#AcWri, #AcWriMo, Dissertation

#AcWriMo In Review: My Output

Many things come to an end as the month of November closes. See you later Thanksgiving, Fall 2013 semester, #Movember, and Academic Writing Month (#AcWriMo). (Actually – it’s more of a see you soon, really.) Officially, the month of November is dedicated to #AcWriMo; however a number of graduate students (including yours truly) used this past month to complete a good chunk of their dissertation to loose this moniker:

Why my weekends are filled with literature reviews, data collection & #acwri sessions... #acwrimo

Review of My November #AcWriMo Goals… and my Lessons Learned:

  1. Complete my doctoral dissertation proposal so that it is ready to DEFEND to my committee.  Almost there. I did get a good chunk of writing accomplished at the UNT Dissertation Boot Camp – so this helped #acwrimo my progress. Although drafted, my dissertation proposal is not ready to defend yet. In working on a new application for methodology for social science, I want to meet with a couple faculty members on campus to hash out specifics and needs for Chapter 3 (Methodology) and test some of this during the month of December. It looks like a January 2014 date is more realistic for my dissertation proposal defense. I’m okay with this – because once this proposal is approved then Chapters 1, 2, and 3 for my dissertation are DONE!

Lesson Learned: Dedicate the time for the dissertation. As a doctoral candidate you need to be selfish with your writing time. Since this is large project, you need to chunk out your research and writing time that is supported by realistic short- and long-term goals.

  1. Finish “Technology in Advising for Higher Education” manuscript to submit to the NACADA Journal. Since I started #AcWriMo a day later, I used December 1st to work on the #AdvTech research findings and drafting of this manuscript. I am not sure why this project was put on a back burner, but I definitely need to move forward and submit this in December 2013 for Spring 2014 publication eligibility. This goal is not complete, but I will plan on sharing it with my co-authors before the week is out so we can submit to the journal editors for review.

Lesson Learned: Finish your #acwri projects before taking others on. Sure the promise of more research and writing might be enticing, but how productive will you be on your own or with a collaborative writing team if you are not finishing your manuscripts and publishing them? Always be submitting.

  1. #iConf14 Social Media Expo – paper & video for conference. After a lunch brainstorm session with Andrew Miller (@findandrew) and @FiachraM last week, I found the momentum to draft the abstract for the #iConf14 proposal.  Although not submitted (just yet), the abstract is being wrapped up and edited this evening. The final video will be compiled tomorrow evening; however our team Dropbox is filled with photos and images, with Andrew to capture video tomorrow.

Lesson Learned: Innovative ideas come from interdisciplinary thinking and problem solving. Research that is participatory and collaborative drives my writing and efforts. Also, when you experience #acwri well with other scholars, be sure to include these researchers as conspirators for your common research interests and projects.

  1. Complete a minimum of 2 blog posts per week – on writing progress and projects. Done. Whether I was reading, researching, or writing – I was able to share what I was working on with my blog readers, and provide on-going updates about my #acwrimo progress.

Lesson Learned: Stating goals out loud and adding social pressure is great, but reflection and sharing always helps me to process ideas more. Although my “official” month of #acwrimo accountability is over, I am fortunate to have my blog to share and write about my research progress, dissertation progress, teaching methods, and more.

Overall…

This month of academic writing has been very productive for me. In looking at my contribution to the #AcWriMo Accountability in the Spreadsheet o’ Fun you can see I logged at least 35, 097 words, and have been dedicated to the daily habit of writing. It is not so much the word count, but really the completed projects, which are finished and not taking up real estate in my research/writing space. I am taking the #acwrimo lessons learned with me by continuing this #acwrimo habit in December by setting specific project goals, carving out dedicated writing time, and reflecting my progress via my blog.

How did #AcWriMo in November go for you? What have you learned from this academic writing month? Post a comment to share, or respond to this #AcWriMo Questionnaire (not mine).

#AcWri, #AcWriMo, #phdchat, PhD

#AcWriMo Peer Pressure: Time, Challenge/Support & Cheerleaders

As many of you know, I signed up and successfully completed my first UNT Eagle Dissertation/Thesis Boot Camp over that past few days. What did I accomplish? (you might ask). Here is my summary, in a tweet:

The boot camp structure helped me find time, space (physically & mentally), and support to dedicate 3 FULL DAYS of just writing and research for my dissertation. Dr. Oppong and the Toulouse Graduate School provided the group of doctoral students with advice on the PhD process, motivation, meals, and, of course, COFFEE! Boot camp let me be selfish with my time and required me to just SHUT UP AND WRITE my dissertation.

Shut Up & Write #AcWriMo Start of Dissertation Boot Camp

During the camp, I purposefully unplugged from all social streams, e-mail, phone, etc. Unless you were my faculty advisor,  my friend Paeng from our COI research lab, or my partner-in-crime – you probably did not hear from me much.

