#phdchat, Dissertation

Dissertation Boot Camp, Part II

Last week I attended my second Eagle Dissertation Boot Camp. This was a three-day #ShutUpAndWrite session created for UNT graduate students to help us focus our time on our thesis/dissertation projects. My first Eagle Boot Camp was successful as I crafted a great chunk of my dissertation proposal and successfully defended said document in February.

#UNT Dissertation Boot Camp

My data analysis is complete, so my primary objective for this boot camp was to write up and explain the findings (Chapter 4). So, I am happy to report this chapter is almost complete with 28 new pages (which includes some large data graphs). I also spent the time reviewing edits and updates made to Chapter 1, 2 & 3 (my proposal). As many of my doctoral researching friends know — it’s not the page number — you write until you’re finished explaining your research.

 

I signed up for another boot camp because I enjoy the dedicated space, time, and peer support of these writing groups. Although my morning writing in solitary has been going well, I did appreciate a solid three days of concentration on my dissertation without disruption (texts, emails, etc). During the boot camp I also scheduled a few meetings with my major professor (Dr. Allen) and had a productive meeting with my new my co-chair (Dr. Evangelopoulos) and Dr. A. to review the scope of what I am reporting on for my dissertation. We had a great talk day #1 to review my data analysis, timeline for writing, and inclusions for my dissertation. I am thankful for the time and feedback each advisor has given me over the past few months.

 

Just like training for a marathon, it is critical to map out a realistic and effective training schedule. In this case, my training  = writing, reviewing, and editing. In planning for August graduation, I have to hit a few upcoming dates set by our graduate school, so my final dissertation defense date is on the near horizon.

DEFENSEphd040914s

Photo c/o @PhDComics “Defending My Thesis

Dissertation Timeline

Date Task
Toulouse Graduate School Dissertation Boot camp:

Chapter 4: Data analysis review; Drafting updated analysis and findings from data productions

4/20/14-4/28/14 Chapter 5: Drafting concluding chapter discussions, social media guidelines & policy development, further research, etc.
4/28/14-5/5/14 Consult with Faculty advisors and dissertation committee to get feedback on first draft (as needed)

 

5/6/14 Final dissertation paper and PowerPoint ready – Mock defense with Dr. A & Dr. E
5/6/14-5/12/14 Review comments & feedback from Co-Major Professors; make edits or additions based on feedback

Consult with dissertation committee members as needed

5/12/14-5/20/14 Send to external editor: final edit and polish
5/20/14-5/27/14 Review edits and comments from editor on dissertation paper; adjust as needed
Clean up and prep final defense PPT
5/28/14 Send FINAL DISSERTATION to committee; officially schedule defense date for June 12, 2014
5/28/14-6/11/14 Edit presentation slide deck, meet with faculty advisors; meet with committee members to review/allow for questions
6/12/14 Dissertation Defense
6/27/14 All paperwork due to Toulouse Graduate School & FINAL COPY of dissertation sent to the Grad School Reader

It’s go time. Back to my “training” — write on, my PhD friends. Write on!

#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.