Winter 2022 Challenge

Welcome to our Winter 2022 Writing Challenge! 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 2022 with daily progress.

First of all, Congratulations to all of our new PhDs! (Check 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 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 school at UMBC where Dissertation House has been institutionalized. We invite and encourage all doctoral students within the University System of Maryland to join us online!

Dr. Wendy Carter-Veale is your “Head Coach.”

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, federal agencies, and have had postdocs throughout the global academic community (e.g., France, South Africa, Egypt.) Learn about our Maryland AGEP PROMISE Academy Alliance (APAA) postdoctoral program.

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 four 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.”

203 Responses to Winter 2022 Challenge

  1. It’s almost a new year. This could be the year that you finish your dissertation or proposal for your dissertation. You get to make the decision on how hard you want to work. We will begin the Dissertation House as a virtual event. I look forward to meeting everyone here at the start of the new year. Still you do not have to wait until 2022 to start working diligently on your dissertation. Each day is another opportunity to make some progress no matter how small it is. You can work on 1 sentence, 1 figure, table, paragraph, page. Progress not perfection = a PhD.

  2. jeffgrim13 says:

    My goal is to complete a rough draft of my research question 1 for my dissertation by 9AM on Monday 1/10.

  3. Jeff what a way to start the new year. Your deadline is coming up, I hope that you are almost there and finished by the time we meet. Happy New year to you.

  4. Happy New Year to everyone who is either working on a dissertation proposal or actively writing the dissertation. It’s not too late to rewrite your New Year’s resolutions. Join us in the Dissertation House, which runs from December 18 to 22. We challenge you to see how much you can accomplish in a week, then multiply that effort by 52. You should make a list of Zombie Activities that you can work on when you don’t feel like writing. I’ll begin your list with some items.
    1. Create a figure, graph, table
    2. Describe the figure, graph, or table
    3. Download the dates for graduate
    4. Create an outline
    5. Start your References, fix your citations
    6. Focus on transition paragraphs
    7. Create a Table on Contents for your dissertation
    8.Make an assessment of how compete each chapter is.

    Examine each chapter and rate its completion on a scale of 0-90 percent. A value of zero indicates that there are no words, paragraphs, or text anywhere on the planet that could be cut and pasted into that chapter. It is worth noting that if you have a proposal, you will have some text that can be cut and pasted. Fifty percent means that your advisor/chair has seen it at least once and given you feedback. 90% indicates that your advisor has seen it at least twice and that you have made the necessary changes. It will never be completely finished until you have defended it and submitted it.
    Before moving on to the next task, get something to 85 percent completion. Join us here on Jan, 18, 2022.

  5. Rachel Virginia Amstutz says:

    Hello! I’m Rachel. I am Ed.D student at Northcentral University in the Education School with a focus in Education Leadership and a MPP student at UMBC for my (2nd ) Masters in Public Policy. During Dissertation House, I plan to work on my dissertation prospectus/propasal and to try to really solidy my GAP statement, RQs, and study idea. I’m hopeful that this dedicated, focused time will allow me to make some solid progress. I am excited to collaborate

  6. Emma Gilligan says:

    Hello, I’m Emma Gilligan. I am a first-year M.Sc. student with the Geography and Environmental Systems (GES) Department of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC). I am very grateful and excited for the opportunity to learn and work on my writing in the Dissertation House. Currently I am working on refining my research plan and proposal. During my work with the Dissertation House, I specifically aim to finish fleshing out my research questions, putting them in a hypothesis framework, and connecting them to my literature review. I also aim to complete about 30% of elaboration on my research design, including researching Q-method, determining whether or not to add it to my methodology (currently surveys and interviews), and fleshing out my description of my methodology. Looking forward to working and learning from everyone.

    • Welcome Emma

      We will begin sharply at 9AM. I hope that you continue to work right up to Tuesday because every new day provides another opportunity to move your document forward. Baby steps are still steps…

  7. Surely Akiri says:

    Hi I am Akiri Surely, a second year PHD student in the Information Systems program at the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC). I have been looking forward to this day since I got to understand what it was about. Painfully, we have to work from home. For the next four days, I will be working on writing the Discussion and Conclusion session of my paper on Exploring Reflection in Paramedic Trainees Using a Team Stress Reflection System. Today, I finished reporting on the results. For tomorrow, I will like to start to working on the outline for the discussion and in the following days flesh it out. Previously, I have been not being careful in relating the literature review in the discussion and grounding the results in the discussion. So, I hope to be cognizant of this during this writing period.

  8. Haya says:

    Hello, I am Haya AlGrain a great 7th year PhD candidate in the Biology department at UMBC. During the dissertation house, I plan to work on one of my dissertation chapters, specifically finalizing the introduction and discussion sections. I’m excited to learn many things from the dissertation house and I’m looking forward to meeting and working with other graduate students.

  9. Gretchen says:

    Good morning all,

    I’m a 4th year doctoral candidate in the Gerontology PhD program. The program is an interdisciplinary program between the University of Maryland, Baltimore and Baltimore County. I am conducting a mixed methods study to examine the gender and race disparities of unmet dementia related care needs among non-spousal informal caregivers of persons with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. I’m starting with a secondary data analysis and then will follow-up with one-on-one interviews. I am working on going through the codebook and finalizing my variables.

  10. Bipendra Basnyat says:

    I am final PhD student working on oral exam coming my end of February. I plan to organize my dissertation and make it committee ready at the end of this 4 day session.

    • Bipendra Basnyat says:

      Found that I am far behind than I thought I was. Ploughed through chapter 1. Tomorrow I plan to complete 2 and Chapter 3. It was first day I sat through and “Worked/Though ” full day of my dissertation.

      • Bipendra Welcome to the Dissertation House. It was great meeting with you today. I am hoping that you get Chapter 5 done and submitted for publication and then move on finishing up chapter 6. See you tomorrow in day 2 of the DH.

