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.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Keeping A Journal

Although introverted, I am a highly relational being. Thus, I find difficult to read academic things without having a class to meet or friends with whom to discuss my readings. One way to overcome this challenge is to keep a journal.

This is my journal. And you are reading it.

Keeping a journal helps me to "talk out" my progress and thoughts. Gives me a sense that there is an on-going conversation for my work.

Today, I'm reading the big picture of qualitative research and trying to figure out how I can go about designing a research topic.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

The Lonely Dissertator

After 8 months of clinical internship, I've started to look at my dissertation again. And oh, is it ever painful! My advisor suggested that I may be one of those students for whom dissertating is an extremely lonely and challenging process. I think she may be right.

So I'm peeking into the blogosphere to find some mutual support.

Are you like me--a lonely dissertator? Drop me a line.