Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Crunch Semester

Last week, the spring 2012 semester began, and I have a full load.  Firstly, I am enrolled in my final 3 required courses in my department.  Secondly, I am comping during the first half of the semester.  Thirdly, I hope to have my research proposal completed with IRB approval by the end of the semester.  Yes, my plate is very full.

By this time, I had hoped that the most of my literature was collected for my dissertation's literature review.  However, one of my courses this semester has directed me to more literature, some of which is very useful to build an even stronger case for my research.  This has come as a surprise to me because I expected this course to be the least relevant to my dissertation and the other two, and, just in the first week, it has shown to be the most helpful in terms of collecting literature.

With my new armament of literature, I have found a few researchers that I would like to contact sometime this semester for their guidance.  I have already contacted one but was a little disappointed that he has recently moved his attention away from my research interest.  One of the researchers seems to be headed in the same direction as me, but he has the advantage of being a well-established researcher in the field.  At this moment, I do not know how to tactfully approach him as his publications and his website indicate that he's an incredibly busy man.  I will seek one of my professor's advice on that.

On another topic, I am waiting to hear from my previous employer in Japan if I am invited back to teach for a second summer.  If I am, it would provide an ideal opportunity for me to collect data.  I am waiting for this green light, so I may continue the IRB process and make contacts to set up interviews upon my arrival.  If I do not get the green light, I have several alternative plans but they are not as convenient in terms of time, finances, and support as the present one.

By the end of the semester, I hope to have the following tasks accomplished:
  • Comprehensive exams completed to the satisfaction of my committee
  • The last 3 required courses of my department completed
  • Chapters 1-3 of my dissertation completed
  • IRB application sent and approved
  • At least 3 contacts made to help with finding participants
These seem to be some of the characteristics of the initial stages of a PhD candidate who is ABD (all but dissertation).

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