Congratulations on migrating to our new page–Winter Challenge 2018.  Welcome to Winter Dissertation House at UMBC. If you are here you’re in the right place.  This is your page so make the most of your experience here. You can get your dissertation finished in 2018 with daily progress.

Welcome to the Dissertation House On-line, Winter 2018 season! This page will be active from January 2018 – June 2018.  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 2018. 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.

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. As coach Dr. CV says “A good dissertation is a done dissertation.”


126 responses to “Winter 2018 Challenge”

  1. Good morning everyone! Welcome to the 2018 Winter Dissertation House! I hope that you will be very productive this week, and that your time will be well-spent! I will be checking in with you from time to time. Good luck as you work toward your goals!

    Kind regards,
    Renetta Tull, Ph.D.
    Associate Vice Provost, Strategic Initiatives

  2. Erika Aparakakankanange Avatar
    Erika Aparakakankanange

    Good morning everyone. This is Erika Aparakakankanange checking in virtually. I am looking forward to working on the goals my advisor recently set for me. Best of luck to everyone this week!

    Erika Aparakakankanange
    Ph.D. Student
    University of Maryland College Park

    1. Dear Erika,

      What are some of the goals, and which will you tackle today? The Dissertation House wants to be sure that the goals are specific and measurable.

      Renetta Tull

      1. Erika Aparakakankanange Avatar
        Erika Aparakakankanange

        Hi Dr. Tull,

        Great question. Here is an excerpt from my advisor’s last email to me, “Generally speaking, I think you are on the right track, but you need to develop your research design (Chapter 4) more fully. That will help you clarify your study and RQs; it will also help you determine what literature to highlight and how your conceptual model will be used….”

        My advisor asked me to spend time reviewing the following resources
        1) Creswell, J. W. (2015). A concise introduction to mixed methods research. Los Angeles: Sage. It is relatively inexpensive and is a reasonable, untechnical description of mixed methods.

        Three additional introductory articles that you can download:
        1)Teddlie, C., & Tashakkori, A. (2012). Common “core” characteristics of mixed methods and multimethod research design.
        2) Johnson, R.B., Onwuegbuzie, A.J., & Turner, L.A. (2007). Toward a definition of mixed methods research.
        3) Johnson, R.B., & Onwuegbuzie, A.J. (2004). Mixed methods research: A research paradigm whose time has come.

        My goals today include reading 2 of the articles my advisor proposed I used to better bolster my methodology skills.

        1. Hello Erika
          Welcome to the DH you seem to have your work cut out for you. Good luck on getting those tasks accomplished this week.

        2. Hello Erika. It will also help for you to look at your favorite papers to see what method they used, and to see if your questions can be answered by similar methods. Back in the day, this used to help me with my stats and deciding between a T-test, Chi-squared, ANOVAs, etc. In my own work, I ended up using an engineering-based method (mel-frequency cepstrum coefficients) because the very specific questions to which I was seeking answers used that method … in the US, Japan, Europe, etc.

          In other words, using Dr. Carter-Veale’s mantra (good and done!), look at the methods used in papers that analyzed questions that are similar to yours. Understand those methods well. Draft your version, being sure that your data will fit.

          Good luck this week!

  3. Hello everyone,

    I’ll be working on my proposal this week. I hope to finish today the intro/background with the comments/feedback from my advisor.

    Ph.D. Student
    University of Maryland, Baltimore County

    1. Dear Hector,
      Are you tackling the proposal’s sections sequentially, or are you working on some things in parallel, e.g., methods?


      1. Dear Dr. Tull,
        I’m tackling them sequentially, I received some feedback from my advisor and specific requests (rearrange the background to build up to the niche that this research pursues). After this, I’m planning to elaborate on the methods.

        1. Hector We talked about deadline this morning, when is you deadline for submitting a full draft of your proposal to you advisor?

  4. Shawnisha Hester Avatar
    Shawnisha Hester

    Greetings everyone! I’ll be working on critiques (3) and reading this week. I hope to finish reading two chapters today.

    1. Dear Shawnisha,

      Are the critiques part of your proposal? How much reading is on the table for this week, and how much reading needs to be done to complete the goal?

      Renetta Tull

      1. Shawnisha Hester Avatar
        Shawnisha Hester

        Dear Dr. Tull,

        2 chapters, about 100 pages in total. I have finished one chapter. I have three articles to critique.

    2. Hello Shawnisha Did you finish 2 chapters? The critiques of what?

      1. Shawnisha Hester Avatar
        Shawnisha Hester

        Hello Dr. Carter-Veale,

        I finished one chapter and am on to the next one. The critiques are on three articles.