        • Bipendra Basnyat says:

          Today, I polished chapter 1 and brought Chapter 2, 3 to 80-85%. Adding some flow and connecting linkage so the document/chapter flows. Still planning to send first draft by end of these session. Might break into three deliverables Chapters – (1,2,3) this week and (4,5,6) subsequently and then 7,8, but all no later than Jan 31.

          • Bipendra Basnyat says:

            for 01/20:
            Complete Chapter 1, 2 and 3 and re-work template (headings/subheadings) for Chapter 4 so rest of the chapter can align to them.

  11. Michael Fleming says:

    Hi everyone! I am a fifth-year PhD candidate and I am just getting started on my dissertation. I have already developed an outline for the dissertation. Today, I plan to revise the outline and select a chapter to work on.

    • Dear Michael, You can start by cutting and pasting the literature review because the literature review in the dissertation and the proposal literature review should be the same. You can keep it up to date with new related studies that have come out since the proposal.

  12. Emma Gilligan says:

    Jan 18 Morning

    Today I aim to flesh out the focus of my research questions and put them into a hypothesis framework, discussing potential outcomes. My minimum goal for end of the day is to have finished this and to have begun adding references from my literature review into my discussion of each question and its potential outcomes. Should the process move along faster than expected, I will finish adding references from my literature review and begin researching the Q-method for possible incorporation into my research design.

    • Emma Gilligan says:

      Jan 18 Afternoon

      I completed a rough draft of my research questions. They have been fleshed out in a hypothesis framework, including predictions of potential results. I have added references from my literature review to each question. I will add one final reference tonight. Tomorrow, my goal is to proofread my research questions and submit them to my advisor for feedback. I will begin researching the Q-method no later than tomorrow afternoon.

      • Emma, welcome to Day 1 of the DH. You appear to have well-defined daily objectives. I hope to see you again on the second day of the DH..

      • Emma Gilligan says:

        Jan 19 Morning
        My goal of sending my research questions to my advisor for feedback has been moved to Friday Jan 21 based on the nature of communication I will have with them at that time. I added the reference I planned to add last night, proofread the questions, and produced a second draft. Today I aim to research Q-method and determine whether I wish to add it to my research design. Depending on that decision, I will or won’t include Q-method while working to flesh out my research design and methodology.

        • Emma Gilligan says:

          Jan 19 Afternoon

          I completed initial review of the Q-method and decided to include it in my methodology. I have begun planning how to incorporate it into my methodology and will finish doing so tomorrow as I complete background research on past applications of the Q-method. Then I will finish polishing my research questions and fill in the template for organizing literature review sources.

          • Emma Gilligan says:

            Jan 20 Morning

            Last night I finished polishing my research questions. This morning I will complete a spreadsheet of my literature review references as well as my second draft of my methodology including Q-method. In the afternoon I will do Citi training in preparation to apply for IRB approval.

            • Emma Gilligan says:

              Jan 20 Afternoon

              I completed my most recent draft of my methodology (including Q-method), which took longer than anticipated. I also recorded notes on Q-method as requested for further discussion with my advisor. Tomorrow I aim to complete the literature review spreadsheet I have started, and complete Citi training.

              • Emma Gilligan says:

                Jan 21 Morning

                I will complete the rest of the literature review spreadsheet, as well as Citi training for IRB approval.

                • Emma Gilligan says:

                  I have made progress with my literature review spreadsheet. I also drafted my interview and survey questions. I will complete my literature review spreadsheet and Citi training over the next 4 days.

  13. Karyn Tabor says:

    Hello! I am a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Geography and Environmental Systems at UMBC. My thesis research evaluates satellite-based monitoring and alert systems for informing land management decisions. Over these next four days, I will create an action plan to strategically tackle pieces of my thesis. Today I will set a schedule to graduate by Spring 2023 and share it with my family. I will download UMBC’s dissertation template. I will also find out if I can use my published chapter as a chapter or if I need to write a chapter with the same content, specifically for my dissertation.

  14. We appreciate your decision to join us at UMBC. Welcome to day 1 of the Winter Dissertation House.
    Thank you for joining us, here at UMBC. Forget about last summer, winter, semester, and day. Today is another day for you to work on your document. What will you do today to further your dissertation? When you sign up for this challenge, you are joining an accountability group, which is a group of people who are working on the same project and facing the same challenges. You are not on your own. We expect you to post first thing in the morning and again at the end of the day to let us know where you’ll be going next. Progress, rather than perfection, will lead to a PhD. Good Luck.

  15. Janerra says:

    Hello everyone! I am a 3rd year PhD student in the Electrical Engineering program. This week I will be working on my first-authored draft and outlining my written proposal.

    • Janerra says:

      Conclusion of Day 1, Monday, January 18th: 1) Reviewed current work and work in progress and started organizing abstract for written proposal (pre-lim requirement). 2) Found published theses and dissertations written under my advisor. 3) Edited some MATLAB code because initial figure was incorrect.

      Goal for Day 2, Tuesday, January 19th: 1) Edit introduction and methods sections for journal paper. 2) Write descriptions for some figures. 3) Add more tables and figures if time permits.

      • Janerra straight and to the point. Love it. Keep it up. Welcome to the DH.

        • Janerra says:

          Thank you Dr. Carter-Veale! We had a great discussion this afternoon and I appreciate you pointing out some of the gaps in my research question. I will implement the tips you mentioned.

      • Janerra says:

        Conclusion of Day 2, Wednesday, January 19th: 1) After editing my code on Tuesday, January 18th, I changed some of the data parameters and ran some analysis. I took notes on the changes and explained why those changes were necessary. This data analysis is important for my journal paper. 2) I started an excel sheet outlining the literature review(s) and started thinking of my thesis question. 3) I met with Dr. Carter-Veale this afternoon and she helped me think brainstorm some questions I should posing in my research.

        Goal for Day 3, Thursday, January 20th: 1) Continue working on data analysis. 2) Organize articles that I’ve read into literature review excel sheet. 3) Try to answer the following questions: What is the motivation for my thesis and what connects these ideas together (as Dr. Carter-Veale mentioned). 4) Find journals to submit to and come up with a deadline.

