Detachment - A critical phase in writing your dissertation

Jul 05, 2018
It is easy for doc students to become frustrated in the cycle of  “revolving revisions”… especially as they approach the end of the doctoral journey. Chair and committee requests for revisions are often met with reluctance. Sometimes it's difficult for doc students to recognize the value in revisions, and there is a sense of resistance... that the work we are doing has somehow become a part of who we are. We are too close to our research. We have a deep feeling of connectedness to our ideas and the years of work we have accomplished. This is a painful (and natural) part of the dissertation journey. We’ve talked about perfectionism prison before, and sometimes, this resistance is how it rears its ugly head. 
 
So... how can we move past the frustration, the reluctance to accept when our committee requests revisions?
 
We do so, by aiming for detachment
 
Eight weeks before my own dissertation defense, my chair...
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How to Herd a Recalcitrant Octopus (the literature review)

May 23, 2018
 
Hello Future Doctor Friends!
 
Years ago when I started my own literature review, I read a metaphor on a doc student’s blog that really resonated with me, and it may with you too. The author said something to the effect that the process of writing the literature review can feel similar to herding a recalcitrant octopus, which then transitions into having a turangawaewae moment… finding a place where you belong, and of having a place to stand on and to speak from.
 
I loved this metaphor because the process of conducting the literature review is an exhaustive step in the dissertation journey. It can’t be rushed, is very time consuming, but once you have “herded” it, you have a solid foundation from which to build the case for your research. It’s a labor of love.
 
The literature review is a lot like telling a story about how every other researcher has made progress, but you are identifying a gap in the knowledge base and...
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Dissertation Truth Bomb - Don't let PERFECTION paralyze you.

Apr 25, 2018
I had to reach out to you today because this is a topic bubbling up with doc students right now. I'm about to get real with you, so lean in.
 
I get it… writing the dissertation can seem like an overwhelming task, and let’s face it. Many of us are here because we are overachievers in life. We set HIGH standards for ourselves, and we REACH them. Sometimes though, those high standards can be toxic when writing the dissertation.
 
I’ve seen the desire for PERFECTION paralyze students. I am begging you… do not let PERFECTION keep you from making progress. Just WRITE... even if it is messy, even if it doesn't make perfect sense, even if it isn't in the order you like, and take comfort in the fact that you can always go back and fine tune later. The first few drafts will feel like they are crap and that is perfectly normal. 
 
I’ve seen perfection stifle the students I work with. They come to me because they are stuck, and...
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Manage Your Time Like a Dissertation BOSS!

Mar 28, 2018
Is the thought of writing your dissertation starting to feel like you are standing at the base of Mount Everest wondering how on earth you are going to climb to the top and finish this thing? Sometimes looking at the whole project can cause overwhelm, and is then used as an excuse not to take action. Not to worry though... I’m here to share the single most important strategy that helped me gain momentum and plow forward when I was floundering while writing my own dissertation. The key to time management and preventing overwhelm is scheduling out your dissertation tasks step by step.
 
First, download a Gantt chart template, and format it to suit your needs. I found a blank template online, after three years of floundering through my dissertation, and the Gantt chart alone was instrumental in my making forward movement to finish.  
 
Start backward with your defense celebration and outline each step it will take to get there. I...
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The Secret to Finding Great Research Questions - Stop Spinning Your Wheels and Finish Your Dissertation 6 Months Faster

Feb 24, 2018

 

Want to finish your dissertation 6 months faster? An easy way to get the ball rolling is to start with this secret to finding GREAT research questions.

The Secret

Dissertation research often generates more questions than it answers. There are little golden nuggets hidden in the final pages of published dissertations. One of these questions from a former doc student may very well provide a basis for your thesis or dissertation proposal. 

Once you have a general idea of what your topic will be, a primary source for discovering your own research questions is by reading other doctoral dissertations. Existing literature, particularly recent literature, is an excellent source of research questions. Start researching Dissertation Abstracts Online, or go to ProQuest and select “Dissertations and Thesis”. Do a search for your general topic. Most published dissertations will include an area called, “Recommendations for Further Research”. This section of...

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