  5. Day 1 of the DH. Welcome to the winter DH at UMBC. We have fixed the comment page so please join us.

  6. Hello everyone! My name is Jessica, and I am from Penn State. My goals for today are as follows:
    1. Begin my second chapter focusing on testing my instrument by running analyses for my items.
    2. Review existing articles in my literature review to add more details (as requested by my advisor).
    3. Create a table of contents for my revised dissertation

    1. Jess I hope that this afternoon’s session on writing the Lit-view helped you to decide to move on to the next Outcome chapter

  7. Good afternoon! My name is Jamila, I am a 4th year in the Department of Gerontology, public policy concentration. Day 1 of DH: My goal for the day is to create & finish my Table of Contents (TOC) and create a format for my proposal. SO far, I have finished my TOC draft.

    1. I was able to finish my TOC (which is of course subject to change as I continue writng) and I developed a format/template for my proposal. My next step was to fill it in. I was able to draft chapters 1 (Intro, Problem Statement, & Significance) and part of 2 (Background and Literature review drafted previously). Theoretical framework is left to chapter 2, then chapter 3 is methods. Tomorrow’s goal is to edit what I have so far and add citations.

      1. It sounds like you have been able to make ample progress. Congratulations!

  8. I made progress rearranging some key ideas to make the story of my background/introduction flow better. I plan to add another portion of information tomorrow that will address a little bit of the motivation behind my project.

  9. Greetings Everyone,
    My goal here is to work on my defense slides, and review some statistics to solidify my background. I ended up receiving adviser’s comments from my dissertation today, so I’m working through interpreting and addressing the comments. Tomorrow I should have split one of my chapters into two. Also work on my dissertation announcement to send to the university.

    1. Dr. J Glad were able to find a natural split for that chapter.

    2. Welcome back! It is exciting to see you so close to the finish line!

  10. Nopondo Ndoh A Esemoto Avatar
    Nopondo Ndoh A Esemoto

    Hello everyone! Nopondo here, day 1 is done. Finally got a handle on endnote and my reference management. Created a TOC and with that my goal for the day is accomplished. Looking forward to tomorrow when I begin working on my chapters.

    1. Hello Nopondo! It sounds like you have the structure under control … now to the content! Do you have to arrange chapters a journal articles, or use the general scientific method structure throughout? What has been completed thus far?

  11. Hello! My name is Hyun. I’m working on my proposal. Through this Dissertation House, I hope to find the concrete research questions for the proposal and get approval from my professor for next step!!!

    1. Hyun I look forward to our discussion time.

    2. Greetings Hyun. Good morning. I look forward to seeing your detailed goals. What is your topic and what is the problem that you want to solve?

  12. Good afternoon! I’m a student here at UMBC in the Language, Literacy, & Culture department. My goal for the next four days is to finish my Chapter 4 findings. Today I began the process of pulling quotes from the several files I created using Atlas and putting them into an excel spread sheet. I’m hoping it doesn’t go as slowly as it did today because this is just the first step before the write-up! Hoping tomorrow to begin seeing how to shape the narrative data into a framework to best present the findings.

    1. Hello Erin,

      Be sure to put some actual writing time into your schedule. We can spend so much time gathering data that we miss out on opportunities to write. I highly recommend that you intersperse your data-gathering and your writing. As an example, you might decide that you will finish pulling quotes between 10AM and 12, read them over between 2 and 3PM, and write *something* between 3 and 4:30PM. This way, you will feel good about having had dedicated time to focus on findings, and you will have something written. Good luck today!

      1. Thanks for the recommendation. I did something very similar to what you suggested. Good idea! Digging through narrative data like this can become a never-ending task.

        1. Best to you as you work through the process!

  13. Hello! This is Shari, checking in from UMBC. My department is Applied Developmental Psychology, and I am working on my dissertation data and final document this week. My goal for today was to work on finalizing child transcriptions from my child interviews. This went very well! When we had working time, I worked continuously and finished the 2nd graders! I would have liked to have had more uninterrupted time to work, but it was still a very productive day.

    My goals for tomorrow include getting several more of the 3rd grade transcriptions done in the morning and then working on the reorganization of my Study 1 in the afternoon. I will also have my one-on-one with Dr. Carter-Veale, so I hope that I can gain some more insight into the best ways to motivate myself to work on a daily basis.

    Excited to come back tomorrow!

