August 2, 2011

Here's the thing.

For about 10 days, I've been dealing with a difficult personal situation that has taken up most of my time and energy. But it's not the kind of thing you tell other people, so I haven't been blogging because I can't blog about it. And I hate those vague, cryptic, emo blog posts where people are like, "Something seriously dramatic is going on! I can't tell you what it is, but OMG! If you only knew, you would feel so bad for me. Here's an incomprehensible poem that I wrote about my angst."

I hate that shit. So I just haven't been blogging at all.

But I've decided that I need to get back to living my normal life. I can't just suspend work on my dissertation forever -- eventually someone will notice -- and I need to socialize and play soccer and eat regular meals.

So here is an update about my dissertation. I'm having a hard time getting important people to take my survey. They ask me to send my questions in advance, and then I never hear from them again. So my efforts to survey 50+ important people are going horribly. I've had many wonderful, insightful interviews that have given me a lot of qualitative findings to write about, but the survey is just not happening. Six people have agreed to take it, and one of those people got angry and quit halfway through.

I'm starting to accept that I will never get enough responses, and that I should just stop trying. I have many other data sources, and my chapters aren't incomplete without the survey responses -- it would be great to have, but it's not essential. However, I don't know how to break it to my advisors because I don't want it to look like I just didn't try very hard.

In other dissertation news, some of you may recall that I have 4 committee members, and that one of those members asked repeatedly to be removed from my committee during the prospectus stage. He eventually agreed to stay on, and I decided that I just wouldn't expect anything from him. If he sent feedback and got involved, great -- but if not that would be fine too, because I only need three committee members to sign off for me to graduate.

I sent my first chapter around at the beginning of the month, and he just sent me a really nice e-mail, telling me how much he liked the chapter, praising the methods, and offering to purchase data for me. So I'm pleasantly surprised. Perhaps my work has won him over? He's an expert in the area that I study, so I'm very happy that he seems willing to communicate with me about my dissertation after all.

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