State of the Dissertation: The Second TAP Approacheth

Here we are in August, and my second Thesis Advisory Panel meeting is fast approaching. Because of schedules, both mine and my supervisor’s, my TAP will be a bit early, in the very beginning of September. That, coupled with leaving for WAC at the very end of August, means that right now I have 10 days (including weekends, and I think I’ve mentioned before how I feel about work/life balance and weekends?), to get everything together to submit.

As it stands, this is what I’m considering turning in/presenting:

  • Ch 1, Introduction, 2000 words
  • Ch 2, Ethics section and subsections, 5000 words
  • Ch 2, Methodology section and subsections, 3000 words
  • Ch 2, Theory section and subsections, 3000 words
  • Glossary, 3000 words (that don’t count towards my total word count)
  • A Gantt chart of my progress so far
  • The data collection forms I’ve made (digital forms, because this project is 0 paper)
  • My ethics forms for the formal review process

The big thing I’m not turning in, and what will keep me from going through the confirmation to PhD process, is the formalized literature review.

When I changed my organizational/chapter structure about a month ago (which was absolutely the right thing for me to do), I broke up the literature review from one big chapter into focused sections that would address specific areas as needed, The reorganization also came alongside finally getting a handle on what theory was relevant. So the literature review I had in progress is now out of sync with how I’m organized, and not focused on what I’m actually doing. It is too sprawling and open, and basically, unusable. Without a literature review I can’t be vetted for confirmation though, so, that has to get done and settled by March, or it’s game over PhD and hello MPhil (aka, failure.)

Even my shoes are a bit pessimistic right now.
Even my shoes are a bit pessimistic right now.

I’m trying not to panic, but I believe in being honest about how this process really functions, so…I’m panicking, a lot. I think the written work I’ve done is good enough, but I just don’t know if I’ve done enough written work, and I don’t know if the amount of non-written work it took to get to that written work is evident.

I really don’t want to get sent home.