Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Let the Writing Begin

Last week I started writing Chapter 1 for my dissertation, which will act as a part of my research proposal.  I'm taking a class about proposal writing, and in the second half of the class we must write the first 2 chapters of our dissertation.  The official research proposal requires the first 3 chapters, and my committee will tentatively accept take a look at it in the fall semester of this year.

The picture above represents most, but not all, of my physical books that I need just to write Chapter 1.  There's a few more e-books that couldn't be photographed for obvious reasons.  Also not included are the many articles I have stored electronically to help me write Chapter 1.  Perhaps this pile of books represents at least 1/3 of my cited sources for that chapter.

At the same time, I'm writing two papers that overlap quite a bit with Chapter 1.  One is about how the English language policy of Japan affects my target participants of my dissertation and the other is a research proposal for a mixed methods study, which is heavily influenced from my "unmixed" methods dissertation.  Writing three papers that overlap that much is easy in that I don't need to collect much more literature, however having a distinct mindset for each paper is the challenging aspect, especially that my arguments differ.

At this point, in my early stages of my dissertation, I enjoy the writing process, especially because I have been collecting and reading a lot of literature over the past couple years.  I wonder how long it will take before I become sick of writing.  I hope it's later than sooner.

My dissertation time frame so far is as follows:

  1. In late April, complete my comprehensive exams and form my dissertation committee.
  2. By early May, complete drafts for chapters 1-2 for my proposal writing class, when I finish my last full semester of courses
  3. Over the summer, write chapter 3 and complete my application for the Internal Review Board (IRB)
  4. By September, submit my research proposal to my committee and prepare to collect data.
Data collection will commence once I have IRB and dissertation committee approval.  This should take 4-6 months.  Data analysis will take another 6 months.  In the interim, I should be editing chapters 1-3 and slowly writing chapter 4 as my research is longitudinal, meaning I collect and analyze data in stages.  Optimistically, I could have the dissertation completed before the summer of 2013.  But I was told that it may take until the winter of 2013/14 to be done to the satisfaction of my committee.

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