    1. Hi Shari, The uninterrupted time for the DH is scripted to be approximately 4 hours per day. This is deliberate design after 10 years of research, and is based on helping students to achieve long-term consistency. We’ve tested other models, and this one, with the scheduled breaks and mini-lectures works best over the long-term. We’ve also found that by Friday, participants are exhausted, but remain motivated. This allows students to keep up a schedule of productivity once they leave the DH and are on their own again.

      I tend to be a “sit in one place for hours and work” person, so I understand the desire to want more time. I believe that the doors open around 8:30, so feel free to come in early and jump right in. Congratulations to you on your hunger for more, as I’m sure that it will fuel your productivity during the week!

  14. Hello everyone, I’m Rianna Murray from University of Maryland College Park, School of Public Health. This week my goals are to complete 2 sections of my Literature Review and to complete the Introduction and Methods sections of my first manuscript. I’m also planning on creating a TOC for my dissertation.

    The first day of the DH got off to a great start today, with a very inspiring talk by Dr. Carter-Veale which was also a nice wake up call! She gave us great tips on how to effectively plan on achieving our goal of finishing the dissertation. I was able to complete three paragraphs of one of the sections of my Lit Review and will continue to work on this section tomorrow. Hoping that the snow doesn’t hamper the DH day 2!

    1. Hello Rianna
      Even it snows you can always work in your pajamas.

    2. I’m pleased to hear that this is working out for you.

      1. Thank you Dr. Tull, I am very happy to be here!

  15. My goal today was to read and summaries 5 articles, however, I was able to finish 2 articles. I thought I know what I will have as studies for each section in my related work section but after today I think my studies are not very related. So, for tomorrow, I will classify my studies again and have more related literature review. My goal tomorrow is to classify the studies I have and read 3 of the most relevant ones.

    1. Be proud of the two. You moved forward. That, in and of itself, is an accomplishment!

  16. Hey everybody! Today, I accomplished the following:
    1. I ran cronbach’s alpha for my relationship quality items.
    2. I placed the items into a chart
    3. I reran descriptive analyses for ordinal and scale variables so that I can write a summary of them for my methods section.
    4. I created boxplots for my ordinal and scale variables to identify outliers.

    Tomorrow, I plan to do the following:
    1. Remove the outliers from the scale variables in order to improve normality.
    2. Rerun descriptive analyses for my nominal and dichotomous variables.
    3 Create barcharts or frequency tables for my nominal variables (if needed).
    4 Continue to run tests of reliability on the rest of my survey instrument.

    1. Nice glad you moved on from your literature review. I can see how much happier you are. Welcome to day 2 of the DH

  17. My ‘Good Morning’ post didnt send so this post will be for both goals and Today’s accomplishments.

    “Good Morning Winter Dissertation House 2018,
    I am a third year graduate student in the Chemistry and Biochemistry department at UMBC. This week I intend to complete a full draft of my presentation for my candidacy scheduled for the third week of February!! I will also review edits for the latest document draft from my lab.
    Unfortunately, today I will not be physically at DH so that I can obtain images for the presentation, but I cannot wait to see you all tomorrow!”

    Today, I accomplished imaging 2 of 5 samples at NIST, so hopefully I will be able to finish the remainder on Friday. I received a reviewed draft from two of my lab members today, and have started going through the suggestions. I intend to finish these suggestions in tomorrow’s morning session, and then complete slides corresponding to the introduction and AIM 1 for my presentation by the end of the day.
    It looks like everyone had a productive and pace-setting first day! See you all tomorrow!

    1. Congratulations on the completion of some of the imaging! It can be a challenge to work with external facilities, but it looks like you are getting results.

    2. Welcome to the DH Day 2 Denise it was good to have you join us again.

  18. Kimberly Reaves Avatar
    Kimberly Reaves

    Today’s dissertation house was by far the most impactful session that I have had over the course of this process. I came into the session this morning with lots of information, but no structure… I was literally ready to throw-in-the towel(less than a week ago). After meeting with Dr. Carter I was able to streamline my thoughts, ideas and all of the information that I came in with.

    I spent much of my time reading the Proposal Cookbook which I found to be extremely informative. I have written my proposal over at least 4 times to date, and it is only today that I can say, ” I am confident that I have made progress and that I am going somewhere with this thing”. LOL

    I came in with a bunch of “stuff” and actually left with a problem statement that I can be proud of. I am not sure that Dr. Carter will feel the same, but I guess that I will find out tomorrow.

    I am so grateful that Promise has allowed me to attend the Dissertation House. I have read about it, heard about it, and wondered how it was, however the experience is one that I cannot explain.. I am so inspired after today.

