Well, a lot of folks have been asking me how my best friend -- Ms. Dissertation -- is doing. For a few months she was doing what she does best -- sitting on my desk doin' nothin'. But, she is being dragged back to the light kicking and screaming!
About a week ago, I met with my wonderful adviser who always has these fabulous, thoughtful ways of helping me see where my weaknesses are. Right now we are looking at Chapter 4 (Results) and Chapter 5 (Analysis), the two chapters that (like in any dissertation) are the "meat" of your whole discussion. We agreed on a deadline of a week to get both chapters done and then we would meet in person again and see where we would go from there. My greatest hope is to graduate in May so I have to figure out if that is going to happen by the end of this week (Feb 7 is the deadline for applying for graduation). I should know more this week, hopefully.
I was able to re-tune the Results chapter fairly quickly and have already sent that back. But ... the big "but" .... is that the Analysis chapter is a harder cookie to chew. Everything my brilliant adviser said was right on the money -- I have most of the actual analysis there but the order doesn't "work." As some of you know, I created 8 coding categories, representing 8 levels of cognitive abilities in terms of how student write about racial issues (in other words, I tried to define at least eight ways that students might unconsciously and consciously consider the complicated concept of race). I don't know what I was thinking the first time that I put this all together but how I laid out the discussion makes no sense at all. Now I am using the categories themselves as the organizing principle of the whole analysis (which makes way more sense) -- starting from my lowest level of cignitive ability and working myself up to the highest level.
So a few days ago I opened up a whole new Microsoft Word page and started re-plugging in what I had originally written. And then it hit me! Holes! Big ones!
I have the introduction and two of the categories done so far! But the rest of Sunday afternoon is before me so I am sure that I can get the rest of it completed by tonight so I can send it back to my fabulous adviser so we can see if I am heading in the right direction!