Action Plan for Staying Motivated While Writing My Dissertation
Writing a dissertation is a big academic challenge as it requires a lot of dedication in terms of time and effort (Ryan, 2008). However, there are various ways in which the researcher can sustain his or her motivation during this period. Some of the ways that I have employed to keep up motivation while writing my dissertation are discussed below:
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Having a Study Group
When writing a dissertation, one must join a study group to obtain moral and intellectual support (Schensul, 2009). I joined such a group when I started working on my dissertation and it has helped me a lot in terms of moral support and dealing with the challenges that I encounter in the dissertation writing process. My group members also benefit from my support.
Creating a Dissertation Time-table
The period over which you are supposed to write your dissertation seems very long when starting but time moves very fast. To ensure that I stay focused and to avoid the last-minute rush in writing my dissertation, I have prepared a time-table allocating time to each critical part of the dissertation. I also make sure that I have followed the time-table strictly.
Taking Regular Breaks
It is crucial to take regular breaks while writing a dissertation to give your mind time for relaxation and to develop new ideas. Working on the research continuously is tedious and results in exhaustion and, consequently, low quality work. Thus I usually take regular breaks from my research to freshen up and regain vigor.
My Progress in Quantitative Reasoning and Analysis
This course has equipped me with a lot of skills and knowledge in qualitative reasoning, data collection, and analysis. In the area of data collection, I have gained skills in using interviews and focus groups to collect data. These are the most common techniques for gathering qualitative data. I have also made significant progress in analyzing qualitative data including performing content analysis on responses to open-ended questions and using SPSS software to analyze data. However, I would like to improve my skills in using Nvivo software for analyzing unstructured responses to questionnaires and in the literature review. Literature review plays a very vital role in the development of the research topic and clarifying research objectives. Therefore, I would like to improve my skills in this area so that I can come up with a more specific research problem and SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound) research objectives.
How the Course has helped me in determining an approach to my Dissertation Topic
This course has played a great role in helping me establish an approach to my research topic. The course recommends that upon identifying your research topic, you should consider the research objectives, research questions and hypotheses, and the significance of the research. Afterward, one should conduct a review of existing literature which is then followed by the research methodology. Data analysis is then performed on the research data and the research ends with a presentation of findings and recommendations. The course has helped me to follow a systematic approach as required by a researcher. It has also strengthened my confidence in my research topic. The faculty of Walden and members of other universities have recommended my research topic and ideas.
How using Qualitative research has informed my understanding of Research and Reading the Findings of a Research
Qualitative research helps to answer the ‘why’ questions of research as opposed to the ‘how’ questions which are answered by quantitative research. The ‘why’ questions are usually open-ended and their answers vary among different respondents. On the other hand, the ‘how’ questions are quantitative and numerical (Denzin, 2007).
Quantitative research helps a researcher to obtain insights into a research topic and to understand the factors behind respondents’ motivations, attitudes, and behavior. In contrast, quantitative research obtains precise findings to research problems and it does not apply to those research problems that do not have precise solutions (Pope, 2006). Nevertheless, such research problems abound in day to day life thus making qualitative research very important.
The quantitative research approach utilizes content analysis to summarize research data unlike in quantitative research where quantitative techniques such as graphs and statistics are used. Content analysis involves using quantitative nouns to describe respondents’ answers to research questions (Denzine, 2007).
How the Course fits into my Residency Milestone
The course has fitted very well into my residency. I have attended my third residency already and I am planning to attend the last one by the end of this year. Hence, I think everything is on the right track. Besides, the course has firmed up my choice of the dissertation topic and the timeline I had drawn for the dissertation.
The only lingering question is whether my chair and committee members will be available throughout the dissertation period for consultation and whether they will be proactive enough in guiding my research work.
Ryan, G. (2008). Field Research into Social Issues: Methodological Guidelines. Washington, DC: UNESCO.
Schensul, J. (2009). Ethnographer’s Toolkit. Walnut Creek, CA: Altamira Press.
Denzin, N. (2007). Handbook of Qualitative Research. London: Sage Publications.
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Pope, C. (2006). Qualitative Research in Health Care. London: BMJ Books.