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Author Topic: dissertators and thesis writers support thread  (Read 798808 times)
kismet227
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Posts: 80


« Reply #15 on: January 12, 2007, 10:52:40 am »

I skipped my master's ceremony because I didn't feel finished.  The doctoral graduation is the end of the long, long, road.

I apologize for hijacking the thread.  This is just what I think about when I'm supposed to work on my dissertation.
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rosagallica
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Posts: 3


« Reply #16 on: January 13, 2007, 5:11:52 pm »


I've found it helps to work on each section of a chapter (usually about 6 per chapter, including the intro and conclusion) in a separate word document. Also, once I have a big chunk of text down (say, one section), I make to-do lists with very small tasks - each sentence or footnote that needs fixing or filling in gets its own bullet point on the list. In both cases, I can schedule more realistically when I'm thinking in terms of 5-10 page units or single sentences than whole chapters.
[/quote]


I wrote my thesis on members of an ethnic group who arrived in my state before 19__. I started out trying to write the thesis by area as all the regions of my state had at least a few of these families by my cut-off date. That broke down in a hurry as I didn't have 500 pages and loads of time to spare. I finally started making progress once I decided to divide my discussion by religion. And that's the way it basically stayed.

I've got one application out to a Ph.D. program and am working on another. I applied to two programs early in 2006, but didn't get accepted at either, hopefully because I hadn't made any progress with my thesis. (I turned in my final changes in early December and got my M.A. two weeks later.)

I'm over 35, am a career changer, and started out badly by transferring from another graduate program into my field, History. (My mom was suddenly diagnosed with cancer that March and I fell apart. She's fine now.)
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dolljepopp
a "liberal neo-monarchist"
Distinguished Senior Member
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Posts: 4,108

So 'ne Driss...


« Reply #17 on: January 13, 2007, 5:26:21 pm »


Who else has to orally defend their proposal?


I will have to do an oral defense, when I get to that stage (I'm shooting for April). The last few students who've defended have had a rough time, so I hope I don't run into too much trouble.

When is your defense?


I do as well.  Should have happened in the fall...

I am now geographically far away, and can't afford the trip back until at least March, so if this draft flies, it will be then.  Because of some other commitments in the area, a little bit later would be better, but they are not thrilled with me, so I won't push for favors...
« Last Edit: January 13, 2007, 5:27:00 pm by dolljepopp » Logged

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grad_geek
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Posts: 155


« Reply #18 on: January 17, 2007, 10:14:39 pm »

What I hope to do this week is:

1. Update the methods section DONE!
2. Write a draft of the conclusion/implications section
3. Add to the lit review based on some suggestions from a committee member.



Grrr.  I've been pretty diligent this week, but it seems I do about five hours of library research and/or general agonizing for every paragraph I write.  I hate those situations where I make a statement just based on my general knowledge of the field, and then I can't find a good source to support it.  I know the support is out there somewhere, but I can't find it when I need it.

So, how is everyone else doing?
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martina
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Posts: 160


« Reply #19 on: January 20, 2007, 11:19:01 am »

I am working - most of the time, but feeling guilty at the moment after staying home for a day with a sick kid, who gave me his virus - and then the whole week was basically a write-off for me, but since it was the last week of semester, I just gave up on trying to get anything done. I knew I could not manage both teaching and my own work. I went in to teach twice and had to cut the day short because I had a fever and felt like crap. I will start fresh again Sunday morning and it may be a good thing - allowing me to put some distance between me and what I've been doing. It's been a very long time since I took some time off. The whole graduation thing caught my attention. I HATE graduations and although I intend to finish, I don't think I will go to graduation. Living far away is going to be my good excuse.
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tamiam
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Posts: 3,656


« Reply #20 on: March 03, 2007, 3:31:57 pm »

OK. I'm bringing this thread up in honor of our new buddy EnviroABD, because I'm green too.

Should we make a paralysis-analysis type thread for grad-level research baby steps?

My first steps to do this week...