Similar to #AcWriMo November 2013, this boot camp included goal setting and accountability with our writing progress. Here’s my self-evaluation from camp:
Boot camp sel-evaluation. #acwrimo #phdchat #latergram

My main purpose for this boot camp was to finish my dissertation proposal for my committee to review. Essentially the dissertation proposal consists of Chapter 1 (Summary), 2 (Literature Review) & 3 (Methodology) for my final dissertation. Want to learn more about this writing process? Check out SAGE’s new resource: Do You Understand What is Required in a Doctoral Dissertation or Thesis? [PDF]

I managed to get most of these beginning chapters drafted, and have them loosely reviewed by my faculty advisor. I also put my writing drafts into the official UNT Dissertation format, and identified areas I need to edit and add to. I plan on using December to meet with a few faculty members to review my research methodology (the recipe for research), and then I will work with my faculty advisor to set up a time for my dissertation committee gather for review in early 2014.

Overall, this boot camp was a great experience, and I am quite pleased with my progress. I think that agraphia groups and writing support programs are invaluable for doctoral students. Events like this offer peer pressure, social support, and, most importantly, TIME for writing. I would like to attend the next UNT boot camp in February to write up Chapter 4 (Data Collection, Analysis, & Findings) and Chapter 5 (Conclusions) in the Spring.

Thanks for the challenge & support from the following tweeps: #AcWriMo writersinstigator of research ideas, and especially those of you who cheered me on. Always be writing…

#AcWri, #AcWriMo, Dissertation

#AcWriMo Discipline: Dissertation Boot Camp Here I Come!

In honour of my #AcWriMo November Goal #1, I decided to apply to the UNT Eagle Dissertation Boot Camp that is happening this week (November 21-23). To date, my word count for the month is 19, 344; however I need to dedicate more of these words to my dissertation drafting.

BootCampGraphic

Image from UDaily post from University of Delaware.

After approval from my faculty advisor and support from my supervisor, I applied to this 3-day boot camp to SHUT UP AND WRITE.  I just received my official acceptance to the program from Dr. Joseph Oppong, the Associate Dean for Research and Professional Development in the Toulouse Graduate School:

 Dear Student,

Congratulations, you have been accepted to attend the Eagle Dissertation Boot Camp! It will be held in the Willis Library Forum (first floor area). The boot camp is designed to provide you 3 days of interruption-free, stress-free, no-excuses-just-do-it writing time for your dissertation. To help you prepare so that you optimize your output here are some packing tips.

Be sure to clear your calendar for the whole of the boot camp. You need to commit to attend the entire workshop. You will not be excused to teach or attend class. Arrange transportation and childcare so that you are free to attend each day.

This is your notice that you are enrolled in Boot Camp. If you cannot attend this session let me know immediately. If you cancel within 3 days of the event you will be considered a “no show” unless you situation truly is serious. If you “no show” you will not be allowed to participate in the next session and your advisor will be notified. We have limited funds, space, and resources and you must commit to coming or give your seat to someone else.

Please bring a laptop, a mug (coffee/tea available) and/or water bottle. If you don’t have a laptop, you can check one out from the Library, but, bring a flash drive to save your work. MP3 players and headphones are recommended if they help you concentrate, or if you find nearby conversations distracting. Work tables, lunch, and snacks are provided.

No lateness, please. It’s distracting for the other campers…

Here is the line up this week’s dissertation boot camp – so don’t expect a whole lot of tweets, email responses, social network posts,  or interaction from me as my Interwebs use will be limited from Thursday (11/21) morning onward:

Boot Camp Schedule

Day 1 Day 2 Day 3
8:00-9:30 a.m. Formatting Workshop
9:30-10:00 a.m. Roll Call, Welcome, Introductions, Breakfast
10:00-11:30 a.m. Writing
11:30-12:00 p.m. Wellness Activity
12:00-1:30 p.m. Writing
1:30-2:00 p.m. Lunch
2:00-3:30 p.m. Writing
3:30-6:00 p.m. Optional Writing Time or Optional Individual Consulting
9:00-10:30 a.m. Writing
10:30-11:00 p.m. Wellness Activity
11:00-12:30 p.m. Writing
12:30-1:00 p.m. Lunch with Advisors
1:00-2:30 p.m. Writing
2:30-3:00 p.m. Self-Assessment and Discussion
3:00-6:00 p.m. Optional Writing Time or Optional Individual Consulting
9:00-10:30 a.m. Writing
10:30-11:00 a.m. Wellness Activity
11:00-12:30 p.m. Writing
12:30-1:30 p.m. Lunch
1:30-3:00 p.m. Writing
3:00-6:00 p.m. Optional Writing Time or Optional Individual Consulting

Each day includes:

  • several blocks of writing time
  • scheduled, limited time for web-browsing
  • tip sheets
  • wellness breaks
  • a lunch conversation with fellow campers (box lunches provided)
  • space to continue writing in the afternoon (if interested)

The reason I applied, is to have specific time carved out and a dedicated space to move forward on my #AcWriMo goal #1. A number of things get in the way of my dissertation writing, including other writing projects, presentations, work items, and life. Also, as a student who wears “many hats” on campus and outside my job, I can sometimes find it challenging to pick up where I have left off, and my motivation to just write is fragmented with other responsibilities. I think this dedicated writing schedule will push me further along with my dissertation goals.

