This past Wednesday, I met with the co-chairs of my dissertation committee about Chapter 4 and possibly graduating this May. It was surprise to me that they suggested that Chapter 4 could be split into two chapters, thus making my study a six-chapter dissertation. For the next month, my co-chairs will read through my 102-page chapter to see if it would be better represented in two chapters. The reasoning for two chapters, besides the length, is that it has two major parts. The first part reports the shared patterns across the multiple cases and the unique findings of the single cases. The second part ties these findings to one model and one of the acculturation theories from the literature. The end result is a new model that I created.
After discussing my concerns about my current revisions to Chapter 4, I found it much easier to complete my first round of revisions yesterday. I had a list of 19 revisions to make, but I decided against most of them that suggested expansion and collecting more literature. I will save those suggestions for future papers associated with the dissertation. So yesterday I completed my first round of revisions and my second draft of Chapter 4. I will wait to hear from my co-chairs next month to begin the third draft of Chapter 4 and perhaps creating Chapter 5 out of a significant portion of Chapter 4.
For now, I will continue as if Chapter 5 is the final chapter. March is dedicated to writing and revising Chapter 5. I will have less free time compared to February, which granted me more time than I allotted for Chapter 4 thanks mostly to the harsh winter weather. In March, I will have three weekends partially or wholly taken up by conferences. And it is the weekends when I make the most progress in terms of writing. Fortunately, Chapter 5 will only be about 1/3 of the length of Chapter 4.
As for graduation, I doubt that I will graduate this May. I have to apply for my degree by Thursday this week and submit the first draft my whole dissertation to the Graduate College by the end of March. I could do both, but I would be doing so without any feedback and I would be in a rush. These three conferences in March make it more hectic as well.
What makes graduating in May most difficult is to gather my dissertation committee before the Graduate College's deadline for the final draft in early May. I would have to assume that my committee would request no major revisions so I could turn it in within a week or two. If I didn't have a full-time job, this would not concern me. However, I work in another institution of higher education that shares a similar academic calendar as the University of Iowa, so I will be facing crunch time at the same time in both institutions as the spring semester winds down.
After March and my next meeting with my co-chairs, I plan on revising all the chapters in April. The biggest revision may be turning Chapter 4 into two chapters. If that is not the case, I am sure that my co-chairs will still have some major suggestions for revising Chapter 4 anyway. I plan to dedicate at least half the month on this. The other half will be spent on revising the other chapters, so I will be ready to defend in early May.
In March, I will be sending out a Doodle poll as part of my request for a dissertation defense in early May. Sometime in the first half of April, I will send my committee the current drafts of all my chapters. I feel mostly ready to defend Chapters one through four, and I look forward to writing Chapter 5 very much. I am certain that I will feel ready to defend Chapter 5 by late March.
All this means I will most likely not be able to graduate in May. Instead I will apply for my doctoral degree in June to graduate in the summer. With my defense behind me, I will have more time to make final revisions and correctly format the dissertation. For a summer graduation, the Graduate College needs my first draft in early July and my last in late July. However, I won't be able to walk in the commencement ceremony until December, which is all right by me.