  • Continue contemplating the fellowship app that I can't get my head around.
  • Turn my newly reclassified database into a few pithy timelines for starters

I seem to have lost the ability to think creatively, but I do have the abililty to plow through a to-do list. If I can suck the life out of a creative research initiation process by turning it into a to-do list, I may be OK.
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Hey look! I have a tag line too!
enviroabd
I'm green
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Posts: 219


« Reply #21 on: March 03, 2007, 3:48:32 pm »

Thanks Tamiam!  I tried looking for something like this, but then I felt like I was procrastinating too much. Notice I'm back, however.

I'm trying to finish my dissertation draft (social sciences). I've been sending my advisors chapters as I finish them, only to get an e-mail yesterday saying that "as you know, I prefer to get an entire incomplete draft" so context is more obvious.  Ack. Oh well, I guess that means I don't have to panic in the effort to get the next chapter to them on the schedule that I had set out for myself.

I am supposed to come up with a "critical path diagram" describing my deliverables, timelines, and what I require from my advisors. Isn't this something that they should be telling me? 

Anyway, I'm shooting for completion in May, although who knows how long it will take with reviews. Very happily, I don't anticipate the horror stories of advisors "forgetting" to review submissions for months on end.

I'm way off campus (about 700km) because I can live with my parents for cheap and I have a decent (full-time) job.  But I feel really disconnected from academia and my fellow grads. Finding this board is great. Any support sure sounds good right now.

In solidarity,
EnviroABD (looking forward to having to change my nickname)
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I'm like a dissertation inchworm.
belleoftheball
And she's dancing like she's never danced before!
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Posts: 103


« Reply #22 on: March 03, 2007, 5:02:43 pm »

I feel for you, enviroabd. I work two jobs on top of dissertating, and it's ROUGH!

Oh, and hello everybody! I've been lurking about for years, but finally decided to get a username and log-on. I'm thiiiiis close to finishing my dissertation. Well, maybe it's more like thiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiis close. Up until now, my main problem has been complete lack of motivation. I didn't really think my advisor would let me finish/help me finish, which is a good way to kill a grad student's already lagging motivation. Suffice it to say, the situation has changed slightly, and I'm hoping to graduate this spring.

Has anybody else gotten to this point only to wonder why the heck they started working on a thesis/dissertation in the first place???

Or is it just me? : )
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enviroabd
I'm green
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Posts: 219


« Reply #23 on: March 03, 2007, 5:24:41 pm »

belle, I am totally with you. I wonder how I could even think about quitting so close to the end, but the idea is there. I think that working in a non-academic environment makes it a lot harder - you see all of your co-workers doing things other than work.
Conversation at the office:
Co-worker1: so, what are you doing this weekend?  I'm going skiing!
Co-worker2: I'm going to see a musical!
EnviroABD: I'm going to sit at my desk and try to write the next section of my results chapter.

Any wonder we lack motivation?

Does anyone have suggestions about how to keep motivated?  Other than habit or sheer stubbornness in proving that you can do it?
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I'm like a dissertation inchworm.
belleoftheball
And she's dancing like she's never danced before!
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Posts: 103


« Reply #24 on: March 03, 2007, 5:34:06 pm »

LOL. Yup. I don't like Monday mornings because (aside from the fact that they're Mondays) everybody shares stories about all the fun things they did over the weekend. I get a little bitter.

Coworker: "...and then I went to the U2 concert and got asked to go on stage by Bono. So, Belleoftheball, what did you do this weekend?"

Belleoftheball: "Well, um, I worked on my dissertation Friday night, and Saturday from about 7am until about 10pm, but then! Oh! Sunday morning! I actually took a break and did some laundry while I uploaded a new stats program. I even watched 15 minutes of the early morning show. Yeah, good times..."

I find it helps to have somebody to commiserate with, even if they're not local. I call up a co-dissertator at least once a day so we can gripe, moan, and push ourselves to meet the next deadline.

I've also found that caffeine and LOTS of sugar helps.
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enviroabd
I'm green
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Posts: 219


« Reply #25 on: March 03, 2007, 5:38:13 pm »

yeah, there's nothing like complaining to make yourself feel better. ;) 

Commiserating buddies - what a great idea.  I know so few people who view doing laundry as taking a break. It's nice to know that I'm not alone.
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I'm like a dissertation inchworm.
illuminata
Distinguished Senior Member
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Posts: 3,212

Sneak, snark, snuk.