    We certainly need a replica of this in my university, Morgan State University!

    Thanks Dr. Tull, Dr. Carter and Dr. Rutledge for this opportunity!

    1. I’m so glad that you are able to participate!

    2. Hello Kimmy
      It was a pleasure speaking with you yesterday and glad to see that the Proposal Cookbook cleared things up for you. I am looking forward to reading the Problem Statement today.

  19. Good morning! Made it through the snow, and I’m ready to get started again. My goals for today are to get several more interview transcriptions finalized and to begin work on reorganizing Study 1 of my dissertation document. Looking forward to another productive day!

  20. Hello everyone,

    Yesterday was really productive. I partitioned my day into three sections.

    Yesterday’s Accomplishments:
    -Read and synthesized 4 papers
    -Reviewed two video observations and my interview notes.
    -Started TOC for proposal

    Synthesizing the papers provided more insight into what my current paper lacks. I now plan to create a new follow-up study to gather more data from my participants.

    Today I plan to accomplish:
    -Complete TOC for proposal
    -New study design for follow-up interviews. [I will read through my “qualitative methods” books and share the study design with my advisor. I have a meeting with her today at 4PM to review.

    Looking forward to today!

    1. Hello Ade

      Good for you for following through with your post.Good luck with your meeting today with your advisor.

  21. Good Morning DHers!

    I am looking for a productive day of writing and formatting today! In the morning session I will like to finish Draft 10 of my proposal document and send it to my PI, and by the end of the day I would like to finish the Introduction and Aim 1 or the presentation.

  22. Good Morning, split adviser’s comments to hard medium and hard. Addressed most of the comments, I have 4 major ones (medium-hard) to address. Today, I will start working on splitting the chapter.

    1. Dr. J Good to see that you are taking the advice of rating your advisor’s comments prior to addressing them in sequential order. Nice…good luck with the hard edits today & splitting the chapter.

  23. Hi All. I has always found really productive to be part of the DH but this time I will be joint virtually.
    My goals for the week are:
    1) Complete a grant application ( leadership statement and review the comments from my advisor for my research plan)
    2) Write a protocol for an experiment I have to do
    3) Complete the introduction of my second paper!!!! Yeahh
    Yesterday, I worked on my leadership statement and I am proud to say that it is almost complete. Today, I am sitting next to a window enjoying the snow and I getting inspired by this beautiful view to continue working.
    Goals of the day complete my leadership statement and work on the protocol
    Thanks Dr. Carten and Dr. Tull for this opportunity.

  24. Good morning! My plan for today is to put citations into everything I’ve written thus far. Then edit!

    1. Jamila sounds like a plan, but it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Put a time limit to both. Add citations to a section then edit if you get frustrated or bored with doing just one or the other.

      1. You are so right!

    2. Day 2! I was able to add all of the citations for what I have written so far, but like you said it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. I with revise later and keep moving on so I can meet my goals for the week. I don’t want to get held back by revising right now. Tomorrow I will write the first draft of my theoretical framework.

  25. Morning everyone,
    The goal for today is to continue making the story of the motivation for my project.

  26. Completed my leadership statetement. Ready to move on!!!

  27. Welcome to Day 2 of the DH.
    We made it to campus despite the snow and the slow traffic this morning. If you joined us yesterday good for you. You can commit to another day of working on your dissertation. We are here until 5pm. What goals do you have set for today and how will you reward yourself for achieving those goals? Remember, baby steps are still steps.

  28. Hello everyone,
    Today I filtered one section of the literature review articles and only chose the most related ones.
    I did 4 articles, I skimmed them and read the most important parts, took notes about where I will use them and rate their relevance to my research questions.
    I think I did better today because I am applying the tips Dr.Carter-Veale gave us. Thank you so much Dr. Carter-Veale for those tips!
    Tomorrow, my goal is to read 3 articles and continue filtering my articles in the next section of my literature review.

  29. Day 2 was quite a productive one for me! I hope everyone else feels the same. Although I only completed two transcriptions (was hoping for a couple more), each new one completed helps my bottom line. I also put together my Table of Contents for my dissertation document, put together an ambitious timeline for completing my dissertation based on my goals, and made major progress editing my Chapter 2 (Study 1) of my dissertation. I found new research for the literature review and began reorganization of the theoretical approaches.

    Looking forward to another productive day tomorrow, particularly with my Chapter 2!