  16. Caylie says:

    Hi! I’m a 5th year in the UMBC LLC Phd Program. I’m working on my dissertation proposal this week.

    • Caylie says:

      Blog out: Today felt a bit scattered but I started to get organized and examined feedback from my advisors from my latest outline.

      • Caylie, I’m glad you were able to calm down and organize yourself. It should get better from here on out as you add more organization. Welcome to the DH and thank you for coming and showing up. See you again in the morning.

  17. Rachel Virginia Amstutz says:

    My goal for Monday was to complete a signature assignment for my last week of my recent course, to create my new process for capturing my lit review and citations, to review my resources from my Dissertation Intensive in the fall, and to prepare myself to find the GAP for my topic!I am working to draft a prospectus this week.

  18. MS says:

    Hello everyone! I’m a 1st year Ph.D. student in the Electrical Engineering program. This week, I hope to learn and practice writing,

  19. MS says:

    I’ve talked with Dr. CV today and began to revise my work. Tomorrow, I’ll try to finish the first revision.

  20. Dayuan Tan says:

    Hi I am a Computer Science PhD candidacy. I hope to finish my dissertation by this year-end. My goal for this week is to finish a research survey paper draft, which will also be one part of my dissertation. Today I finished the structure of the survey paper and finished summarizing 3 related papers. Tomorrow my goal is to summarize 7~10 papers.

  21. Rachel Amstutz says:

    I made great progress today and am feeling much more set up to dig it. I completed my Signature Assignment. I created my new form to log my lit review articles, I reviewed all my Dissertation Intensive notes and pulled all resources, I returned to the literature and looked for resources–finding great leads. In my 1:1 with Dr. CV I was able to find more resoruces to support the data/evidence about princpal turnover and how to nurture/develop/retain effective principals.

    For Tuesday my goals are:

    – Reread a helpful dissertatoin completed at my university.
    – Look for GAP in education, mentoring, exec coaching, etc
    – Search for research articles from Mastermind by Daniel Bauer
    – Review EdWeek issue on Principal PD
    – Research the 42% of principals look to leave posiiton and back with research

  22. NP says:

    Hello everyone,
    I am PhD student from Mechanical Engineering department. During this workshop I am planning to write journal article draft and organize my dissertation.

  23. Michael Fleming says:

    Hi everybody! Today was a productive day full of writing! I was able to start writing my dissertation document by completing some of the ’15 minute’ tasks. I was also able to move forward with my review manuscript.

    Tomorrow, I plan to start one of the ‘meat’ chapters of my dissertation and I also plan to complete at least two sections of the review manuscript.

  24. Karyn Tabor says:

    Afternoon update. I managed to set a graduation date and timeline to complete my dissertation. I created a zombie task list on my Trello board so I can have 15-minute tasks to tackle when I don’t have the capacity to do deep work today. I downloaded the dissertation template and started copying and pasting the sections of my dissertation that I had already written. I struggled to find the correct versions of my files. Tomorrow I plan on cleaning up my folders and identifying the most recent documents. I will continue to work on filling in the sections of my dissertation.

  25. Surely Akiri says:

    Afternoon Update:
    Today was productive. I was able to start an outline for my discussion and read five papers pertaining that also used the same framework I am using. I plan to still work this evening, considering I had a late start to the program today. I would like to complete the outline for my discussion. Tomorrow, I hope to write three paragraphs. For a zombie activity tomorrow, I would begin working on my reference list.

  26. Welcome to the second day of the Dissertation House. Remember that you are the project manager for your life as well as your dissertation. It is critical to organize your thoughts as well as manage your time. You are not alone in your pursuit of a PhD.

  27. Gretchen says:

    Good morning,

    Today I will continue to finalize my variables and work on a document with the variable name and how the variable is named in the SAS dataset.

    • Gretchen says:

      Afternoon update – I was able to make some progress on finalizing my variables. I also started working on timetable to complete my dissertation based on when I plan to graduate. I was not as productive as I had hoped, but moving forward little by little.

      • Gretchen, Steps, no matter how small, are still steps. Continue your excellent work. Now that you’ve identified your variables, the next step is to create Table 1, which is a frequency distribution (crosstab) of the independent variables versus the dependent variables .Welcome to Day 3 of the DH.

  28. Karyn Tabor says:

    Good morning! today I want to tackle some writing since yesterday I did mostly zombie tasks.

    • Karyn Tabor says:

      Afternoon update: I organized my files and found the most up-to-date outlines and draft chapters. After inserting my existing text into the dissertation template, I already have 94 pages (including references), so that is encouraging! I also spent the afternoon writing my introduction. I now have 8 pages, although much of that was copy and pasted text. It feels good to see all the pieces come together in that dissertation document. Tomorrow I will keep working on my introduction to add the theoretical background of my approach and explain how my chapters are connected.

      • Karyn, you are correct. The mere sight of it coming together allows us to envision the possible end result. Maintain your excellent work. Welcome to the third day of the DH. Keep moving it forward.

  29. Surely Akiri says:

    Good morning! Yesterday evening I finished my discussion outline and started the first paragraph. Today, I would like to start fleshing it out.

  30. Rachel Amstutz says:

    Good Morning and Happy Tuesday!

    I’m excited to start my list today. I have many, many smaller things to do today to try to find my GAP. I’m excited to dig into the links I found yesterday, with Dr. CV’s help!

    My list includes:
    – FOCUS on GAP Finding
    – Reread a helpful dissertation and mine its references
    – Mine references from Mastermind (book on my topic)
    – Read the Ed Week issue on my topic and mine for leads
    – Explore data on principal retention/pipeline/turnover
    – Log the articles I find in my new form
    – Start annotated bibliography
    – Contact my university to get access to my prospectus course and resources.

    Here’s to another focused day!

  31. Michael Fleming says:

    Hi everybody! This morning, I plan to incorporate the literature review into the dissertation. I also plan to work on the Materials and Methods sections of my three chapters. With regards to the review manuscript, I plan to finish revising two sections of the manuscript.

