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Planning the Dissertation Project
 

Planning the Dissertation Project

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By failing to plan the dissertation, one is instead planning to fail it. Learn about the steps in planning the dissertation project from creating an outline, calendar timeline, and forming a ...

By failing to plan the dissertation, one is instead planning to fail it. Learn about the steps in planning the dissertation project from creating an outline, calendar timeline, and forming a committee.

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    Planning the Dissertation Project Planning the Dissertation Project Presentation Transcript

    • Planning theDissertation RWJF || GRC
    • • “Many academics will tell you that students who fail to plan their dissertation project accurately and substantially are actually planning to fail it inadvertently. “
    • • Translation: If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.
    • How Long Is It?• “A dissertation should be just as long as it takes to defend the research, but no longer.
    • How Long Is It?• Mathematical Dissertations: 50-80 pages• Biology: 4-5 papers• Anthropology: ~400 pages or 3 papers + intro, conclusion
    • How Long Is It?• As long as your committee decides it should be.
    • Envision the Final Product• How long will it be? What must be said in the document?
    • Read.• To get a handle of what your dissertation will look like, read those from people in your department/field.
    • Read.• For a moral boost, read the dissertations of your committee members.
    • Strategies for Writing• The Outline• Writing Groups/Circles• Calendar
    • The Outline• Generally, your committee will ask for an outline of your dissertation• This can be a powerful tool for organizing your approach to the project.
    • The Outline• Include citations and other details in your outline - make it something useful for you.
    • The Outline◦ Forchammer’s forest transition argument coupled with midden deposits ■ Johan Forchhammer (1794 - 1865), considered the father of Danish Geology, oversaw a commission on shell middens with Steenstrup and Worsae. They studied the middens on Sjaelland and identified that the middens had formed in a mixed fir, pine, and oak forest.◦ Development of Palynology ■ The first significant pollen classifications originate in John Lindley’s 1830 work on orchidaceous plants. Trybom (1888) identified pine and spruce pollen in a Swedish Quaternary lake deposit, arguing that they could be used as index fossils for the period. C.A. Weber (1893) developed the first quantitative presentations of pollen. His were also the first figures to use relative frequencies. ■ Blytte (1876) and Sernander (1908; 1910) identified alternating warm and dry periods following the retreat of glacial ice - developing a model for forest succession that could be easily recognized in pollen assemblages across Europe. ■ Lennart von Post developed the first pollen diagrams (1916) that displayed frequencies of pollen per sample over time, a method of analysis that continues to dominate palynology today. ■ Rudolph (1931) developed the first forest transition model for Holocene Europe, idenfitying four key phases, including 1) Betula-Pinus, 2) Corylus, 3) Quercetum mixtum, 4) Fagus. ■ Iversen (1946) revised von Prost’s original pollen diagrams to hold arboreal pollen equal with anemophilous herbs and Ericales. These combined totals became the percentage. This helped demonstrate changes in forest density. ■ Fagerlind (1952) identified problems with non-linearity as pollen abundance data is expressed as relative relationships. ■ Sugita (1995) developed a model to estimate pollen contributions to lakes, establishing a model of source area productivity. She identified 50m as an important threshold for distance.◦ Dendroclimatology ■ A.E. Douglass (1867 - 1962) developed the science of dendroclimatology in 1894 while working for the Lowell Observatory. ■ Clark Wissler (1870 - 1947) suggested to Douglass in 1918 that by counting the tree rings in Aztec Ruin and Pueblo Bonito, he could determine when they were built. The resulting analysis revealed that the last timbers of Pueblo Bonito predate Aztec Ruin by 40-50 years.
    • The Outline• It can also be helpful to include estimated word lengths for each section of the outline.• e.g. “Discussion on the influence of the Cold War on Marxist Thought, 800 words”
    • The Outline◦ Forchammer’s forest transition argument coupled with midden deposits ■ Johan Forchhammer (1794 - 1865), considered the father of Danish Geology, oversaw a commission on shell middens with Steenstrup and Worsae. They studied the middens on Sjaelland and identified that the middens had formed in a mixed fir, pine, and oak forest. (600 words)◦ Development of Palynology: (5000 words) ■ The first significant pollen classifications originate in John Lindley’s 1830 work on orchidaceous plants. Trybom (1888) identified pine and spruce pollen in a Swedish Quaternary lake deposit, arguing that they could be used as index fossils for the period. C.A. Weber (1893) developed the first quantitative presentations of pollen. His were also the first figures to use relative frequencies. (600 words) ■ Blytte (1876) and Sernander (1908; 1910) identified alternating warm and dry periods following the retreat of glacial ice - developing a model for forest succession that could be easily recognized in pollen assemblages across Europe. (400 words) ■ Lennart von Post developed the first pollen diagrams (1916) that displayed frequencies of pollen per sample over time, a method of analysis that continues to dominate palynology today. (700 words) ■ Rudolph (1931) developed the first forest transition model for Holocene Europe, idenfitying four key phases, including 1) Betula-Pinus, 2) Corylus, 3) Quercetum mixtum, 4) Fagus. (200 words) ■ Iversen (1946) revised von Prost’s original pollen diagrams to hold arboreal pollen equal with anemophilous herbs and Ericales. These combined totals became the percentage. This helped demonstrate changes in forest density. (800 words) ■ Fagerlind (1952) identified problems with non-linearity as pollen abundance data is expressed as relative relationships. ■ Sugita (1995) developed a model to estimate pollen contributions to lakes, establishing a model of source area productivity. She identified 50m as an important threshold for distance. (100 words)◦ Dendroclimatology: (2000 words) ■ A.E. Douglass (1867 - 1962) developed the science of dendroclimatology in 1894 while working for the Lowell Observatory. (1000 words) ■ Clark Wissler (1870 - 1947) suggested to Douglass in 1918 that by counting the tree rings in Aztec Ruin and Pueblo Bonito, he could determine when they were built. The resulting analysis revealed that the last timbers of Pueblo Bonito predate Aztec Ruin by 40-50 years. (1000 words)
