On the research path again… and a fork in the path….
After a two year hiatus during which I moved back across country, got divorced and remarried, as well as was caretaking mom, and settling back into a K-12 teaching environment, I’m back on the research trail.
I’m getting to the end of my ten year time limit, so it’s time to put the pedal to the medal if I’m going to accomplish this thing. The dean is also watching closely and back in October gave the ultimatum that I need to have an idea paper approved by June, or they are dropping me from the program.
At first I was afraid that I’d have the same problem that I’d have the last 8 years in not finding an advisor in my department that had interest in any of the topics that I was interested in, OR able to do in my district which still resides in the dark ages where technology is concerned. But luckily, I was able to hit on a topic and found a professor willing to work with me.
So I hustled and wrote a preliminary idea paper (5-6 pages) about the topic, had to submit it twice and it was accepted in January. I proceeded to write the Idea Paper (30 pages) with the intensive research that goes with it, and was able to submit it at the end of March. My advisor came back with some good suggestions for making it better, and I worked hard on getting those all done and back to her.
The revision took until Mid-May, and I was just ready to do a final check on the reference list and resubmit it. However, I had been trying all winter to meet with the Accountability Supervisor for my district (the person who would have to approve my research in the district). We had set up times to meet 3 times, but 2 were cancelled due to snow days, and the third she broke her wrist and couldn’t meet with me. We finally connected in mid-May and she had a concern about the topic being tough to do as it would involve K-12 students in the study. In addition, the study would need the cooperation of teachers using technology in the district and since technology is so limited in my district, it may have been hard to find enough teachers to have a good sample size. so we discussed changing the study to look at it from a teacher professional development viewpoint.
When I approached my advisor about it, she felt it was probably a good idea to change the topic. So she suggested writing a new pre-ID paper and submitting it. Since I had to simulate all my past research articles, and find new ones, to write the new topic, I had to hustle again. Whew! I’ve reviewed 80 articles in the last two weeks and gathered 24 more from my past library, and got a pre-lim paper done (turned out to be 15 pages – more than was needed). My advisor gave some more good suggestions that I suspected I was weak on, so it came back to me this last week to redo again.
So here I sit Memorial Day weekend, bustling to get the 2nd rewrite into her, hoping that I’ve found the focus needed to proceed with this study. I think I did what is needed, but we’ll see.
The good part is that this study will be a phenomenological (I have a hard time spelling that word, let alone pronouncing it when I go to defend my dissertation) 🙂 one which I’ve felt all along I needed to be doing. My topics have all been ones that are ahead of where mainstream research lies, and dealing with “phenonmena”, but my previous advisor felt that new researchers should not be looking at a study that hard to interpret.
However, I feel the timing is perfect for this one, and so far the existing research backs me up… so hopefully I’m on the way to being a researcher (and eventually a Ph.D.)!
Wish me luck!