  32. Caylie says:

    Today I’m working on my topic methodology and following the suggestions as set out in my 1:1 with Dr. CV.

    • Caylie says:

      Blog out: I have been using the library and google scholar to identify additional research that aligns with my research question. I have several more articles that I want to examine. I will focus on that tomorrow.

      I want to start to compile my methodology tomorrow as well.

      • Caylie, I believe you are on the right track and that you have narrowed your topic sufficiently to move forward based on the theoretical framework you chose.
        Continue forward. Welcome to the third day of the DH. Small victories should be celebrated.

  33. NP says:

    Today I am working on one of the section for my journal article. I created the figures for the section this morning and working on the drafting the section.

  34. Surely Akiri says:

    Today I worked on another paragraph of my discussion and went back to note some changes I intend to make in the introduction. Tomorrow, I intend to write the last two paragraphs. Also, I noted that I might need to add some examples to my related works given the direction my discussion is going.

  35. NP says:

    Today I finished one of the section of the journal paper draft. I created 4 figures for the results section and draft a paragraph for the results section.

  36. Rachel Amstutz says:

    It was a productive day, even though I was tired! I was able to push through and get a lot done. I read, I talked to my university and removed a hurdle, I found several statements in research that are forming my GAP, I read several articles and logged them, and I found some INCREDIBLE leads to get even better articles.

    For tomorrow, I plan to work in my prospectus to craft my problem statement, purpose statement and to continue to clarify the GAP and my study. I will also read more of the articles I found and craft statements showing the need.

    • Rachel, bravo for persevering despite your exhaustion. To help you move further, I refer you to the “Proposal Cookbook” in the DH resources section of the google drive.

      • Rachel Amstutz says:

        Thank you! I’ll grab it now.

        I am ready to dig into my tasks for today. My goal for today is to get closer to my GAP statement and to craft it’s supporting problem and purpose statements. I’m excited to work in the Prospectus document and to move this task forward!

        For this afternoon, I have an appointment and need to leave home by 4pm. I’ll blog out and catch up with you tomorrow!

  37. Michael Fleming says:

    Hi everybody! Today, I was able to write an Abstract and Materials and Methods section for one of my chapters of the dissertation. I was also able to write the Motivation, Research Backgroud, and Literature Review sections for Chapter 1 of the dissertation. Because I was so prolific with the dissertation, I decided to continue working on it and not work on the review manuscript. Tomorrow, I plan to focus on both the review manuscript and the dissertation. Namely, I plan to revise the two sections of the review manuscript that I did not revise today and I plan to write an Introduction to Chapter 2.

  38. MS says:

    I finished part of the revision today, I may leave some until tomorrow ( had a medical appointment due to the skin allergy ). Tomorrow, I’ll re-read some of the papers I like, and get prepared for the second revision.

  39. Welcome to Day 3 of the DH
    Congratulations on surviving the last two days. Thank you for your dedication to the completion of your doctorate. It does not have to be perfect; it simply has to be completed. Perfection is the enemy of adequate. We’ll start the morning by finishing up on “Preparing for your Defense” and then move on to hearing more about your research in the afternoon.

  40. Karyn Tabor says:

    Good morning everyone! Today is a snow day for the kids, so this should be interesting! I’m going to continue working on my introduction today and also download a read the first chapters of a few more dissertations from graduates in my department to see how they organize their chapters.

    • Karyn Tabor says:

      Afternoon check-in: I downloaded and read the introductions of three dissertations published by fellow GES students. I now know what sections I need to include and I wrote some text connecting my chapters. I lost motivation at 3 and ended up writing the dedication and preface sections of my dissertation. Tomorrow I plan on writing the new sections I identified for my introduction.

  41. Gretchen says:

    Good morning, I will continue to finalize my variables.

  42. NP says:

    Good Morning, Today I will be working on data postprocessing for the results section of my journal article.

  43. Caylie says:

    Good morning! I plan to work through some of my new sources and identify specific methodologies today.

    • Caylie says:

      I found some more sources and need to really read through them and continue to specify topic.

      • Occasionally, the more we read, the more insecure we become about ourselves and our research project. Caylie, I am writing to persuade you to continue on your current path., I hope and pray that you are not revising your theoretical framework but rather focusing on how other authors have defined, quantified, measured, and evaluated the three components of the theoretical framework. You’re on the proper track and learning the appropriate material. I’m looking forward to learning more about your research topic when you join the “Good Morning DH” show in the morning.

  44. Michael Fleming says:

    Hi everybody! Today, I plan to write an introduction to Chapter 2 of the dissertation and I plan to work on revising at least two sections of my review manuscript.

  45. Surely Akiri says:

    Good morning! I will continue on the discussion today but I certainly hope to be done by 2pm. I would love to revise other sections of my paper tomorrow especially my R.W

  46. William says:

    Hello DH,

    I am a Ph.D Candidate (part-time) in EECS (Electrical Engineering). This week I continue working on generating results for my second Research Question (after having spent a few weeks debugging. …progress finally.) Today, I am revising slides which contain some preliminary results and a continued experiment plan outline, for a meeting with my advisor this Friday. The goal is to solidify the experiment plan and run the experiments in preparation for another paper, all of which, of course, is in support of my Dissertation.

  47. Rachel Amstutz says:

    I had a successful day! I found many more articles, logged them, and started reading. I’m getting a lot of great support for my topic and narrowing in on a gap. I appreciate the feedback on the elevator speech and glad that people broadly understand my topic/its need. I accompliched many of my goals including beginning to write my Introduction for my prospectus. Tomorrow I plan to work on the problem and purpose statements and to keep seeing the direct quote showing a gap as required by my university.

    • Have you had the opportunity, Rachel, to peruse the Proposal Cookbook? It is composed of many of the same elements as a prospectus. I propose that you read the section on the Problem Statement.

  48. Mingyu says:

    Hello everyone! I’m not very productive today, the shingles outbreak has made me slow. And I need to reply to a long email. I finished the revision, but haven’t done enough reading.

