The dissertation was only the beginning.

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Doctoral University: where I got my Ph.D.
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Monday, March 13, 2006
Flood of Feedback
After a weekend of working on the house and playing with ST in the sunshine, it's time to get back to the dissertation. This morning I received, via email, comments on Chapters 1-5 from Prof. G., who has been my mentor from the day I stepped foot on the campus of Doctoral University during my campus visit in March 2000.

As I've mentioned before, Prof. G. is the founder and editor of a major journal in my discipline. Indeed, he's been editing journals of various stature for over 50 years now, and so it's fair to say that the editorial hat is never off. Because of this, drafts in the double digits are fully expected when one has Prof. G. as an advisor. I think I lost count of the drafts of my prospectus, but it was at least 12. This drives me batty, but it will not change, and I've simply accepted it.

Anyway, Prof. G.'s comments were extraordinarily useful, as always. He takes a lot of time with everything I send him, giving me two sets of comments: 1.) an overall assessment of whatever I've sent, pointing to strengths and weaknesses, triumphs and opportunities; and 2.) a full, line-by-line commentary in the text of my draft. This is great. Indeed, this is what many scholars, notably him, crave from their committees: real attention to the nitty gritty of the research and the way it's presented.

So, now I have two full sets of comments from my two dissertation advisors. Pages and pages and pages of comments and questions about my work. Challenges to my thinking. Revisions of my writing. Questions about the data. Suggestions for further refining the hypotheses. Comments on word choice. Comments even on the layout of tables and line graphs.

Suffice it to say, I am overwhelmed. As I continue to write on The Case Study With No End, at the back of my mind I am thinking about how to respond to all of these comments. As I mentioned in my last post, none of the comments are damning -- all of them point to things I should modify to make my dissertation an even stronger document. Both of my advisors like where the dissertation is going and how it's organized, but both have a slew of suggestions for enhancing it. At what point do the thoughtful comments stop being helpful to me? At what point should I say, "OK -- enough. Thanks for reading, but you're driving me nuts!" I find that, in contrast to Articulate Dad, I really wish I'd have a little silence from my committee so I could work in peace.
Posted with care by Prof. Me @ 3/13/2006 01:03:00 PM  
1 Words of Wisdom:
  • At 2:16 PM, Blogger ArticulateDad said…

    Ah, there's got to be some middle ground here. Feast or famine; drought or flood. Ain't there nothing in between?

    It's funny, the more I think about it, I'm not sure I really wanted all that much feedback. A little bit of expand this section ... cut this ... what about ...? ... Have you read this article?

    What I really want? I just want a job! That'd be good feedback: hey, we love you; we want to hire you.

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