished most of the Chapter two, but I still have some work for this chapter. I also finished the first draft of the ASME paper, related to this chapter.
    Here is my tomorrow plan:
    1. Chapter 4 (Morning)
    2. ASME paper for Chapter 4 (Morning/Afternoon)
    3. ASME paper for another studying (Evening)

    Good night:)

  45. Hello Everyone. My name is Leigh Dalton and I’m a student in the education policy department. I attended two Dissertation Houses in 2013 but was unable to attend this one as I’m out of the country. My internet has been spotty so I’m happy to be able to report in now. I’m on family vacation so carving out time to work on the diss. is as difficult as I’d anticipated. But I’m almost done with my document review for one state case study and hope to start on my second state by tomorrow. I will arrive home on Saturday with almost as much done as I’d expected which makes me happy. Enjoy and I hope to check in later today with the report that I’ve finished the current case study document review.

  46. Nadwa says:

    Morning everyone,
    Today I will
    1) Find information for my introduction in other disciplines (create bullet points)
    2) write the “Theoretical Models of Circular Migration” section (2-3 pages)

  47. Lenisa

    Where are you today..Did you work til midnight? Were you able to get revisions to chapter 3 done?

  48. Hello All

    Day 3 of the DH. We started on time this morning. Today is a full day with presentations from to DH Alums this afternoon!!! This mornings DH mini lecture was on “Knowing Who You Are” and “Preparing for the Defense”.

  49. Future Dr. Carr says:

    With approximately 1.5 hours left for today’s study I have completed the necessary edits to my Literature Review. I have submitted the document to my advisor. In the meantime i am moving on to Chapter 3’s edits and filling in the appropriate holes. Some of my TO-COMPLETE list will move into the weekend, but I will stay on track.

    The guest speakers were great motivation today.!

  50. Buenos tardes a todos!!/Good afternoon to everyone!!

    Estoy en Ecuador y estoy muy feliz porque hay 112 mesajes aqui!/I am in Ecuador and am very happy because there are 112 messages here!

    Congratulations to all of you on your persistence! What does your persistence mean? If you blogged in during the snow storm, you have already proven that you have what it takes. You have drive and determination. That is a large part of the battle. The Dissertation House exists to assist you with navigating the process and adding “knowledge of the process” to your enthusiasm.

    My message for you today is simple:

    1) Don’t stop until you’re done!
    Dr. Carter-Veale, Dr. Cortes, and some of you have seen people in the DH who felt frustrated, tired, and upset, BUT … they finished. They defended, handed in their dissertations, and walked across the stage with the big robe and the thick bars on their arms. That will be you … soon.

    2) Pay close attention to the tips that you will receive in the DH.
    These are tried and tested methods. With a pure heart, I ask you to “just do it.”

    3) As much as possible, stay in close contact with your advisor.
    Your advisor needs to know that you are working.You also want to be sure that you are on the right page and that the expectations are in sync.

    4) Utilize the community that is being established in the DH. It helps!
    Working on the dissertation does not have to be a lonely, isolated process. You are now surrounded by a community of scholars with like minds and goals. There’s energy there. Feed on it. Use it. Bask in it!

    5) Embrace the process.
    This is the hard one. The process is difficult, but there are parts of the process that are worth the frustration. The dissertation process teaches you how to deal with long-term projects, how to deal with contrasting personalities (e.g., your committee), how to deal with rejection, and how to handle your own emotions. This is a maturation process. You may not know all of the answers, but you learn how to investigate solutions, and you learn to think through options. You may not like all of the people with whom you’re working, but you learn how to negotiate for what you need, and you learn to appreciate the strengths that people bring to the table, regardless of whether or not you care for them personally. You can still learn from “Painful People.” You can still learn from people, even when they aren’t providing information or assistance in a way that is amiable or projecting a feeling of giving. Take what they provide and find its worth. Above all, learn to appreciate the process of becoming more adept in your field.

    Overall, I’m sorry that I’m not there in person for this session, but feel free to make an appointment with me to talk when I return to UMBC in February. Good luck to all of you! Congratulations on your hard work and keep it up. Those letters … “P,” “h,” and “D,” are dangling, hanging around, waiting for you to finish so that they can accompany your name!

    Best regards,
    Renetta Tull

    • Future Dr. Carr says:

      Buenos Dias Dr. Tull! Deseo usted estaba aqui….pero, estoy seguro de Ecuador esta mucho mejor.

      Great to hear from you from there!

      Faizah Carr

    • Kelly Lynch says:

      Hola Dra. Tull, Muchisimas gracias por esta oportunidad! Trabaje mucho y pude realizar algunas metas importantes. Pienso volver en el verano para no perder el ritmo. Ojala que ofrezcan esta conferencia a todos¡

      • Hola Kelly! You’re welcome! I’m happy to hear that you have worked hard and are meeting some of your important goals. Congratulations! Some of the DH “alums” (those who are still working on the dissertation, but who have participated in the past) get together throughout the year. LLC has a “DH-styled” writing group that was meeting regularly last semester. They may be continuing this semester as well. Check with Doaa Rashed, UMBC’s GSA President for more information.