  49. Today, on Day 3 of the DH, we performed our “elevator pitch,” during which we learned a great deal about several of the participants’ research ideas. You are all pursuing exciting research endeavors. I’m looking forward to hearing more in the morning from the remaining DH participants. Tomorrow is the final day of the 2022 winter DH. I hope you will utilize this page to hold yourself accountable until you have completed your degree, proposal, or dissertation. A good dissertation is a done dissertation. We now proceed to Day 4.

  50. Surely Akiri says:

    So I’ve held out writing my evening blog, until I felt comfortable enough with the progress I made today. While, it is not all I intended to do, I was able to write without backspacing too much(!) and I got my discussion first write done did not make it to the design recommendations. It’s far from perfect but I am happy with today’s work.

  51. Dayuan Tan says:

    On the 2nd day (Wednesday) I read 4 more papers and summarized them. Added them into my survey draft.

    On the 3rd day (Thursday) I had a productive meeting with Dr. CV and got many helpful advices.
    I found a target journal for my survery paper which is Transportation Research Part C: Emerging Technologies (
    It has no page limit.
    I also read three more papers and added into my draft. I also made a plan to add the way I collected and narrowed papers, clearer problem definition, my target audience and future work discussion with the help of Dr. CV.
    I prepared for the 3 minutes pitch for 4th day (Friday).

  52. Karyn Tabor says:

    Good morning everyone! Today I plan on writing two sections of my introduction. This week boosted my confidence in my research because I made significant progress and I realized that I already have a lot of content. Reviewing the dissertation process was super helpful for me. I always fear what I don’t know and having a blueprint for the process from research to graduation gave me the confidence I needed to know I can get there.

    • Karyn Tabor says:

      I added those two sections to my introduction. The text still needs to be reorganized, but it’s reassuring that I have text there to work with when I come back to it. I will commit to working at least 15 minutes a day on writing so I don’t push this dissertation template to the side and forget about it for weeks while I work on my analysis.

  53. VM says:

    Today, I plan to work on the literature review spreadsheet and organize the literature accordingly.

  54. Rachel Amstutz says:

    Good Morning! How is it Friday already?! Today my goal is to draft my problem and purpose statements and to continue to seek my gap. It’s getting closer and closer!

  55. Caylie says:

    My goal for this week went sideways and I’m fighting feeling discouraged and frustrated. I want to spend today revisiting my motivations and looking through my past work to reignite my ideas.

  56. Michael Fleming says:

    Hi everybody! Today, I decided that I need to start with the review manuscript first this morning to ensure that I make progress on this document. Depending on my momentum, I plan to continue working on the review manuscript if my motivation is there. If not, I will transition to the dissertation document.

  57. Surely Akiri says:

    Good morning! Today, I am continuing with my write up for my design recommendations. I got some feedback from my advisor concerning my results section, I am also going to work on that later in the evening.

  58. NP says:

    Good Afternoon,
    It was nice productive 4 days for me to draft the journal paper. I will continue to work on it during the weekend to polish it. Good thing is that I have scheduled a meeting with my advisor to do revision together on Monday and another meeting on Wednesday with my advisor and co-advisor to get their mutual feedback. I am planning to submit it to journal publisher by the end of January 2022.
    Thank you Dr. CV.

  59. Rachel Amstutz says:

    Where did the week go?! I can’t believe Friday is here already and DH is over. It was fabulous. I am in great shape to meet with my newly assigned chair next week and to get this done! I feel great about the new research I found and the narrowing in on the gap. In counting my days/weeks,I expect to be done 2/15/2023…. as long as I don’t hit hurdles. I’d like to see this goal happen. I’ve marked it on the calendar, I’ve experineced the benefits of this focused work and I plan to keep up the habit. My goal is 5 of 7 days for extended work time (a few hours minimum) while I am on sabbatical (through July)… this lets me have a little wiggle room depending on my schedule. I was also able to start a great notebook of 15 minute tasks so I can always knock something out. I’ve been working in my downstairs workspace, behind the kitchen… I can do some of those 15 minute things when I cook and wait. Thank you for this dedicated time!! I apprecaite the support, the collaboration, and the focused coaching.

    • Karyn Tabor says:

      Sounds like a great plan! My date is February 1st, 2023. Although I still have to figure out my timeline to get to that final date.

  60. Karyn Tabor says:

    I need to finish adding my survey questions to the online survey software and adjust the text to match the type of response (drop-down, select, rank). THen I need to get the questions to the translators by Monday because I need the survey translated into 4 more languages.

    • Karyn Tabor says:

      I added my survey questions to qualtrix and edited and added questions. Tomorrow I read through the survey again to make sure the questions are clear and I am capturing the data I need with the response. I also need to do a final check to ensure the text for translation is the exact same text that I entered into qualtrix.

  61. JGrim13 says:

    Ok – i finished a rough draft of the first findings chapter. Now I’m working on my second (of three) results chapters today. I want to have a rough draft by Wednesday (1/26) morning

  62. Karyn Tabor says:

    Monday morning check-in! I finalized my survey yesterday and sent it to two translators. Today I need to send to the other two. I’m going to borrow Michael’s strategy and work on my dissertation text for 15 minutes first thing before I switch gears to scripting GEE. Today I have to upload the environmental variable datasets I need into my GEE assets.

    • Karyn Tabor says:

      I had a few meetings today which were really key to informing my research design, but I didn’t accomplish much else. I did download and install ArcPro on my computer and gained access to the data files I need for GEE. tomorrow I will organize the spatial data, and send my survey to the other translators.

  63. Karyn Tabor says:

    I was about to wrap up for the day but remembered the promise to myself to do at least 15 minutes of writing every day. I tackled a zombie task and somehow managed to spend 30 minutes working on the CV part of my dissertation. signing off now

    • Congratulations Karyn on doing something to move your dissertation forward and continuing to use the blog. What’s on tap for today?

