The Dissertation Process

This is the year when I finish my dissertation. It has been decided.

I have been ABD (all but dissertation) for quite some time. It seems like I’m trying to set a dubious record for the longest time as an ABD doc student, but it’s time to break that cycle. I have tried many things to get motivated, and I think I might have finally found a good plan for me. Here is a breakdown of this (hopefully) winning strategy.

For quite some time now I have been saving dissertation-related resources to my Diigo account. I tag each resource with “dissertation” and any other appropriate tags. As of this writing, I have 266 tagged resources for “dissertation.” That is entirely too many.

What I am doing now is going back through each one of those resources and weeding out the ones that really won’t help me. I don’t have a number in mind, but I’m guessing at least half of those will be put aside by the time I start the actual writing process.

Today I started a new Google Document called “Dissertation Snippets.” In this document I am pasting all of the good resources from Diigo along with a sentence or two highlighting what that resource is about. This is what I will be doing over the course of the next several days.

I should note that I have other resources besides the ones on Diigo. I have several dozen articles in PDF format in a Dropbox folder, and I will be using several books that are not available electronically. I believe that I have collected a substantial amount of appropriate literature and research at this point, but I am still on the lookout for more.

Once I go through all the resources, I will then start to organize them by the chapter in which they are most likely to appear. If you aren’t familiar with the structure of a dissertation, it goes like this:

  1. Introduction
  2. Review of Relevant Literature
  3. Methods and Procedures
  4. Findings
  5. Discussion, Conclusions, and Implications

Of course some resource material will appear in multiple chapters, and that is okay. But for now, just getting organized is the primary goal.

When all of the resources have been reviewed and organized, I plan to begin working on the literature review first. That might change, but that is the plan for now. I will post updates here from time to time.

In the meantime, I leave you with this gem.