    1. Shari as I say “It’s all about you”. Creating a writing schedule is important; then you don’t have to “find time to write”. You can do this and it is helpful to know what you are doing everyday instead of making that decision every morning.

  30. Today I completed the reviews to my latest proposal draft and emailed it to my PI. For the presentation, I completed the introductory slides and finished about half of the slides for Aim 1. I have place holder slides for every topic I would like to address for this aim and will begin filling them in the morning.

  31. This morning and early afternoon made some great progress on filling in my excel spreadsheet full of quotes for each of the 15 participants. Last night I stayed late to work and had a breakthrough of sorts with the model I had not been able to create. I began writing later in the afternoon, reframing the findings chapter with my newfound framework. Tomorrow I will dedicate to writing up the findings and am hopeful that I can better place these bits of quotations into a format that makes sense.

  32. Finished bulk of chapter split. Will need to fine tune and continue working on other comments and slides.

  33. Siobhan M Quinn Avatar
    Siobhan M Quinn

    Hi Everyone! In spite of the snow and other challenges I’m HERE. Today I developed the bones for my comp proposal, and will continue tomorrow. Tomorrow I’ll continue to work on that…

  34. Nopondo Ndoh A Esemoto Avatar
    Nopondo Ndoh A Esemoto

    Hello everyone! Another day down! Did not format a chapter as planned, but thanks to Dr. C.V. and her push I got a draft of my introduction done today!!! Looking forward to continuing the process and writing chapters tomorrow.

    1. Amen!! Nopondo good for you words on paper!!! Some people just need a nudge over to the finish line. On to Chapter 2 in the morning.

  35. Thankfully the snow did not hold us back and we all made it to the DH for another productive day. Today I was able to make some more progress on one of my literature review sections by reading and summarizing four new articles. I also added a new paragraph to the Introduction section of my first manuscript.

    Additionally, I had my one-on-one consultation with Dr. Carter-Veale today which helped me to set specific, realistic goals in order to actually finish my dissertation! I will set aside some time this weekend to create a very ambitious timeline for myself over the next few months.

    Tomorrow I will complete the first section of my Lit Review that I aimed to finish during the DH.

    1. Nice Rianna Glad to see that you are making some Progress.
      Progress not perfection = a PhD.

      1. Thank you! I have to make sure to keep that in mind 🙂

  36. Today, my goals were to work on my second paper, which included:
    1. Identifying outliers in my data set
    2. Conducting Cronbach’s alpha with other variables in my data set.

    Today, I actually did the following:
    1. Gathered descriptive statistics for my sample and placed them into a chart in chapter 2.
    2. Outlined the rest of my second paper by creating a section on reliability and validity for my survey instrument.
    3. Reviewed the purpose of reliability and validity and selected the appropriate analyses, which included factor analysis.
    4. I ran a factor analysis for my relationship quality variables and took notes on the outcomes.

    What I plan to do tomorrow is:
    1. Review and interpret the outcomes of my factor analysis.
    2. I may need to rerun my factor analysis.
    3. I plan to continue running frequencies for the nominal variables in my survey.
    4. I need to figure out how to assess reliabilitg and validity with nominal variables.

    1. Hello Jess
      You might consider asking Dr J. in the DH who just finished his chapter on the same topic reliability and validity. Also check out several Youtube video on the topic as well.

  37. Hi DHers,
    I completed my leadership statement and send it to my PI.
    In the afternoon, I gathered some paper’s from my introduction and summarized two of them.
    I will work a bit tonight in the protocol
    For tomorrow,
    I will complete my protocol and the list of materials and start writing the introduction.

  38. Good afternoon everyone. Congratulations! You’ve built upon your successes from yesterday, and you’ve made strides today! Keep up the good work!

  39. The snow will be gone for Day 3 of the DH but it will be cold so bundle up. I am looking forward to seeing everyone on-time in the DH given this afternoon’s presentation on Managing your Relationship with Your Advisor. See you at 9am sharp; 9:01am is late.

  40. Back and ready for Day 3! My goal for today is to finish the reorganization of Chapter 2. If I have more time in the day after that, I will begin the Methods sections for chapters 3 and 4 and possibly another couple transcriptions. Feeling good about progress so far!

  41. Good Morning ! I’m ready for DH Day 3
    By the end of today I hope I have a whole draft for my candidacy presentation. Even if its not pretty, I aim to have a slide for each main point I would like to make outlined.

  42. Hi All. Ready for day 3. Today, I am gonna be working on drafting the introduction of my second paper.

  43. Hello all! Day 3. Today, I am going to review the literature for my theoretical framework and draft that section of my paper.