        We’ll continue to offer the DH when we can, as funding allows. Take care and keep up the good work!

    • Kathy says:

      Dr. Tull,

      I missed you this week! I had been looking forward to my Dr. Tull hug!

      Thanks for the advice. I have an aggressive schedule this spring to I am hanging on to all the advice and support I can get!

      I hope all is well where you are and that you are happy to not be in the 5F weather!

      Hope to see you soon.

  51. BD says:


    I forgot to blog in this morning but today I was able to read a few more articles and complete my proposal outline. Honestly, all I wanted from this process was to have an outline by the end, so I am extremely happy with my progress thus far. With some great advice from Dr. Carter this afternoon, I will continue to work on my outline tomorrow and create a timeline to complete small sections each day, over the next month or so. I am going to set a hard date and plan to have this proposal completed by March 31st.

    See you all tomorrow!

  52. Kelly Lynch says:

    It is 4:30pm on Jan. 23 and we have finished our third day. My goal was to complete the second data table and I am about half way there. I may try to finish tonight. Today it looks like I got less done, but I was able to do more on-the-spot analysis and include it in my table.

    I really enjoyed hearing from the new PhDs who just completed their dissertations. Each one named a specific problem that I have had and it was gratifying to see that I am not the only one with such dilemnas! I wrote down a lot of what was said, and I will refer to it often when I get stuck and disillusioned.

    I met with Dr. Carter for my one-on-one, too and she gave me two great ideas. They will help me because they are concrete and practical and will pull me out of Research Hell when I start sinking.

    Tomorrow I plan to complete more of the tables. I sent the one I finished yesterday to my advisor this morning and I am looking forward to hearing her feedback.

  53. Nadwa says:

    Today I was able to redefine sections for my thirds essay. I was able to fill in (i.e. answer committee members’ questions and concerns) within sections and look up the information. I also managed to formalize my thinking on how to address some of the questions and create bullet points that I can go back and expand on.
    Tomorrow, I am hoping to be more productive than today and address one of the sections in full.

    Have a good evening and see you tomorrow.

  54. Daniel Schall says:

    After meeting with Dr. Carter in the morning I decided to dedicate my afternoon to my methods chapter. It is my closest chapter to completion and my goal is to finish it by Friday evening! Since it’s basically the meat and potatoes of my Master’s thesis I am glad Dr Carter pushed me to direct my focus on finishing it! Thanks!

  55. Kathy says:

    Finally, I got to spend a full day at the DH!

    Today I was able to:
    1. work thru more interviews to import
    2. make an initial stab at the timeline spreadsheet
    3. work on the detailed list of analyses

    See you all in the morning!

  56. I couldn’t believe that tomorrow is the last day!. I wish if we could continue this until the defense day 🙂
    In my third day, I had a great one to one meeting with Dr. carter. We discussed several deadlines and we put a plan about how to proceed in other steps

    I made some good progress in my methodology chapter. tomorrow I will be working on my introduction chapter.

  57. Yuepu Guo says:

    On DH day 3, I’m almost done with writing the narrative of my case study, but I’m still running a little behind my schedule. So I’ll catch up tomorrow. Meeting with Dr. Cart today was quite good. Dr. Carter gave me great advice regarding dissertation writing and schedule management. I’d like to thank her here for her help.

  58. Revisions to Chapter 3 was not completed …My advisors had a boomerang for me!

    I have been enjoying thoroughly walking in this air. I walk 35 mins to the bus and 35 mins back in the evening! Exhilarating! only exercise I’ve been getting.

    Day 3 was very busy. There were many things to tick off my to-do list in prep for the orientation on Saturday.
    _I had a meeting with the last person on my list as a peer reviewer and she was open to doing it!!! She is a clinical faculty member, well respected in the department and I truly believe is interested in helping me!
    _I did even more corrections to my IRB reauthorization after my advisers met this morning and submitted to irbnet. Reauthorization was granted this evening!
    _Tonight I am re editing the comments (removing participants I cannot use) section of my survey to send to peer reviewer.
    _Editing Chapter 3 again. Until my eyes can’t manage.
    Good night!

  59. Kathy says:

    “Got to get something done today
    Give accomplishment a shot
    Might not have a full palette to use
    But I’m gonna paint with the colors I’ve got” Bruce Horsnby

    Today’s list:
    1. Finish all interview reviews and import
    2. Complete list of analyses
    3. Complete timeline

  60. Future Dr. Carr says:

    Chapter 3….staring on a blank sheet to give myself more focus. One hour down, 4 to go.

  61. Kelly Lynch says:

    I just sent my second data table (of four) to my advisor. My original goal was three, and even though I am starting the third right now, I will not get it finished. I am very content, however, because my advisor gave me a deadline of March 8 for all four and I will have parts of the third done and then just one more to do. I am delivering early for the first time ever!!!!

  62. BD says:

    I got some extremely HELPFUL feedback from the professor in my department I contacted the other day about my proposed topic. Confirmation that I am not a complete idiot! I made some really good progress on my introduction this morning. Going to collect some articles based on suggestions from my helpful professor, add some layers/detail to my outline, and come very close to finishing my introduction. Feeling very accomplished and happy that I made it this far.

