Saturday, January 18, 2014

Revisiting Chapter 1

Upon having my research proposal accepted back in March 2013, it was suggested that I concurrently revise Chapters 1 and 3 while I collected and analyzed my data.  Although I took the suggestion for revising Chapter 3 as that made the most sense to me, I held off on revising Chapter 1 until now.  I believe that revising Chapter 1 after writing the first draft of Chapter 4 is more beneficial because that process will better help me connect Chapters 1 and 4 when it is time to write Chapter 5.

Today is the day that I finally revisited Chapter 1, and I did this by first listening to my research proposal, which I recorded on my Macbook Pro using Garageband.  I have to admit that the sound quality of the recording was superb being that my computer was on the other side of the meeting room from most of the committee members.  Sadly, this has been my best use of Garageband.

I remember that my co-chairs recommended me to listen through the proposal about a month after the meeting, but I was not mentally prepared for that.  I took notes on the most vital elements concerning participant selection and data collection to begin the process, so I did not have an urgent need to listen to that meeting, which now seems less painful than I remembered it to be.  All I remembered was that I would need to listen to the recording once it came time to revise Chapter 1.

A mix of emotions hit me while listening through this proposal.  After the initial feeling of discomfort, I felt delighted because most of the sticky points in the first half of the meeting have already been resolved.  Most of the difficult issues were about participant selection, a process that has come and gone long ago.  I think what made this part of the proposal difficult was that I had more confidence than my committee members since I was unable to show enough evidence of participants. 

Another eye-opening moment was learning about how stubborn I was.  Even though I took much of their advice, I did not convey this to them.  I should have said something like, "Thank you.  I understand your point, and I will make the changes as you suggest."  For some items, I had a high degree of uncertainty, but I did not want to take all of their suggestions, especially because some of them conflicted with earlier suggestions given by my co-chairs.

In retrospect, I am glad I was stubborn with a few points, but I should have acknowledged that my committee's advice was helpful for the many other points.  I also believe I was a different person at the time because my anxiety of the research proposal may have been eclipsed by the anxiety of being on the market and on the cusp of getting hired.  I survived.

While I was listening to the research proposal meeting, I took notes on all suggestions for change concerning Chapter 1.  I was surprised that the suggestions were fewer than I remember.  However, there was one important suggestion that is contentious because there was a disagreement between my co-chairs and the rest of the committee.  And most of this disagreement occurred when my co-chairs were not present at that time of the meeting.  I know my co-chairs would like me to disregard most of this suggestion, but I need to confirm if I should disregard most or all of the suggestion.  If it is all, it would make a far easier revision of Chapter 1.

There were a few surprising elements in the research proposal that seem to end up in my favor.  The first is that some members of my committee did not like a research question that I was unsure of when I wrote it.  Now that my data analysis is (mostly) complete, I have found that I can take out this question.  The other surprising element was that one of my committee members already had a clear idea for publishing my results that did not become very clear to me until I had completed my data collection.  I will be writing more on this later, but this element has given me more confidence to pursue a certain publication path once this dissertation is completed.

My next step is now to revise Chapter 1, but I can't completely revise it without confirming a few items with my co-chairs.  Depending on the input from my co-chairs, this revision to Chapter 1 could take as little as a day or as much as four days.  Nonetheless, this revision is not as lengthy as I thought it might be.

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