      • Karyn Tabor says:

        Today I need to read a few papers and organize some new spatial datasets. I will need to prepare a document for collaborators that describes my methods approach and ask for their feedback.

        • Karyn Tabor says:

          I read the papers I needed to read, but I didn’t get much else accomplished because my second grader was home sick today. I did manage to finish my CV in the dissertation template.. yet another zombie task accomplished. But tomorrow I really have to do some data analysis to prepare for my meeting with my fellowship mentor on monday.

  64. This Dissertation House is over but your dissertation is not? Today is another opportunity to move it forward. What are your goals for today?

  65. Today is the 97th birthday of my grandmother. If she can rise to face another day, you can as well. What are your plans for today to advance your dissertation? I spent yesterday writing code to create variables in SPSS. I’m attempting to identify common variables across three datasets. Today, we have two completed and one more to go.

  66. Karyn Tabor says:

    I don’t know what happened today, but I was unfocused and all over the place with emails and administrative tasks. tomorrow I want to be more focused and work on my data analysis. I have to. I’m running out of time because I need to present the results on monday.

    • Good Morning, Karyn.
      Put yesterday behind you; today is the day to be focused. You can always hit the reset button.

      • Karyn Tabor says:

        Of course, my daughter is home with the stomach flu today! Tomorrow may be the day to hit that reset button 😉

        • Karyn, what are your plans for today? How is your daughter’s recovery coming along? What are your plans for the time she is sleeping?

          • Karyn Tabor says:

            She is still home sick today. I postponed the meeting with my mentor because I don’t have any results to show him. I can work when she is watching the TV or on the iPad, but it’s very hard to deep work. Today I am going to get my data organized and only work in programs I’m already familiar with. This is not a day to tackle something new.

            • Karyn Tabor says:

              end of the day: I pulled my datasets together. Tomorrow I’m going to review my analysis list and tackle the easy ones first.

  67. Good Morning Everyone
    Today is a new day to advance your dissertation. You do not have to wait for a sensation to progress. You do not have to be passionate, excited, or “feel like it” in order to achieve progress. It only takes 15 minutes. Even if you don’t feel like it, do something today to advance your dissertation. Every day, rinse and repeat. If you have daily schedule you already know what you are supposed to be doing today on your dissertation. If you keep a daily schedule, you’ll know what you’re supposed to be doing on your dissertation today. If you don’t feel like working on your dissertation today, consider crossing something off your “I don’t feel like working on my dissertation list,” also known as your Zombie list.

  68. Michael Fleming says:

    Hey everybody! Today, I plan to spend at least 30 minutes incorporating what I have been doing in lab this week into the dissertation document.

  69. You were in the DH with me last Friday. What makes today different from last week? Have you gotten up early? Have you established daily objectives? Are you seated in front of your computer? Instead of beating yourself up over what you did or did not accomplish last week, today is a new day to advance our dissertation by one page. I can be one reference, one in-text citation, one figure, table, paragraph, or sentence, or an entire page. What is your justification for not moving your dissertation or proposal forward by one step? No excuses today.

  70. Karyn Tabor says:

    It’s a beautiful, snowy morning. Today I am going to export the time series of annual fires and dry season precipitation data for in 33 admin units

    • Karyn says:

      Success! I managed to export the monthly mean precip for all 33 admin units and I created a figure showing spatial patterns in dry season precipitation. I’ll work on the fire data tomorrow. I managed to get through a major roadblock by fixing my table export code.

  71. Michael Fleming says:

    Hey everybody! Today, I will work on my review manuscript for at least 30 minutes. I have about 6 sections that I need to work on. Hopefully, by the end of the day, I will have finished 2 of the sections.

  72. Good morning, everyone. Today is another day to get it almost right. PhD = progress, not perfection.

  73. Karyn says:

    I made a lot of progress while “on vacation” for two weeks. Now I have to return to my other job for the next three days. My goal is to look at my research for 15 minutes every day, so Friday I can pick up right where I left off today.

    • Good Morning Karyn
      It’s encouraging to see that you’ve devised a strategy for your research. I hope you’ve maintained the habit of leaving a note indicating where you left off. Continue forward at 15-minute intervals.

  74. Good morning, dissertation and proposal writers. The first day of February has arrived. This could be your final February spent working on your dissertation or proposal. Set small daily goals and stay committed to the process of working on your dissertation. It is not a question of whether you will work on your document today, but of what part of your document you will work on today. Onward!!!!

  75. Good Morning all it’s 724 am do you know where your dissertation is ? Do you have an idea of where it’s headed today? Show your dissertation some attention today. Michael, we’re looking for a word from you.

  76. Good Morning All
    Another day, another chance to get it nearly right. Continue forward. My objective for today is to complete the slides for a conference presentation. What are you up to today? What will be your yardstick of success, i.e. which task, if completed, will make you feel as if you accomplished something today?

  77. Michael Fleming says:

    Hey everybody! Unfortunately, it’s been a while. Today, I plan to get back on track and do some writing on my review manuscript. Today will not be a 15-minute writing session. I plan to work continuously on the document today and tomorrow until complete. I’ll leave a note this evening updating you all on my progress.

  78. Michael Fleming says:

    Hey everybody! Today was a very productive day. I am slightly more than halfway finished with the review manuscript section that I am working on. I plan to finish the manuscript tomorrow.

  79. Good Morning All, what’s on tap for today?
    Karyn Friday has arrived. I hope that your 15 minutes a day have prepared you for today’s date with your dissertation. Michael is making headway.
    I completed the slides for my conference talk yesterday. Today’s goal is to complete a 3000 word Practice Brief, or six pages.

  80. Michael Fleming says:

    Hey everybody,
    Yesterday was not as productive on the writing front as I was hoping it would be. I got a lot of things done but was not able to touch my review manuscript document. Today, I plan to finish the manuscript document. I have three sections of the manuscript remaining.

  81. Michael Fleming says:

    Hey everybody,
    Although I had wanted to finish the manuscript today, I was able to complete two sections of it with one section remaining. I plan to resume tomorrow morning and hopefully, I will finish the manuscript. Upon completion of the manuscript, I plan to get reacquainted with the dissertation document and spend at least 15 minutes contributing to it.