    1. I completed the research needed to formulate the theoretical framework section of my proposal. I started the day really nervous that I wouldn’t find a theory to fit my study besides the theory my advisor used in her previous study. I was certain that there must be another theory to apply…and I found one! I am excited to integrate both of these theories together as the conceptual framework for my study.

  44. Hey everybody! My goals for today include the following:
    1. Running factor analysis for my relationship quality variables
    2. Figuring out if I ran the analysis correctly
    3. Running frequencies for my nominal variables

  45. Hello DHers. My name is Isaac Mativo, UMBC, Computer Science and Electrical Engineering. I’m joining DH virtually.
    I have two goals today:
    1) Download research data into my local machine and set up the software development environment.
    2) Come up with a realistic schedule of what I need to accomplish this spring, and email it to my advisor.

    1. Hello Isaac Glad to see that you are still in the pursuit of the PhD. Glad to see you on line.

      1. Thank you, Dr. Carter-Veale. I’m committed to getting it done.

  46. Hello everyone!
    Today exercise was very helpful for me to think about how to improve public speaking about my research (focus on my strength, keep practicing and work to improve certain limitations). In terms of my goals, I planned to read and summarize 3 articles but finished 2, and I am updating my literature review Excel file as well. For tomorrow, I am planning to read and summarize 2 articles.

  47. Today I created a slide for every topic I would like to have a slide on for the presentation, but I have only completely finished through Aim 1 and jumped around to complete the “low hanging” slides for Aims 2 and 3. Overall, a productive Day 3 of DH.

  48. Another successful day! The 3 minute practice “talk show” was a very helpful exercise to improve our short research talks. Also the materials from the Counseling Center will be helpful with stress management moving forward. As far as my progress goes, I completed by goal of the re-write of Chapter 2 and sent it to my advisor! I then spent the afternoon working on the Methods section of Chapter 3. I created new variables in my dataset and entered the participant and procedure information into the document. Tomorrow I will continue working on Chapters 3 and 4 with the goal that I will have the Methods section and the conceptual model complete for both. Ready to keep moving!

  49. Chapter split complete. Also addressed additional comments, one comment left to address before I can send out to committee.
    Dissertation Announcement sent out to the university.
    Work on slides tonight, to prepare for mock tomorrow.

  50. The day was relatively productive. Wish I could have accomplished more. Working on writing my findings chapter — fighting with the template sections/subsections. Finally discovered if I turn on the show formatting on word, I can see the little boxes that indicate a place finder for the section that corresponds with the TOC. But I’m not sure if I should rename these sections or just keep them simple by keeping it named as they are.

    But beyond that struggle, I’ve been making headway in creating the framing by writing it and the transitions. Wish I had more time and may take this evening to see if I can move it along. Wanted to finished with the chapter but not looking like it iwll be possible by Friday at 5p. Probably too ambitious of a goal.

  51. Hello! Everyone! Today was a good day! 🎶

    Yesterday evening I had to leave early to meet with my advisor. I gave her an update on what I completed so far regarding the paper, and her response was to, “keep on pushing through.” I am confident that I will complete my draft before Friday evening.

    I had a wonderful literature review walkthrough during my 1-1 with Dr. CV.
    I completed TOC for my proposal.
    I also completed the new study designs for my follow-up interviews.

    I have NOT synthesized as many papers as I wanted to, but I am at ~10.

    Tomorrow’s goals are:
    -Read 10 more papers
    -Complete draft(I plan to work through the night…. till my lids begin closing on their own)

    DH! Woot woot! Always an exciting experience.

  52. Kimberly Reaves Avatar
    Kimberly Reaves

    Hi All,

    Today was a day like none that I’ve ever seen before. Everyone was in a zone and they did not want to be moved even for lunch! I was focused on trying to get the questions in the proposal cookbook answered and compiling more articles for this weekend’s readings.

    As I mentioned to some of my peers, this dissertation house provides the perfect setting for getting this level of research accomplished. Focus for me is no easy task, I believe that I have ADHD; I hate sitting still.

    With this being said, ye,s it easy very important for me to have this type of environment, where everyone has the same goal in mind. Have to admit that it gets a little complicated when everyone around you is partying, traveling or going to the movies and you are stuck writing.

    On the first day we created a “to-do” list and posted it on the wall behind us. The list has changed so much that nothing was crossed off of the list. Setting goals versus realistic goals is something to consider.

    Overall this was a great experience!!

