Sunday, March 30, 2008

Almost Decided

This is my THIRD attempt at a dissertation topic.

The first time, last summer, I sought to do a quantitative study on national level data. After much reading and conceptualizing, I came up with some questions. Then, I started my internship. Things got too busy, and I had to prioritize clinical over research. I stopped for several months.

In the meantime, my written prelim, which I had passed, got accepted into a major social science journal, but with some significant revisions. I had about 3 months to do it. I could not. I hated my article because it was all quantitative, and I was not able to connect with it... epistemologically. (Okay, this is a scholarly blog, I can write like this.)

Whilst traveling with a seasoned 70-year-old clinician, one who had studied with the masters, it came to my attention that what I really wanted to do was a project that would be closer to the experience of the participants. And so, I approached several people to convince them that I wanted to do a clinical study. Most specifically, to test an intervention. Only one person heartily supported that idea; the rest thought I was deluded (yet normally so for a dissertator just starting out).

After much convincing--that is, them convincing me--the delusion finally left. And now, I'm looking at an ambitious but much more doable project, using qualitative interview to collect data on a sample from Asia!

I haven't clarified my research questions yet, but I now have two willing advisers in place. One has content expertise but is a quantitative researcher; the other has methodology expertise in qualitative research. And they get along! :-) That is exciting!

I feel like I'm much closer to making this a reality.

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