I met with my dissertation chair Wednesday. She has been incredibly understanding and supportive, although clearly long suffering as it has been nearly four years since I completed my comps and two and a half years since I defended my research prospectus. She understands the obstacles for someone with a full teaching load of 15 hours and the associated responsibilities of being a full-time faculty member. As we talked about the deadlines for a spring defense and graduation, my hopes were high they all seemed possible. Then the hammer came down, one of the deadlines is probably not possible. We will be asking for clarification, but my hopes for a spring graduation have probably been dashed. This was the low point for the week.
Although this will probably be disappointing news, I knew I must press on and gradually what I have learned about surviving the dissertation journey may be starting to pay off. I protected my time this weekend and completed some short term goals I had established for myself. First, I completed the third and fourth coding iterations of the seventh participant interview, Second, I have formatted the eighth and longest interview and loaded it into Atlas.ti, the qualitative data analysis software I am using. The first iteration of my 65 page transcript of interview 8 is to be completed by tomorrow night. I have established an intermediate goal of completing the last three interviews by February 16th and completing the draft of the findings chapter by the end of the month. During the week I have used the memo function in the software to make reflexive journal entries and have continued to synthesize and clarify the codes as I go. I have added several participant quotes or passages to the findings chapter, which is another ongoing process. I am excited that I am moving forward again and that I will be able to report significant progress at the weekly Wednesday morning dissertation meeting with my dissertation chair.
The participant interviews were completed from May of 2014 to December of 2014. The transcriptions of the interviews were completed by January of 2015. I have been living with the data from the interviews for the last year. Every time I read the research participants' success stories I am inspired by their courage and their determination. Their stories are indeed tales of hero’s journeys. I have completed four iterations of seven interviews. I have four iterations each of the last three interviews. This process has become significantly faster, and as such I have set some ambitious goals for completing this stage of the journey. I will be reporting on the findings as part of my institutions faculty lecture series on March 4th and presenting a final thematic analysis of the data to the university phenomenology group on March 8th. I am praying that I can keep the momentum building as I prepare to complete the most arduous phase of the journey and start down the final leg of my dissertation journey.
Until next week...