  82. Michael Fleming says:

    Hey everybody,
    This morning, I was able to jump right into the review manuscript and I am happy to say that I have finished it! I plan to take a look at the dissertation document and try to provide an abstract for it.

    • Michael Fleming says:

      Hey everybody,
      it just dawned on me that the abstract for the first ‘meat’ chapter of my dissertation is quite similar to the abstract that I plan to submit to the American Chemical Society for a presentation. I wrote the abstract and submitted it to my advisor. I didn’t incorporate it into the dissertation yet as I am still waiting for revisions. Tomorrow, I plan to work on the abstract for the second ‘meat’ chapter.

  83. Good Morning All
    Monday is another opportunity to hit reset and or to keep moving forward. Congrats to Michael and Karyn who continue to show us how its done!!!. Well I wrote 3 out of my 6 pages this weekend and I will continue with that project today. Ready, set, go….

  84. Karyn says:

    I’m having a rocky start to this week because of schedule changes and multiple dr appointments. I rearranged and organized my home office to help clear my mind and stay organized.
    I’m going down the code rabbit hole of exploring new ways to do things, but I need to cut myself off get a good enough figure together to explain my initial results.
    I also have multiple journals started, and I need to keep track of one journal to capture all my notes. Today I will finish that presentation with initial results to review with my mentor on Thursday.

  85. Good Morning All

    When you’re writing your dissertation on a daily basis, the question isn’t whether you’re going to work on it, but which portion. Create a chapter outline. After that, a summary can be broken into  independent pieces, one or two  for each day of the week.

    While it appears to be Monday today, it is actually a day of repetition. Karyn I’m hoping you brought something to occupy yourself while waiting in the doctor’s office. Consider printing a paper copy of anything you’re working on and editing it in the meantime. Typically, there is a great deal of waiting in a doctor’s office. While I added seven pages yesterday, I believe I need to revisit my strategy in light of the difficulties I discovered in the literature. As a result, I’ll have to repeat the process to finish my 3000 words. Have a productive day. Michael, what’s up, it’s 7am do you know where your dissertation is?

  86. Karyn Tabor says:

    I create the powerpoint outline for my end-of-semester talk, and I’m using this to present my results to my mentor on Thursday. While I’ll pulling in data sets, I’m inserting them into a table in my third chapter with the data citations. This will save time from searching for data citations when I write that chapter. Tomorrow I’ll complete the data table and download the rest of the datasets I need for my analysis.

  87. Karyn says:

    I’m multi-tasking today. I’m documenting the datasets, while i’m trying to track more down from people. I also want to finish one more figure before tomorrow’s meeting.

  88. Good morning, everyone. It’s 10 minutes before noon, so it still counts. Karyn, I’m glad to see you’re making progress. Today I’m working on my conference presentation slides. I have completed all of my edits, but I am now moving on to the comments that I received from others. You will always receive changes, so don’t be afraid to receive feedback. Holding on to the document does not get you any closer to a PhD.

  89. Good Morning its Friday another day another opportunity to work on the dissertation or the proposal. Treat writing your dissertation like a job not a hobby.

  90. Karyn Tabor says:

    To I have a lot of tedious copying and pasting of translated text into my online survey. I also need to compile a list of emails and listservs there I plan on sending the survey on Monday.

    • Good Morning all. Another day dedicated to writing or Zombie-related activities. My conference slides are complete. Today, I aim to edit a manuscript and conduct a transcription analysis. If I can accomplish that, I will feel accomplished. Prior to beginning, establish your success criterion. What do you need to achieve today to feel accomplished? Maintain a list of things you do not wish to accomplish. Reduce them to bite-size chunks and do one of those tasks to cross it off your list. Karyn keep it moving forward even if it’s tedious not all research is fun or exciting. Michael how are those introductions coming?

      • Karyn Tabor says:

        I’m almost finished with the copy and paste. I finished Spanish yesterday, and french and Portuguese this morning. I just need to paste my Indonesian text today and review all language versions of the survey to make sure there are no errors.

      • Michael Fleming says:

        Hey everybody! I just realized that I had saved a version of my dissertation document on a flash drive that included introductory material that I didn’t save on my laptop. In other words, I have two dissertation documents that need to be integrated. I plan to work on integrating the two documents for the next hour.

  91. Karyn Tabor says:

    Ok.. I haven’t been good about posting, but I’ve been making progress. I published my online survey yesterday. Today is all about emailing it out to people.

  92. Michael Fleming says:

    Hey everybody! Today, I was able to integrate the two dissertation versions into one document, Tomorrow, I plan to work on the abstract for Chapter 3.

  93. All of you have a good morning and a happy Wednesday. It’s encouraging to see Karyn and Michael both combining multiple versions of their dissertations into a single document. It is critical to save files with dates or versions in order to determine which is the most recent version. I saw a pupil with a finished version of 167. Where are those introductions, Michael? William, were you going to add some library video links here, or did I agree to that? Emma You were also planning to include a link to the group here.

    Have a fruitful week. I’m on my way to Raleigh for my conference until Sunday. I intend to post while I’m there, but as is often the case with good intentions, I predict that someone else will pick up the slack. Karyn, you’ve been a consistent contributor to the post, and given your present focus on completing your dissertation, I expect you’ll continue to be.

    • Michael Fleming says:

      My integrated version of the dissertation has the introductions for each chapter. I might need some suggestions for more zombie activities.

      • Hello Michael I can get you started
        1. Acknowledgement page
        2. References
        3. In text citations
        4. List of Figures
        5. List of Tables
        6.CV for dissertation
        7. For each figure or table write 1 paragraph to describe it
        8. Create an outline for each chapter
        9. Create a writing schedule
        10. download the deadlines for graduation

  94. Emma Gilligan says:

    Hi all! Thought I’d share this opportunity for anyone interested. Contact info at bottom.