  63. Hello, I found my way back to the internet again today. I’m finishing up state one, and I also did some reading that I needed to get done. The one state has an abundance of information so it is harder to get through this document review than I’d anticipated. But one page at a time. I’ll have to do some catch-up work on Sunday when I return to stay on track but it’s doable. Hope everyone is enjoying their last day at DH!!

  64. Future Dr. Carr says:

    This weekend should be fruitful. I want to build upon the organization I have set in the last day or two and implement that organization into my work week. I want to spend 30 mins a day to revisiting my dissertation during my commute and preparing for long sessions of work on the weekends.

    I plan to log in here on my weekend sessions.

    Thank you Dissertation House.

  65. Kelly Lynch says:

    I have finished 2.5 out of the three data tables and some 50 pages of notes initial analysis! I am very happy with what I learned and what I was able to accomplish. I would like to come to the summer DH to review my finished dissertation. Thank you, Dr. Carter, for all of your help! I especially liked hearing from past and present candidates.

  66. Pingback: Don’t stop working on the dissertation until you’re finished, and learn from “Painful People” | The Dissertation House

  67. The Orientation went well and now I am settling in to my Dissertation Work. I feel like I am missing something (Did not get to talk with my Dissertation Coach yesterday) 😦
    Goals for today:
    a) Prepare information sheets for peer reviewer for survey responses
    — Research questions, Question participants responded to on survey, list of all responses, list of responses with my coding, diagrams from UNESCO used to create predetermined codes, definition of each code.

    b) Since I don’t know how to take stuff out of AtlasTi that I already coded. I am just going to enter a new list and code them quickly again. This works since the feedback from advisers were in disagreement with my coding scheme.

    c) Complete the revisions to the revisions to chapter 3.

  68. I get to visit with my Coach! 🙂

  69. I did not do any work since posting. Today I am completing that Chapter 3 that it…it’s been hanging around too long.

  70. It’s February 2! Today I am reviewing Chapter 3 before sending to the copy editor. I will then run a few statistical analyses, print them out and start looking for/at patterns.

  71. Managed to get the chapter out yesterday. Entered more but not do the analyses. Walked 6.5 miles in to and from campus it was a nice day.
    Today is going to be a domestic day…laundry, cooking (chili, lentil soup, and pumpkin soup), cleaning apartment, nap then Mass this evening. May hang out with a buddy for a couple hours after Mass.
    This week the house is empty and my boss is out of town. Intending to accomplish lots. This Sunday will be my prep day.

  72. Hello Everyone

    Everyday provides another opportunity for you to move your dissertation forward. Take a step toward your PhD today. It doesn’t have to be a big step. Baby steps are still steps.

  73. Dorian Davis says:

    Hi Everyone,

    I am in the Industrial and Systems Engineering program at NC A&T State University. I recently passed my preliminary exam and now I am working on my proposal. April is when my advisor is expecting me to be ready to defend my research proposal. I have completed the rough draft for the first chapter and is currently writing my second and third chapter simultaneously. Well, I haven’t started the third chapter. It is still in my head. I am making progress, but I still feel behind. Today, I am still working on chapter 2. The goal is to complete 2 more categories and submit to my advisor this evening for review. Perhaps the nice weather NC is expecting this week will give me a boost of energy.

    • Congratulations Dorian! great accomplishment!

    • Hello Dorian

      Glad you checked into the online DH. I live in Carolina too. What’s the status of your proposal now that it is close to the end of the semester?

      • Dorian Davis says:

        Hi Dr. Carter. Hope all is well with you. I postponed my proposal defense to August/September. The direction of my research changed and I wasn’t ready to defend my proposal in April. I have been preparing for my case study for my proposal defense and now I am a ready to conduct my study. In addition, I have been writing conference papers and working on a study for journal submission. I will definitely be ready by fall semester. Thanks for checking in on me.

  74. Carlos says:

    Hey Lenisa!!!

    Keep Going!!!!! and remember KISS!!!!!


  75. To all who still read this blog. Dr. Lenisa N. Joseph successfully defended her dissertation.

  76. YA says:

    Congratulations Dr. Lenisa N. Joseph in moving from PhD to be to BEING!
    I am so very proud of your accomplishments. …
    You too, drank the Kool Aid (yeah)!!!
    Best wishes in your career adventures,

  77. Hoda says:

    Things to move forward tomorrow:
    1- Finish editing notes back to me from adviser (editing my flowchart)
    2- Keep working on finding a new theory to integrate acculturation and health behavior
    3- Put together some theories and email to adviser for approval to move forward
    4- If time, begin subheading Lit Review

  78. Eryka Boyd says:

    Hello, my name is Eryka and I am a 3rd year Clinical Psychology doctoral candidate. My project is focused on investigating associations between discrimination, pain perception, and pain modulation among African Americans. So far I am working on tightening my aims. I am having difficulties balancing my clinical & academic responsibilities with my dissertation deadlines. My goal is to apply for the F31 in March 2015.

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