I’ve been revising my prospectus draft over that past 2 weeks or so.  I’ve come to realize that revising for me is very SLOW.  Here are some thoughts about my own revision process.

1.  I’m constantly distracted when I’m revising.  I usually have email and Facebook open and minimized when I am writing.  When things get hard or I get distracted, I’m easily drawn away.  Sometimes I feel like this is necessary – the mind needs a break.  Other times I know I’m being unproductive.  But it’s hard to sit there and just WRITE for hours without a break.

2.  I do a lot of what Rebecca Moore Howard would call “patch-writing.”  When I can’t think of how to analyze or incorporate a quotation, I often cut and paste it into my draft and the mess around with it.  I re-read authors’ exact words.  I go back to my own words and revise.

3.  I don’t know how I’d revise without cut and paste.  I cut so much and paste it into a “discard” document.  I cut and rearrange constantly.  How did people do this when they had to do it manually?  I seem to remember using the asterisk system in years past – writing, by hand, an asterisk to add in or rearrange parts of sentences.

4.  Re-reading becomes procrastination.  I know I’m putting off the hard work of revision when I’m reading my intro yet again and tweaking words, probably for about the 5th time.

5.  Sometimes a paragraph or a passage just clicks in, so to speak, and it sounds great.  It’s really hard for me to revise these “clicked in” passages because they are so fluid and make so much sense to me.  It’s hard to add or change what’s there sometimes.

6.  Revising is tiring!  After so many hours, my brain turns off.  I don’t know if I can really do a full 8 hour day of straight up revising.

7.  What I do know is that when I took the Amtrak train to Chicago a few weeks ago, I had probably one of the most productive revision sessions ever.  And I didn’t have internet access.  I was forced to just sit there and go go go for 4 hours straight.  So maybe that’s a strategy I’ll try to tomorrow – no email, no posting, no distractions, at least from the Web.

Speaking of distractions, back to the draft I go.

Defense is in 10 days!


moving along…

I’ve taken a hiatus from posting for the last week or so, and in the meantime, I’ve actually gotten a lot done on the prospectus.  The plan is to turn in the document this week.  My defense date is only one month away!  I also realized that the defense date is March 15…the ides of March!  I hope my best friend (or anyone for that matter) doesn’t stab me to death on the day! 

The work I’ve completed over the last week includes redoing the introduction and the research questions.  I wrote the questions in narrative style, so I no longer have 1) 2) 3), etc, but instead paragraphs articulating the questions and giving context for them.  I’m liking it a lot more than previous versions.  I’ve also gone through and planned methods for data collection and analysis.  This is foreign-ish territory to me, as the only study I’ve ever conducted that had official “methods” is the pilot qualitative study I did last semester for a course.  I’ve read many articles that have an official “methods” section though, so I’m drawing from that knowledge in part.  Today I wrote a conclusion, which was basically a summary section of all that came before.  I’m not sure how proposal documents actually end: now I’m going off to do this?  Please say yes?  haha. 

I’m meeting with some colleagues tomorrow to get feedback on my first 4 pages.  I hope that my study and rationale is clear right from the opening, so that’s what we’ll discuss. 

I do have in the draft right now a “sample analysis” section that is supposed to be a video.  I think I will spend some time this afternoon making something and see if I think it could fit there.  Otherwise the sample analysis can be regular old paragraphs, too, like I did in my qual study paper last fall. 



Since my last post, I met with one of my committee members and one of my co-chairs and discussed the differing perspectives I’ve been receiving.  One of them told me that part of the prospectus defense is actually defending the kind of study I want to do for the committee (shocking, I know).  The point being that it’s normal (esp. with 5 committee members) for a few not to agree with everything completely, and part of my job in the written document and in the defense will be for me to make a case to do the study the way I want to and think is best.

Sooooo…..I’m going with having other instructors implement my unit, I think, unless something major happens to change my mind.  I think the pilot work I’ve done in my own classroom over the past 3 years has prepared me enough to be able to design a specific, useful unit that others can implement.

So back I went to working on the prospectus.  Today I really dug into the conceptual framework section and changed a lot.  I’m grappling with if and how I want to try and include my assessment model in the paper as a “pedagogical model” or something.

I’m going to work tomorrow and see if I can get the CF mapped out and start working on the actual unit that I would implement in a classroom.  So tonight…to bed and rest, and hopefully to rise early tomorrow and get back to it.