    The Minority Serving Institutions Partnership Program (MSIPP) promotes the education and development of the next generation workforce in critical STEM-related disciplines that complement current and future missions of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management (DOE-EM). MSIPP interns will be given the opportunity to complete summer internships aligned with ongoing DOE-EM research under the direction of a host national laboratory.
    Contact: or

  95. Well I am back and I hope you all are making progress.

  96. It can be beneficial to periodically ask oneself questions. Are you unknowingly hindering your own success?

    Why? Do you sincerely want to graduate? A PhD does not suggest that you have all of the solutions; rather, it signifies that you have addressed some of the issues on a given topic.
    The dissertation is not the conclusion of your academic career or learning experience. It marks the beginning of your academic or research career.

    When beginning something new, it may be difficult to leave the familiar behind. You may have just mastered the art of being a graduate student, and now it’s time to strike out on your own as an independent researcher. If you’re in that frame of mind, it could be a good idea to reread your statement of purpose for graduate school.

    Remember that no one came to graduate school to get a job, whether it was a Research Assistantship, a Graduate Assistantship, a Teaching Assistantship, or anything else. You came to graduate to get a diploma, not to wallow in despair. If you’re wallowing in self-pity, you’ve got way too much time on your hands. You are not putting in sufficient effort. Rework your timetable so that you know what you should be doing every hour or half hour.

    The graduate school did not make a mistake, and neither should you; it is not time to give up, but rather to dig in and finish what you started. Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it. A good dissertation is a done dissertation. With your dissertation, you are constructing an operable Ford rather than a BMW. Leave the BMW until you’re finished and can afford an editor.

  97. Michael Fleming says:

    Hi everybody! Tonight, I was able to fine-tune my abstract for Chapter 2 of the dissertation. I also bought a new laptop as my old laptop was having serious issues.

    • Michael, Congrats on getting a new reliable computer. Good luck on transferring all of your files. I assume that you are doing the 3 paper version and an abstract for chapter 2 is for paper 2 of the dissertation. How are those introductions coming?

  98. Good Morning All, How’s the coffee brewing? Karyn how is that dissertation coming along? Any responses to your survey?
    It’s nearly Friday. When you’re working on a dissertation, the days may begin to blur together. Bear in mind that if you have a schedule, you will know what to do when and will have a way of determining if you are on schedule or not. Otherwise, each day will be identical, yet each day will be unpredictable. I am in the midst of data crunching with an end schedule for Friday; I might be able to complete it today if there are no interruptions.

  99. Karyn Tabor says:

    Ok.. trying to get back into the swing of things. I started a new job last week which required 2 in-person visits to pick up equipment and a badge. That threw me off schedule. I have 65 responses to my survey. That’s not enough, though. So I’ll keep trying to get the word out. While those responses are coming in, I need to focus on my quantitative analysis. This week I need to have all my spatial data staged for analysis.

  100. Good Morning all
    Its Friday and another opportunity to move your dissertation forward. Karyn congrats on your new job? wow. It is difficult to make new transitions when you’re working on the dissertation. I hope that you have either adjusted your schedule or figured out a way how to get back on schedule. I completed my data submission but still with some concerns about the data.

    • Karyn Tabor says:

      Thank you! The change has been emotionally stressful. I left an organization where I worked for 20 years! Change is hard, but I’m hoping this change will help me get over the finish line with my degree.

  101. Good Morning All

    March 2 marks another opportunity to advance your dissertation. My data was revised and resubmitted; the project is now complete. I wrote an extended abstract yesterday and submitted it. My coauthor wrote to me in an email, “you write exquisitely.” That was an incredibly kind thing to say. I wish I could print those words and frame them. I’ve struggled with writing anxiety since my freshman year at Stanford, when my writing instructor was less generous with her feedback on my writing projects. This comment should remove all of that negativity, but as you know, it does not, but it was nice to hear. Today is a day for me to embrace the lovely email and the sentiments it contained. I’m challenging you to join me in embracing it and writing something today. It is not required to be flawless. Be willing to write the first draft in its entirety and then revise it later. Avoid writing and editing simultaneously. Let’s begin writing today and finish editing on Thursday. Today, our goal is to put words on paper. Karyn, will a new job will take time to adjust to you still have old responsibilities such as finishing your dissertation. I hope you are still moving it forward. Jeff, it’s time to get back on the horse. Michael its time to get up, hit the shower and get something done on your dissertation.

  102. Good Morning it’s Thursday the week is almost over. Are you another week closer to graduation or closer to procrastination? Every day that you do not work on your dissertation is another day that your goals of obtaining a PhD are pushed further away. Plain talk: today you have a decision to make. So, what will it be?

  103. A good dissertation is a done dissertation. What?

  104. Michael Fleming says:

    Hey everybody, I got the ball rolling today with a zombie activity. In summary, I beefed up my proposal abstract by adding about 200 words to it to make it a 350-word dissertation abstract. I submitted the dissertation abstract to my advisor and upon positive feedback, I will incorporate it into the dissertation document. Tomorrow, I plan to add material and methods sections to the dissertation.

  105. Michael Fleming says:

    Hey everybody, I was able to write the material and methods sections of chapter 3. This section will definitely require some updating and revision considering that I have not done the experiments yet. Nonetheless, I have a good idea of what materials and methods will be required when I do the experiments. Tomorrow, I will try to write the material and methods section for chapter 4.

  106. Karyn Tabor says:

    Even though I was very focused this weekend, I’m a bit scattered today. There are too many pieces I need to push forward, but they are all very different efforts.. emails, abstracts, proposals, data analysis. I had to create a time management matrix to identify the activities that are urgent and important to prioritize today.

  107. Michael Fleming says:

    Hi everybody, I have been away from my dissertation writing to focus on deadlines. Thankfully, those deadlines have been met and now I can refocus on my writing. Today, I plan to work on the materials and methods section for chapter 4.

  108. Dr. Carter-Veale says:

    Keeping it real; Today is the last day of Spring Break, but when you’re writing a dissertation there is not spring break.

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