Do you ever look back on your grad school journey and wonder how the heck you made it so far? Well, now that I’ve successfully defended my dissertation, that’s where I’m at.
I’m not sure how I made it through the last seven years. I do, however, have a better sense of what it took to finish the dissertation. In this post, I am sharing 6 things I learned in the last few months of writing my dissertation.
Happy November! In case you missed it, in August I decided to make my blogging comeback with a round-up of resources centered around a back-to-school theme. In honor of last month’s installment bringing us to ten posts on the topic, this month’s round-up is all about the hidden curriculum.
The hidden curriculum series began nearly two years ago (the first post went live on January 28, 2021). As each post reminds us, the series was borne from the observation that there is a lot that we, as academics, are expected to know but are never taught.
I figured it might be helpful to have all the posts in the series to date all in one place for ease of access.
In addition, you will find related posts providing general advice and resources, as well as links to other resources I’ve found useful from around the internet (mostly Twitter).
Given the choice between Scrivener, Microsoft Word, and Google Docs, which would you choose?
Institutions are pretty strict about the format in which a thesis should be submitted. However, there are no rules about what word processing application you can use during the writing process.
How you decide which application to use depends primarily on your budget, your writing style, and what features you need.
In this post, we’ll compare Scrivener, Microsoft Word, and Google Docs. We’ll go over the strengths and weaknesses of each, so that you can make the best choice for you. After that, your thesis writing process will (hopefully) be smooth sailing.
For those of you who are new here, the hidden curriculum includes a set of things we’re expected to know how to do, from attending a conference for the first time to applying for funding to going on the job market, without actually being taught them. This month I’m talking the dissertation prospectus: what it is and how to write it.
Congratulations, you’re a PhD candidate! You might be either celebrating the fact that you are done with exams and coursework or tentatively wondering, “Now what?” (Or both.)
While you are definitely free from the constraints of courses and teaching, there still remains one final hurdle before you’re really free (aka ABD): the dissertation prospectus. In this post, I offer some general guidance for navigating this onerous and often inadequately explained requirement.
As with everything, the timeline for writing and submitting the dissertation prospectus may vary somewhat from department to department. However, in general, there are certain steps that you usually must follow before officially changing your email signature to include “ABD” (all but dissertation).
These steps are, roughly:
Assemble dissertation committee, including deciding on a chair or co-chairs, and submit through appropriate channels
Consult with committee members about dissertation topic and possible approaches
Draft dissertation prospectus
Defend prospectus (aka meet with your committee members to discuss your draft)
Complete revisions and submit prospectus to department for final approval
This post focuses primarily on writing the prospectus. If you want to know more about how to approach other steps in this process – such as how to choose who’s on your committee or how to prepare for and what to expect at a defense – let me know!
The hidden curriculum series is back! For those of you who are new here, the hidden curriculum includes a set of things we’re expected to know how to do, from attending a conference for the first time to applying for funding to going on the job market, without actually being taught them. Since I signed up for a Dissertation ECoach last term, I thought I’d share a few tips that I found most helpful from it.
Dissertation ECoach – What is it?
The Dissertation ECoach is an interactive digital messaging tool that draws on dissertation writing strategies to affect graduate students’ writing practice. It was developed by several teaching and writing centers at the University of Michigan, and ran weekly for the duration of the Winter term (Jan-Apr).
Through the ECoach portal, graduate students who are starting to write their dissertation receive personalized messages that influence a positive writing process. The personalized feedback that students receive helps them engage with more effective writing practices.