And now I have a bit of a paradigm shift with my schedule. I had planned on finsihing my proposal this summer, collecting data in the fall, and writing the results and conclusions up next spring with the hope of defending the whole thing early in the summer.
Not the case anymore. I've changed my topic several times and got stalled earlier this spring. Life happens. I still have a ton of reading, processing, and just plain ole thinking to do. the fantastic thing about my dissertation chair (wow, it's nice to be able to say that I have one) is that she understands how life happens and is understanding of my need to explore topics, research questions, etc. At the same time, she's also aware that "a good dissertation is a completed dissertation," I think she'll help me to stay on track. Best of all, her area of expertise is right up my alley, and she's supportive of letting me explore my own ideas.
A dissertation proposal tends to consist of the first three chapters: 1) the introduction, 2) the review of the literature, and 3) the methodology. I need to have these three chapters completed before I present them to my dissertation committee. Once I successfully defend the proposal, then I can start to collect data (in my case, start to interview undergraduates about my research topic).
I'll aim to keep to a schedule that looks somewhat like the the table, below (want to hear God laugh? Tell him (or her) your plans!):
|Friday, 8/5||A completed write-up of the pilot study I started this spring (thus removing the incomplete grade from my record)|
|Friday, 8/26||A draft of the lit review chapter (ch. 2), which will be an outgrowth of completing the pilot study|
|Friday, 9/30||A draft of the methodology chapter (ch. 3)|
|Friday, 10/21||A draft of the introductory chapter (ch. 1)|
|Friday, 11/11||Complete edits, and submit Proposal to Committee. Arrange defense date|
|Friday, 12/9||Defense better be completed by today!|