Dissertation Proposal

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On November 26, 2019, I successfully defended my dissertation proposal for my PhD in Educational Psychology and Educational Technology through Michigan State University’s College of Education. I have shared the full text of my proposal here: https://bretsw.github.io/dissertation-proposal-text/

You can scroll through my presentation slides for the defense below (use the arrow keys) or view them here.

At the end of the defense, I asked my committee for advice on sustaining a project as large as the dissertation, and they offered some great wisdom. I thought I should share:

  • Set the dissertation as your job.
    • The dissertation gets first priority and best energy.
    • Touch the dissertation every day. It takes a lot of mental energy to get back into it after being away for a while.
  • The dissertation will happen when you want it to. The writing is not linear, but often happens in bursts when motivation is high.
    • Sometimes the data will energize your writing, so lean into that.
    • Other times, the data will be depressing. Reach out to a committee member to chat when that happens.
  • Plan vacations and be intentional about time away from the dissertation.
  • Start or join a writing group.
    • Swap bits of writing and coded data for analysis.
    • Exchange services as second coders for inter-rater reliability purposes.