« Reply #26 on: March 03, 2007, 5:51:36 pm »

I am on Chapter 4 (data analysis) of the Big D.

Maybe this is why I am so focused the spring/summer shoe line at Neiman-Marcus? Or the newest lip gloss shades at Bobbi Brown? (NO, not the idioth married to Whitney, the make up lady).

I am sure the Big D is why I am feeling like I have a gun to my head most of the time. My Master desires me to bring her a still warm Chp. 4 draft on Monday. I am striving to serve Master, but mostly I am shopping. Which is interesting when one has no money.

Oh, and I'm on the academic job market/Ferris Wheel of Terror.

I could not care less about Pomp and Ceremony just now. A vodka tonic, though, is another story altogether.
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Playing tennis with grenades.
enviroabd
I'm green
Member
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Posts: 219


« Reply #27 on: March 03, 2007, 5:59:11 pm »

Oh, shopping. It's amazing how you can spend so much time doing something you don't really like when you are avoiding things. I know may more celebrity gossip than I would ever admit to - MSN is evil.

I am really close to finishing chapter 5 (the second of two results chapters) but it's a real drag. I think I can get this draft done today, and then it's on to the next. If I ever get the chance to supervise someone's dissertation, I will mandate a celebration at the achievement of milestones within the diss. None of this "thanks, here's where you need to make changes, when can I expect the next one?"

I too am on the Ferris Wheel of Terror - what a good name! I had an on-campus interview a month ago and I haven't heard anything back from the SC, not even a reply to my e-mail asking if my receipts had arrived.  Of course the diss will have to be finished before the job, should it arrive, but I keep procrastinating by wondering about what the silence means... [I'm betting on chaos in the SC]

Vodka tonic sounds good, or a nice glass of red wine.  But then there is always that scary story - I had an office mate who dumped a glass of wine on her laptop in mid-dissertation. I've been pretty careful about backing up since then...
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I'm like a dissertation inchworm.
illuminata
Distinguished Senior Member
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Posts: 3,212

Sneak, snark, snuk.


« Reply #28 on: March 03, 2007, 7:18:05 pm »

HARHAR! *snarky evil laugh*

Oh, green one, expect at least one disaster of the electronic variety before you finish...my laptop hard drive suddenly suffered a major infarction last month. I RAN to Best Buy (in the car) and had him put on life support. FIVE days later, I got him back (with a new bionic HD). They were able to pull off most of the data. I had backed up most of it on an external HD but the key word, friends, is 'most'.

I now understand why scholars of days gone by (prelaptop) would store an extra copy of their work in the freezer.

Off to back up data...

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Playing tennis with grenades.
epistephiliac
Could serve monkey ass and empty clam shells and still win
Distinguished Senior Member
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Posts: 4,645

The day needs my saving expertise


« Reply #29 on: March 04, 2007, 5:50:13 am »

Oh, Illuminata, I feel your pain. I had an external hard drive on which I stored all of my work and data from the last eight years or so--most of which was not to be found anywhere else, since my laptop's CD burner was broken and it had a teeny-tiny hard drive.

Last summer, it suddenly decided to erase itself, for no apparent reason. (Apparently, Iomega drives have this tendency, so be forewarned.)

I am very lucky to have some techy friends who live three hours away, but were willing to come to my aid in my time of desperation, and they were magically able to salvage everything. I now have a new laptop with its own huge internal drive, two (non-Iomega) external drives, and two flash drives for crucial files. I have learned my lesson but good, finally.

My five-page preliminary dissertation abstract was approved by my committee last week, and is now circulating among the rest of the faculty. My advisor mentioned to me on Wednesday that she'd already fielded a question about it... yikes. I suppose it was a question she could answer, anyway.

The diss itself is on hiatus at the moment while I get ready for comps. Starting in May, I'll be on overdrive to get through it. Expect to see a lot of me on this thread at that point.
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When asked about my research interests, I quote Kelly Kapoor: "Basically, everything that is awesome."
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