Congratulations on getting to this page. Winter 2020 Challenge!

Welcome to Dissertation House at UMBC. If you are here you are in the right place. This is your page to make the most of your experience here. You can get your dissertation finished in 2020 with daily progress.

Welcome to the Dissertation House online, Winter 2020! This page will be active from January 2020 – July 2020. 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 July 2020. Our pre-registered participants are required to blog 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 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 are still here, and we will still be part of the community that will cheer you on! Post your goals for the next six months on this page. You are not alone, this is your online community. Focus on completion. As coach Dr. CV says “A good dissertation is a done dissertation.”

38 responses to “Winter 2020 Challenge”

  1. Welcome to Dissertation House! Here is to start knocking out that to-do list and get those new year’s resolutions in shape, a good dissertation is a done dissertation!

  2. Welcome to Dissertation House!! I’m happy to be here with you in person and happy to be supporting those of you joining virtually. This is a PRECIOUS time you have set aside for yourselves to make significant progress on your goals! Congratulations on making this good choice. Now it is imperative to honor this commitment you’ve made to yourself and the Dissertation House group: put aside distractions (mute those notifications on your phone), have what you need next to you (charger, snacks, water, tissues, whatever you need) so you can have a long productive block of time each session. YOU CAN DO THIS! I’ll be working along side you each day. Have a great session this morning everyone.

    1. Thanks R for you post.

  3. UMBC, Language, Literacy & Culture program.
    Goal: Continue working on discussion analysis for research q3.

    1. Goal for 1.22: Continue working on discussion analysis for research q3, specifically findings 3 and 4 sections.

      1. Hello CS
        You have been working on the Analysis section for 2 days, do you have some type of indicator to let you know that you are done? Is you analysis organized in the same way as your findings or is the reader left to figure it out? Hope you finish sections 3 and 4 on Thursday.

  4. Good morning! Checking in to Day 1 of the Winter DH. I look forward to a good and productive week. Today I will create the two versions of Paper 2, email the publication one to my co-authors, and start calculating Kappa for Paper 3.

  5. Jennifer
    Public policy program
    My first hurdle is my laptop isn’t working
    Ultimately I really need to finish up my proposal but reorganizing paper one and putting into words a plan for paper two and three

    If I get there, I want to put my data into stata and start to clean it up

  6. UMBC. Information Systems.
    Finishing coding some data and writing up the results section.

    1. For 1-22: Continue working on coding. Write up the results section to incorporate current coding outcomes.

      1. Managed to wrap up the coding. Started an outline for the results section. Was hoping to have written a lot more of the results section, which has morphed into tomorrow’s goal.
        For 1-23: Complete outline for results section incorporating current coding outcomes. Write up at least half of the newly coded sections.

        1. Hello VO glad to see that you stuck to the time line and finished coding on Wednesday. Go, go , go!!!!

  7. Blogging out for the day disappointed that I have little of substance to brag about but proud that I overcame some challenges. Tommorrow I have a meeting with my advisor after lunch. I’ll continue to work on getting my proposal into the right structure, would really like to have that drafted by tomorrow.

  8. Today I was able to do everything I set out to do, and I started combining all the dissertation components to create the TOC. I will finish adding Chapters 4 and 5 to the template tomorrow.
    I am waiting to hear back from my advisor regarding Paper 1. Once I do, I will embed the tables and figures throughout the document. Then I’ll start working on my presentation outline.

  9. UMBC.Information Systems Department.
    My goal at the beginning was far away from what I’m doing right now! I thought I will be able to cover many things ,but after meeting with Dr.Carter things have been changed! my goal for tomorrow is to finish the problem statement, research questions and edit what are related to all of them.

    1. Hello Iman, The problem statement is the foundation to everything else. Once that is done everything will pick up speed. I am looking forward to seeing those 3 articles tomorrow.

