There are four major components to “pass-through” on my way to being called Doctor: completing coursework, taking and passing qualifying exams, conducting and analyzing research, and writing dissertation. To the best of my Ph.D. newbie knowledge, the process is as follows:
- Do coursework – while thinking and developing possible topic for dissertation, while getting together an advisory committee to assist me in path of finishing coursework and tuning up possible dissertation topic, while then (if necessary) refashioning committee to be my dissertation committee …and a host of other “whiles.”
- Once coursework is done, I must get a reading list approved and then approval of the pre-proposal. The reading list and pre-proposal will be used to develop a qualifying exam I’ll have to take within a year of completing my coursework. The passing of the exam marks me as a doctoral candidate…another step closer in being that Doctor. Not too long after passing quals, I’ll have to meet with my now dissertation committee to finalize my dissertation proposal, and then it’s writing/research time.
- The next phase is the conducting and analyzing of research. I’ve heard of some people mixing this with phase 2, and I know that this phase goes hand-and-hand with phase 4.
- The last part of the process is the writing of the dissertation and the defending of said dissertation. Word on the street is there are some people who hope for this to be done within a year after having the proposal finalized. Once the dissertation is defended and the committee A-OKs me and it, I will be Dr. Bacon.
With the preceding information, I have fashioned a dreamline of how I’d like this process to go. It’s always subject to change…as is life, but it’s how I would like to see things proceed. Phases 3 and 4 are blurred together in my dreamline below.
Fall 2009 – Fall 2010
Coursework. Four classes in fall 2009, three classes in spring 2010, two classes in summer 2010, and two classes in fall 2010 should have me finished with coursework. I might decide to take a class in spring 2011 because I hear there are some great ones coming up, and I am a geek. Aside from that, my committee may decide I need a specific class or two in the spring ’11 semester for whatever I plan to work on for my dissertation.
- Update~June 5, 2010 :: I have three more classes to take. I just started my summer course, Internet Writing, and I’m taking two courses in the fall, Theories of Argumentation and Introduction to Rhetorical Theory.
- Update~October, 15, 2010 :: I am halfway through my final “course work” semester. I am taking Argumentation and Rhetorical Theory.
- Update~December 29, 2010 :: I have successfully completed coursework during a semester when I was not on my A game. To say that I am happy to be done coursework is an understatement.
Have reading list approved.
- Update~June 5, 2010 :: About two weeks ago, I met with my dissertation chair, and my goal is to develop an extraordinarily rough draft of my reading list by the beginning of the fall semester, and then we’ll use the fall semester to finesse it.
- Update~September 17, 2010 :: Submitted a rough draft of reading list to dissertation chair.
- Update~October 14,2010 :: Currently revising reading list to submit to chair and other members by beginning of November.
- Update~December 29, 2010 :: Dissertation chair signed off on me to submit list to committee. I submitted to committee at the end of November, so I was behind but not by much. Will wait until after the New Year to start checking in on everyone.
- Update~February 14, 2011 :: Reading list was approved the beginning of February, so was only off by a few days.
- Read/Study/Prepare for quals :: February to July 2011
- Submit preliminary dissertation proposal :: Right now, I hope to take my quals in mid-July 2011. Pre-proposal needs to be approved at least two months before quals, so I’m thinking to have done by March-April 2011 to have time for revisions.
- Update~December 29, 2010 :: As I was working on reading list, I began taking notes for the pre-proposal and after a nice break that will last ’til mid-January or so, I will get into reading and prepping for quals and for the pre-proposal.
- Update~February 14, 2011 :: I have begun reading and working on pre-proposal. The goal is to have a rough draft done by the end of the month so that I can do some revising with my chair before sending it off to the rest of my committee.
- Update~April 5, 2011 :: My chair and I have gone through three revisions of my pre-proposal, and today it was sent to my full committee. I have also decided to move back taking quals until early- or mid-August, so right now, the goal is to have my pre-proposal approved by mid-June at the latest. Now that the pre-proposal has gone to the full committee, it looks good that I’ll have an approved draft done by my new deadline of mid-June. Now, I’m busy, oh so busy with reading, thinking, and starting to think and pull together things for surveys, interview(s), and content analysis.
- Update ~ May 6, 2011 :: Still waiting to hear back from two committee members.
- Update ~ May 21, 2011 :: Recently heard back from another committee member, and the comments were greatly needed as they caused me to refocus some of my research questions, hunker down and develop more on what theories were lending themselves to the study, and bringing focus back to the writing technology, the blog. I revised the pre-proposal and returned to committee late last week.
- Update ~ June 3, 2011 :: Pre-proposal is approved!
- Write IRB Proposal :: Update ~ May 6, 2011 :: I started working on this about two, three weeks ago. I hope to submit it to the review board in June, so I’m working to finish a draft of this within the next week so that I can get it to my chair and he and I can talk about it when he comes into town. Then it will be revise, revise, revise until submit to the board. Working on survey instrument and interview questions now.
- Update ~ May 15, 2011 :: Submitted draft of IRB proposal to my chair. We’ll meet on the 23rd to talk about it and think on revisions.
- Update ~ June 5, 2011 :: Currently revising IRB proposal with the hope of getting it to chair by June 10th.
- Update ~ September 13, 2011 :: In late-summer, I finished a good draft of the IRB proposal and was told to keep it until I passed qualifying exams and then do another revision of it before submitting to IRB.
- Update ~ January 25, 2012 :: Submitted IRB in December. Heard back this week from them–there were only two minor issues to fix. I did that today and returned to them. Waiting on that APPROVAL to come any day.
Summer 2011 – Fall 2011
- Take qualifying exam (and pass!)
- Update ~ April 5, 2011 :: This has been changed to early- to mid-August
- Update ~ May 21, 2011 :: No official date yet, but it looks like it will happen late-August. I’m about on schedule with the reading and should be done it all by the end of July, giving me time to reflect and organize.
- Update ~ June 5, 2011 :: Quals have been set for last full week of August.
- Update ~ September 13, 2011 :: I have passed quals. Got the news on September 9, 2011.
- Meet with my committee
- Update ~ September 13, 2011 :: Hope to hear from my dissertation chair soon regarding a date for the meet with the committee.
- Update ~ September 20, 2011 :: I will be meeting with my committee on September 26th.
- Get final dissertation proposal approved
- Update ~ May 22, 2011 :: With latest revisions to pre-proposal and with when I hope to take quals, this will more likely be sometime in October 2011.
- Update ~ September 13, 2011 :: This will more than likely happen toward the end of October, beginning of November as I probably won’t have my meeting until third, fourth week of September.
- Update ~ September 20, 2011 :: I will be meeting with my committee on the 26th, so deadline for the full proposal will be about end of October 2011.
- Update ~ January 25, 2012 :: My full proposal was approved just before Christmas break.
Spring 2012…and beyond
- Writing first three chapters of dissertation
- Update ~ January 25, 2012 :: Started writing with the goal to have them to my diss chair sometime in March
- Gather data – survey, interview, content analysis (now – June 2012)
- Analyze data – while gathering, after gathering, so can take on the remainder of the year if necessary
- Draft Chapter 4
- Draft Chapter 5
- Draft Chapter 6
- Draft Chapter 7
- Revision of chapters
- Defend dissertation (and become Dr. Bacon!) – Graduation, May 2013. Goal to defend in or before March 2013.