I will report back in after “camp” is over. Write on, my friends. Write on.

#AcWri, #AcWriMo

#AcAWriMo Reading: The Literature Review

In SAGE’s Doing a Literature Review, Hart (1998) defines the literature review as “The selection of available documents (both published and unpublished) on the topic, which contain information, ideas, data and evidence written from a particular standpoint to fulfill certain aims or express certain views on the nature of the topic and how it is to be investigated, and the effective evaluation of these documents in relations to the research bring proposed.”

Reviewing my literature this afternoon. #phdchat

I have been collecting and organizing literature, publications, and more on the topic of social media guidance for quite some time. I have been reviewing the key questions used for a typical literature search and review of my research topic (Hart, 1998):

  • What are the key sources?
  • What are the major issues and debates around the topic?
  • What are the key theories, concepts, and ideas?
  • What are the epistemological and ontological grounds fro the discipline?
  • What are the political standpoints?
  • What are the origins of this topic?
  • What are the definitions involved with this topic?
  • How is knowledge on the topic structured and organized?
  • How have approaches to these questions increase our understanding and knowledge?

In thinking about my own doctoral research, the literature review, a.k.a. Chapter 2 and part of Chapter 3 (methodology), often demonstrates a specialization in a topic and focus. For a number of doctoral researchers, the dissertation/thesis is requires a high level of scholarship, and it is an opportunity to make an original contribution to the field. Phillips and Pugh (1994) conducted a study around doctoral research and literature reviews, in which they identified nine definitions for originality:

  1. doing empirically based work that has not been done before;
  2. using already known ideas, practices or approaches but with a new interpretation;
  3.  bringing new evidence to bear on an old issue or problem;
  4. creating a synthesis that has not been done before;
  5. applying something done in another country to one’s own country;
  6. applying a technique usually associated with on are to another;
  7. being cross-disciplinary by using different methodologies;
  8. looking at areas that people in the discipline have not looked at before;
  9. adding to knowledge in a way that has not previously been done before.

It appears I will be working on #1, #6, & #7 with my dissertation research methodology. Enough talking about it, back to my literature review additions, and more writing. Go #AcWriMo Go! [p.s. Word count to date for #AcWriMo = 16, 271 now. How are you doing?]

References:

Hart, C. (1998). Doing a literature review: Releasing the social science research imagination. Sage.

Phillips, E. M., & Pugh, D. S. (1994). How to get a Ph. D.: a handbook for students and their supervisors. Buckingham, UK: Open University Press.

#AcWri, #AcWriMo

My #AcWriMo Goals for November

acwrimo1-01

Happy Academic Writing Month (#AcWriMo)! November IS #AcWriMo… however as a student every month is #acwrimo… BUT in an effort move forward on a few writing deadlines and projects I thought this accountability would change my typical “creative process.”

The Creative Process

#AcWriMo main features include:

  • Setting academic writing goals
  • Writing down said goals & tracking (see the AcWriMo 2013 Writing Accountability Spreadsheet) collectively
  • Strategy sharing for #AcWri
  • Sharing my progress (will be weekly for me)
  • WRITE!!!! (most important)
  • Show results (see spreadsheet & future blog posts)

I have participated in this #acwrimo in the past, and I thought that this type of peer/social pressure was very productive. I liked the idea of declaring goals, being accountable and tracking my writing progress in chunks. I also think that this will be a very useful practice to step up my word count and complete writing projects that need to be completed.

My #AcWriMo Goals for November:

  1.  Complete my doctoral dissertation proposal so that it is ready to DEFEND to my committee.
  2. Finish Technology in Advising for Higher Education manuscript to submit to the NACADA Journal.
  3. #iConf14 Social Media Expo – paper & video for conference.
  4. Complete a minimum of 2 blog posts per week – on writing progress and projects.

Here is how I plan on achieving these goals:

  1. Write for a minimum of two 60 minute time blocks per day.
  2. Have a total of 750 words per day written.
  3. Logging my projects, words written, and more to the #acwrimo accountability spreadsheet.
  4. My Tweeps & other social networks can call me out and inquire at ANY time to see how I’m doing.

Are you going to JOIN IN THE #AcWriMo FUN? You should!