  53. Nopondo Ndoh A Esemoto Avatar
    Nopondo Ndoh A Esemoto

    Hello everyone! Tough day today. Public speaking is very stressful. However, today’s activity helped me focus on how well to effectively communicate my research to a broad audience. Thanks Rianna my fellow DHer for the summary you provided.
    Goal for today-Almost done with a draft of chapter 2, not ideal and I definitely have to become more focused and productive.
    Tomorrow, I will definitely complete my chapter 2 and 3, and bring DH to a successful close. Go me!!

    1. Go you, Dr. Esemoto-to-be
      Glad that the draft of chapter 1 is done. Now you have moved on to 2 and 3 tomorrow. You now are much closer to the PhD. Go go.

  54. Today I continued to work on section 2 of my literature review and while I made progress, I did not finish the section as I intended. I summarized 4 more papers under this section, but the process is taking longer than i had anticipated. This making me wonder (1.) Did I set unrealistic goals for the DH and (2.) How long is it going to take me to actually finish this Lit review??

    Today we also practiced speaking about our research in front of an audience (each other) in a “talk show” format for 3 minutes. This exercise was very helpful and made me realize that I need to practice talking about my research some more! I think we all learned ways from each other to improve this important skill.

    Tomorrow on the last day of DH I will (again) attempt to finish section 2 of my Lit Review.

  55. Hey! Today, I completed the following:
    1. Reran my EFA for the relationship quality variables (6 different ways).
    2. Kept reviewing my outcomes for any significant differences.
    3. Learned that multicollinearity can be an issue when conducting a factor analysis.
    4. Found out that my relationship variables are highly correlated.
    5. Realized that I need to reach out to an expert regarding my approach (I just sent the email).
    6. Realized that the outcomes of my factor analysis actually align with theory. For example, intimacy, love, passion, and commitment loaded onto the same factor. I wanted them to load onto different factors, but Sternberg’s triangular model of love explains that combinations of intimacy, passion, and commitment can explain different types of love. So, I had an “aha” moment and realized that maybe my factor analysis makes sense. I still have to ask an expert, though!

    Tomorrow, I plan to take a break from the factor analysis and work on editing my literature review.

  56. In Day 3 of the DH we practiced public speaking (elevator pitch) similar to being an expert invited to speak about our research on a morning TV show or afternoon show. Everyone should be able to talk about his or her research without jargon or filler words such as “ums” or “ahs” “like” “and so”. Taking a breath or silence is preferable to the repetition of these filler words. Moreover we should be so enthusiastic about our research that we should be able to speak the research for 3 minutes without being prompted by questions. Practice, practice, practice in front of different audiences and in different formats. Get use to being interrupted by questions and hearing your voice out loud. You are becoming an independent researcher and an expert with something to say.

  57. Good morning everyone! Rise and shine! Unfortunately, I have to talk work remotely today. I am at home, in my command central, and ready to work!

    I will start with finishing my draft.Then, aim to read up to 10 papers in the next 12 hours– I plan to work well beyond 5PM. However, I will go through the literature review exercise when my eyes get tired of 2-column papers.

    It sounds like a lot, but the 2.25 hours of driving from here to campus is not a factor for day. I am confident!

    I pray everyone has a productive day, and throughly enjoy meeting all the new people!

  58. Good morning! Ready for another major progress day today. My main focuses will be the Methods and the conceptual models for Chapters 3 and 4. If I have extra time, I will keep moving on the child transcriptions. Let Day 4 begin!

  59. GM. Yesterday I did good progress on my introduction.I need to have more results to finish it. I will work today on the reviews I got from my PI on my Leadership Statement and move on to start getting those figures ready. Good progress so far

  60. Good morning, day 4. Today I will write up the theoretical framework section of my study and draft my quant and qual methods section of my paper. It’s a lot but I am going to try!

    1. Feeling very accomplished this week. Today, I drafted the theoretical framework and the methods section of my paper. Still have a lot of work to do but I leave the DH knowing what I need to do to get everything done by my personal deadline. In total I finished my TOC, added citations to my literature review and background, researched and wrote up my theoretical framework, and drafted my methods this week. The only parts left to my first proposal draft is “addressing IRB” and “limitations & strengths”.

  61. Kimberly Reaves Avatar
    Kimberly Reaves

    Well… Dissertation House… It’s almost done and it was both rewarding and fun! All I can say is that I’ve earned the couple of hours of extra sleep that I am going to take when I get home.

    Back to the drawing board I come on Monday. Have to keep the momentum going.

    I may not have accomplished any of the things that I put on my “to do” list, however, I am happy to have some newly-found structure in my life. What I have accomplished this week is immeasurable thanks to the Proposal Cookbook.

