In this newsletter, I will talk about the dissertation process, and how this process can be made more humane. The barriers to completing the dissertation are institutional, preparedness issues, and personal. To overcome these stumbling blocks I’ll discuss academic tools and resources to move you forward.
Institutional barriers. Not many graduate students go through the dissertation process unscathed. I’ve met a few of them over the years and looked at them with wonder, and a bit of envy. For the rest of us, there are tons of rocks on the road and trials by fire. So let me state the obvious: dissertation is not only about conducting research (as we believed it should be), but rather about our persistence to jump through hoops, response to seemingly endless revisions or to IRB committees we’ve never met (maybe even committee members we’ve never met), navigating conflicting committee feedback, or worse , working with incompetent or uncommitted committee members.
Preparedness issues. A primary dissertation or thesis issue is the conducting of quantitative analyses. I’ve spoken to hundreds of students who’ve taken statistics courses 3 or more years ago. Exposure to a multivariate class or two will most likely not prepare you to assess homoscedasticity in a regression, or inform you that samples of 50 of more one could assume normality. Passing a class is not going to prepare you for the statistical scrutiny of a committee or IRB.
Personal issues. Dissertations, while a solitary process, is not done in a vacuum. Husbands and wives, boyfriends and girlfriends, children and parents go through the process too. The process can have an all too often a negative impact on all of them. Most of you reading this newsletter are not 22 years old; you have adult issues to deal with and there are unfortunately divorces, deaths, illnesses, work-related issues, and other personal barriers that slowdown the process.
Let’s move on to our best lives!
James Lani, Ph.D.
We work with graduate students every day and know what it takes to get your research approved.