Friday, September 28, 2007


The second chapter--a megalo-chapter with probably too much conceptual hefting--is nearly drafted. Granted, it's a raw, rough draft, but I'm generally happy with it, happy, more than anything, with the paces I've been able to manage by writing on it each and every day (of the week). At close to 60 pages, it will almost certainly be the longest chapter in the diss. Sixty probably sounds like a long chapter, but it's not so much when you consider that it allows about 10-15 pages per concept, and it's difficult to imagine doing less with this conceptual groundwork than I have already. If anything, the chapter needs airing out, expansion, and more explanation where I've gone thin (including tired or lazy). I wouldn't be surprised at all if my committee encourages me to split it into two chapters to allow more breathing room. Rough though it is, it's a start. And it does, more or less effectively, what I promised in the prospectus that it would do. That much is reassuring.

I still have a couple of pages to go, and right now I have included just one image, although two or three more still need to be added. Based on the measure of 300 words to a page, I was thinking that at 15,000 words, it would be about 50 pages, but right now it's up around 15,700 words and 58 pages.

Chapter one is next. I think I've been every bit as prepared to write this one as the second one. I have a clear sense of what I will try to accomplish in the first chapter and how, approximately, it will move from point to point. It should last for maybe 35-40 pages, and to keep to this, I will have to be careful (i.e., highly controlled) in navigating a couple of the quagmires, such as the matter of diswamplinarity. I still have to make a couple of decisions about how to avoid sinking up to my knees in the "internal problematic" of diswamplinarity.

And then, and then, and then. I have been trying to switch between working the data and writing. The data still needs more work--painstaking (i.e., Oh merciful one, what have I done to deserve this?) coding, copying and pasting and sorting, looking up details, building XML files, and so on. It will neither kill me nor make me stronger, but the lines and lines of data will have to be well in hand before I can do much with chapters three through five. I guess those three chapters are what we could call methods chapters, but I've had to get used to the idea that this project doesn't follow the well-worn path when it comes to dissertations. I don't mind that it doesn't follow the distributive formulism of intro + lit. review + methodology + application + pedagogy or implications = Ph.D. I'm sort of doing some lit. reviewy stuff in the second chapter, but it's also concept reviewy--the defining of terms that often happens in the first chapter, so I've heard. And the diss doesn't offer a topical inquiry as much as scope and promote a new methodology, so the whole thing, you might say, is loaded up with chapters on methods.

Before the end of the semester, I'd like to draft the first two chapters and build a couple of the models for chapters three through five. For the next ten weeks, that means wrapping up the massaging of data and getting down chapter one. There's a rough plan for what will follow, but I won't bother rehashing that right now. I'm just trying to drop a buoy in the Sea-of-Diss so that when my head clears in a few months, I will have left a trail to help me retrace what happened.

Bookmark and Share Posted by at September 28, 2007 4:00 PM to Dissertation

Way to go, Derek! Lots of good work there.

Posted by: billie at September 28, 2007 4:18 PM