  10. UMBC Geography & Environmental Systems
    1. Draft two subsections of manuscript, including re-reading and synthesizing about 6 articles total
    2. Draft methods section of manuscript
    3. Begin outlining results section of manuscript

  11. Hello all,
    Today I revised the findings sections in ch5 and added 2 tables. For tomorrow, I am planning to add one more table and update my method chapter (ch4).

    1. Day 2 of DH:
      – I added the tables to the findings section
      – I am working on the discussion part for the findings (reading previous literature to connect it back to the findings)

      For tomorrow:
      – I will continue to work with the discussion part of the findings

      1. WR l am looking forward to reading the discussion…keep moving forward.

  12. Today I made an outline for the introduction chapter of my thesis.
    Tomorrow, I will continue writing this chapter and will use my available writings/publications as a ready material to speed up the process.

  13. Good morning!
    Day 2 of DH. Today I will embed the tables and figures throughout the document. Then finish the TOC, then start with my presentation outline.

    1. MC you have a lot of Zombie activities to get done while you wait to hear back from your coauthor. Keep moving forward.

  14. Very proud of you all for your progress on Day 1, don’t forget to let us know about your goals for today, Day 2 of DH. You can hold me accountable, too : While you are all working on your dissertations and proposals, I am working on a poster for a conference and my goal for the day is to complete the development and implementation section drafts. Keep up the good work, everyone!

    1. Best of luck on creating the poster. It doesn’t have to be perfect it just has to be done.

  15. Today was better!!! I met with my advisor and took myself from “I can’t do this” to being on a little bit of a roll. I really thinking tomorrow I can actually be done my proposal draft…so why not, that’s my goal. And then maybe I’ll put some pressure on the person I’m waiting for data from

    1. Congratulations…sounds like you had a productive meeting with your advisor! Good for you. You can do this!! Dr. Walsh to be.

  16. Day 2 of DH: my goals were to continue the discussion of findings for q3 &4. I have completed the majority of this discussion. Tomorrow, I plan to conclude this discussion and begin an outline for the implications of the findings.

    1. Day 3 of DH: I completed the majority of findings for q3 and realized that I needed to expand on the differences between my study’s findings and other studies. I was happy to realize this additional difference because I after my one-on-one with Dr. Carter I realized the importance of making sure that I elevated the differences of my study because this help to show what the contributions of this study. I also begin to look at the literature to help me outline my implications sections. For Day 4 of DH: I plan to create a more solid outline of the implications section and begin to work on it, in addition to flushing out the difference I found for q3.

  17. Good afternoon!
    Day 2 of DH is now over. As planned, I embedded figures in the documents, and spent a ridiculous amount of time formatting and combining documents and generating the TOC. Since I can’t move forward with the documents until I hear back from my advisor and committee member, I decided to start with preparing the defense presentation.
    I started am outline and rough draft.
    Tomorrow I will work on selecting results that I will highlight in the presentation, and formatting them appropriately for the presentation.

    1. Sounds like a good plan. Keep going.

  18. Day 2:
    highlight the main idea of the problem statement as well we useful references in order to start framing the research questions

    1. Day 3:
      Not bad, lots of work today but I feel happy as I started know what is the problem and how to connect my ideas together in order to frame the problem statement.

  19. Day 3 of the Dissertation House starts tomorrow.

  20. Not bad, not bad. I got a lot of work done. I would say I’m also done writing the proposal for paper 2 and even dabbled in paper 3. Disappointed by data source hasn’t sent anything to me yet but that’s ok, I’ve had plenty to work on

  21. Day 3. I produced a lot more writing today. I was able to focus for longer periods of time and was completely occupied by my work. I have yet to completely finish the section I was hoping to, but I am still constructing the theoretical framework for my intro section. I’ll keep working on it. Goals for Day 4:
    Finish the introduction section of manuscript
    Begin major revision of methods

  22. In retrospect: For 1-23: Completed outline for results section incorporating current coding outcomes. Wrote up less than half of the newly coded sections, unfortunately. Met with advisor and they had suggestions for and additional round of selective coding.
    For 1-24: Continue with additional round of selective coding.

  23. last day of dissertation house…let’s do this! just hours to go

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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.