    • The Outline• Color codes • Red for parts being written • Purple for parts finished • Green for parts that need more info.
    • The Outline◦ Forchammer’s forest transition argument coupled with midden deposits ■ Johan Forchhammer (1794 - 1865), considered the father of Danish Geology, oversaw a commission on shell middens with Steenstrup and Worsae. They studied the middens on Sjaelland and identified that the middens had formed in a mixed fir, pine, and oak forest.◦ Development of Palynology ■ The first significant pollen classifications originate in John Lindley’s 1830 work on orchidaceous plants. Trybom (1888) identified pine and spruce pollen in a Swedish Quaternary lake deposit, arguing that they could be used as index fossils for the period. C.A. Weber (1893) developed the first quantitative presentations of pollen. His were also the first figures to use relative frequencies. ■ Blytte (1876) and Sernander (1908; 1910) identified alternating warm and dry periods following the retreat of glacial ice - developing a model for forest succession that could be easily recognized in pollen assemblages across Europe. ■ Lennart von Post developed the first pollen diagrams (1916) that displayed frequencies of pollen per sample over time, a method of analysis that continues to dominate palynology today. ■ Rudolph (1931) developed the first forest transition model for Holocene Europe, idenfitying four key phases, including 1) Betula-Pinus, 2) Corylus, 3) Quercetum mixtum, 4) Fagus. ■ Iversen (1946) revised von Prost’s original pollen diagrams to hold arboreal pollen equal with anemophilous herbs and Ericales. These combined totals became the percentage. This helped demonstrate changes in forest density. ■ Fagerlind (1952) identified problems with non-linearity as pollen abundance data is expressed as relative relationships. ■ Sugita (1995) developed a model to estimate pollen contributions to lakes, establishing a model of source area productivity. She identified 50m as an important threshold for distance.◦ Dendroclimatology ■ A.E. Douglass (1867 - 1962) developed the science of dendroclimatology in 1894 while working for the Lowell Observatory. ■ Clark Wissler (1870 - 1947) suggested to Douglass in 1918 that by counting the tree rings in Aztec Ruin and Pueblo Bonito, he could determine when they were built. The resulting analysis revealed that the last timbers of Pueblo Bonito predate Aztec Ruin by 40-50 years.
    • Powerpoint• If it helps, make a powerpoint instead of an outline (or along with one).• It is a form of organization you are likely familiar with by this point, and it can be a familiar way to organize ideas and concepts
    • Powerpoint• If you make a powerpoint, record yourself giving the presentation. Then listen to your self. You can quickly find weak points in your argument, as well as places to shift emphasis.
    • Writing Groups / Circles• The bad news is that you have to write a book.• The good news is that you are on a campus with thousands of people facing the same challenge.
    • Writing Groups• A writing group can be a way to check up with peers who are working on the dissertation. You meet once per week, and share work.
    • Writing Groups• Check up groups are used mainly to keep tabs on each other to see how things are progressing.• Writing groups are used to provide feedback and strengthen writing.
    • Writing Groups• pPE • p: Your peers, people who can look at your first draft. • P: Professors, people familiar with your work who can provide feedback. • E: Experts, the professional community in your field.
    • Writing Circles• You can also simply send out your work for peers to read.• Are there other students in your department who you can share work with? Can you provide comments back to them?
    • Writing CircleTry to start a proofreading circle among your friends. Offer toproofread your friend’s papers. Be critical, use lots of red ink.Make them mad. That way, they’ll be happy to return the favor.
    • Calendar• Develop a calendar for each stage of the project.• Include specific benchmarks.
    • Calendar• 3 hours scheduled on a Thursday for writing the dissertation is good.• Identifying December 1st as the date to have the methods section done is better.
    • Calendar• ...but “Finish the section on Dudalsik’s work (2004)” is best of all.• Set small manageable goals, and give yourself a deadline.
    • Calendar• The biggest benefit to having a calendar is having an accountability system.• In this sense, it serves one of the primary functions of a writing group.
    • Writing • The Rule of Threes The Whole Thesis What the Thesis will Say Details of the Work What the Thesis Said (Introduction) (Body) (Conclusion)Source: http://www.cs.toronto.edu/~sme/presentations/thesiswriting.pdf
    • Writing • The Rule of Threes Each Chapter What this Section Says The Details What this Section Said (Signposting) (Body) (Summary)Source: http://www.cs.toronto.edu/~sme/presentations/thesiswriting.pdf
    • Writing • The Rule of Threes Each Paragraph Link with Previous Conclude Idea, Link with The Details Paragraph Next Paragraph (Signposting) (Body) (Summary)Source: http://www.cs.toronto.edu/~sme/presentations/thesiswriting.pdf
    • References• Develop a filing system for your literature
    • References• Develop a filing system for your literature
    • Editing• Separate Editing and Writing.• Write your thoughts down.• Edit them a few weeks to a month later.
    • Editing• Don’t let the desire to produce a first, polished draft detract from your writing. It doesn’t have to be perfect.• The best writing is finished writing.
    • Final Thoughts• Make a list of your priorities right now. What is #1 to you? #2? #3?• Make a second list. What is taking up most of your time?
    • Final Thoughts• You have sacrificed a great deal to come to Albuquerque and accomplish the Ph.D. How much of each day is spent on it?
    • Final Thoughts
    • It’s Tough.
    • Final Thoughts•“In preparing for battle, I have always found that plans are useless but planning is indispensable” - Dwight D. Eisenhower