    I pray that I can keep it going even after the crowd is all gone!

    Thanks Dr. Carter for ALL of your help. I know that this was one of your most EXHUASTING experiences. LOL!

    Thanks Dr. Tull, for the opportunity!

    Will be in touch with you both! Take care and Be Blessed!

  62. Hello all!
    This has been a great experience for me. Without DH, I would not have started writing my second article focusing on testing my instrument. I have been avoiding it for quite some time! Even my husband was impressed with my progress. I’ve learned to focus on finishing (rather than completing a perfect dissertation). I am much nicer to myself these days.

    Today, my plan was to focus on editing my literature review and I did just that. I took some pointers from Dr. Carter and printed out a section of my paper and began handwriting edits. It was a peaceful process. I plan to continue editing my paper and removing unnecessary details.

  63. Hello all,
    We made it to the last day! I did what I plan to do today and it feels good! Thank you Dr. Carter-Veale, Dr. Tull and promise team for this helpful workshop.

  64. As we end off the last day of the DH, it is definitely with mixed feelings that I write this blog post. I enjoyed being at the DH and meeting so many great people, but I am also sad to leave this little bubble of safety and go back to the “real world”. I definitely have a renewed sense of motivation and confidence, and I actually feel like there is a pathway to finishing that I can take.

    I completed approximately 50% of my goals, and while I wish I had done more I am proud of what I have accomplished. This experience has helped provide a springboard to continuing and finishing my dissertation.

  65. This week has been such a successful and productive week for me. Except for some of the child transcriptions (which I have scheduled time to finish this weekend), I accomplished all of my goals for this week. Returning to my chapters for the first time since my proposal was much less scary than I thought it would be (because of the environment created by this process), and I am thankful for that. I got just about all I could get done before my analyses are finished, and I have set myself up for success with getting them finished soon.

    This was my first Dissertation House, and it came at the perfect time in my process. I have a meeting scheduled on Monday with my advisor to go over exactly what I want my timeline to be and concrete steps for how I will accomplish my goals. Thank you so much for everyone involved in making Winter Dissertation House so useful and productive. I look forward to having writing “dates” with several of the participants in the near future!

  66. Greetings all! Just made it back! Although I didn’t get to all my goals, I addressed most of my adviser’s comments on the dissertation this week. Most importantly completed a dry-run leading to the defense. Thanks for all the feedback today and participating in my practice run!

  67. Good morning,

    Trying to keep the momentum going. Today, I am going to write the IRB review plan of my study and continue working on methods.

  68. Tiffany D. Caesar Avatar
    Tiffany D. Caesar

    Good afternoon,
    My name is Tiffany Caesar…I am PhD Candidate at Michigan State University in the African American and African Studies Program with a specialization in Urban Education and African Studies. I am finishing a great dissertation retreat in Michigan with Dr. Carter-Veale, and I want to continue the momentum, so I look forward to using this online support group as a mechanism to finish completely by December!

    My first hard deadline is July 12 to turn into my advisor a revised version of my dissertation…The goal is to also have a dissertation defense date by August 13, and to defend my dissertation by October 8…Nice to meet everyone!!!

    1. Do you know of any grants for African american studies or African American educational research?

  69. Tiffany D. Caesar Avatar
    Tiffany D. Caesar

    Yesterday…I did work on my methodology section…however today I will continue to work on my methods section and increase the pages by at least 3…

  70. Hello, everyone,
    I am an alumna of the University of Maryland, College Park’s Philip Merrill College of Journalism. I am currently a doctoral candidate at Liberty University, where I am in the educational leadership program. I have struggled for quite a while with my proposal, and I really need it to come together as a finished product before July ends, so I can move forward in the fall with IRB and research. I was looking for a classroom-style writing environment that will help me to focus and to finish writing my proposal or whatever it is that I am working on at the time of the seminar/workshop. I noticed the workshop scheduled for July in Baltimore said it is only for UMBC students. Is there a possibility than UMCP alumni can attend? 🙂 I will be in the area during that time. I am not from the DMV.
    If you know of any other dissertation retreats this summer, especially in the beginning of July or August, please let me know. I am close to Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Mississippi, but I reside in Florida, so that’s always a possibility too.
    Look forward to hearing from you.

    1. Welcome to the Summer 2018 Dissertation House. We would love to have you join us but there wasn’t any space available. Sorry I don’t know of anymore being planned for the summer. Please take advantage of the online blog to get something done.

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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.