If you ever intend on working as a faculty member at a university, ongoing research and contributions to the academic community are mandatory, and the earlier you develop your research skill-set, the better. I’ve had conversations with several people (who are outside of the university) who were under the false impression that once you scoop up a PhD, your research work is over, and then you can get yourself comfortably situated in a postsecondary institution, delivering lectures to the admiring hordes while resting upon your laurels. Nope, although that sounds lovely. If anything, the research gets more complex and longitudinal, so the Master’s is the perfect arena to experiment and get a little messy.
There’s nothing like seeing your question (and topic) staring at you every day to make you really consider whether or not you want to follow through with studying it. But, how do you get to a research question in the first place? The best advice I got was to choose three or four words that represent topics or phenomena that really interest you. Write them down in separate bubbles and start to look for the connections. How do the topics intersect? How are they different? What do you want to know about these topics? For example, my three words to start off with were a) vocational education; b) student experiences; and c) online education. As I learned more and continued to look for connections and differences, it became clear to me that online education was the piece that just wasn’t fitting. I took it off my list and through more reading and course work was able to add something that made the other two fit together in a way that made more sense to me.
The "thinking about it stage" is when you are finallyfaced with the reality of completing your degree. Usually the early phasesof a graduate program proceed in clear and very structured ways. The beginningphases of a graduate program proceed in much the same manner as an undergraduatedegree program. There are clear requirements and expectations, and the graduatestudent moves along, step by step, getting ever closer to the completionof the program. One day, however, the clear structure begins to diminishand now you're approaching the thesis/dissertation stage. This is a newand different time. These next steps are more and more defined by youand not your adviser, the program, or the department.
Usually a guide of this nature focuses on the actual implementationof the research. This is not the focus of this guide. Instead of examiningsuch aspects as identifying appropriate sample size, field testing theinstrument and selecting appropriate statistical tests, this guide looksat many of the quasi-political aspects of the process. Such topics as howto select a supportive committee, making a compelling presentation of yourresearch outcomes and strategies for actually getting the paper writtenare discussed.
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32. I hope you don't try circulating chapters of your dissertationto your committee members as you are writing them. I find this practiceto be most annoying and one that creates considerable problems for thestudent. You must work closely with your dissertation director. He/sheis the person you want to please. Develop a strategy with the dissertationdirector regarding how and when your writing should be shared. Only afteryour dissertation director approves of what you have done should you attemptto share it with the rest of the committee. And by then it's time for thedefense. If you prematurely share sections of your writing with committeemembers you will probably find yourself in a situation where one committeemember tells you to do one thing and another member says to do somethingelse. What should you do? The best answer is not to get yourself into sucha predicament. The committee meeting (the defense) allows the concernsof committee members to surface in a dialogical atmosphere where opposingviews can be discussed and resolved.
Instead, approach the prospect as you approach acting in general, and continue to seek all of the training you possibly can. (For helpful tips to do so, check out Backstage’s guide on How to Become an Actor, which is bursting with insight for training and beyond.)What are the differences between acting in a theme park and acting onstage or on camera?Though there are many similarities between theme park performance and other forms of acting (many of which we’ve mentioned above), there are unique aspects of theme park gigs that you may not experience elsewhere in your career. Don’t be caught off guard; check them out below:When you book a role in a play or musical, that’s generally the role you will have for the duration of the show (with the exception of understudies or covers who might get bumped up). The same applies to television and film: when you land a job as a series regular or supporting part in a film, you’re not going to thoroughly redefine the part halfway through the production.
A new calendar year is upon us, and this prompts us to set goals and make New Year’s resolutions. Some people strive to eat healthier, exercise more often, or spend more time with loved ones. I have made personal resolutions in the past, however, this year I want to switch my attention to a few academic resolutions. My PhD coursework is now complete; my next goal is to prepare for the dreaded comprehensive exam. I want to finish the comprehensive exam in the spring of 2015 so my summer is open for submitting ethics. I will compose another post specifically focusing on the comprehensive exam later; for now, I will share with you what motherhood has taught me about graduate studies so far.
My journey towards a thesis began before I even began my courses. Knowing that I was interested in pursuing graduate work, I began researching topics of interest nearly a year before beginning the MEd. Initially, I thought I was going to be investigating students who are gifted, and I read through several prominent books to get a snapshot of the current educational landscape. However, as I soon learned, there is a certain organic quality to research, and nothing was really speaking to me in that field. Shortly afterwards, I read a particular article linking gifted students to another field, and I happily switched tracks.
In my case, the board where I reside is not currently accepting new research, they’re already saturated with researchers and they can’t allow any more projects. So I had to look elsewhere, and the school in which I will eventually be working in is approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes away. Not only do I have to consider how this will impact the frequency of my data collection, I also have to consider vehicle rental costs (as I don’t currently own a vehicle). It’s a balancing act … too few times at the school could mean I don’t get enough information, but going down too frequently would drain both my energy and my finances. This is where my passion comes in; ultimately, I think the work that will arise out of this project is worth the cost of my time and money, so I see it as an investment as opposed to simply expenditure.