My PhD Journey
A Written Dissertation… I didn’t really know how quickly I would make it to this point. I ordered my graduation ring last year with 2015 etched into the side. I don’t know if that put pressure on me or just put stress on me thinking that I may have to it fixed to read 2016. Here I am on October 1, 2015 with a mentor approved dissertation ready to submit to committee.
It doesn’t feel real. I feel like there is still so much more to do. It won’t be long and I will be opening up my package that has my degree placed inside. I will be able to wear the doctoral robes that I have been dreaming of. I will be able to apply for those online teaching positions that I have been dying to qualify for. I will be of the 2% of Americans who completed their Ph.D. program. Not only that, I will be a “Distinguished Graduate” because I am graduating with a 3.89 GPA. Me? A 3.89 GPA? Who would have thought?
It will be exciting to see what Heavenly Father has in store for me. For now, I will take my written dissertation and get past final defense.
First, if you plan to use NVivo I would highly suggest using it on a PC instead of a Mac. There are many more resources and how to videos available for PC use than Mac use. Though some of the same strategies work on the Mac, they don’t work as well. For example, on a PC you can drag and drop your text into nodes; on a Mac it is best to right click to purge them into the nodes.
Second, you should not be expecting NVivo to do the coding for you. NVivo is able to identify repeating words, not repeating thoughts or concepts. Your computer can not comprehend a thought, it can only execute commands. You still need to read and re-read your data to properly complete the data analysis process.
Now you may be wondering if NVivo does not actually analyze the data then what good is it, why should you purchase it right? NVivo is great for keeping everything organized without having to remember specific numerical codes. This is enough for me to use it. Remember, I only have the “Mac Experience” so it may work completely differently on a PC, which would explain why it is more expensive for the PC.
I like how you can transcribe an interview within the program and then export it to a word document for participants to review. Again, this command works differently on a Mac versus a PC.
After I transcribed my interviews I began reviewing the and placing them into nodes. Once I organized the interviews into broad categories I took and reviewed each node/category to identify subcategories. Once I completed the subcategory coding I went back into them and made a word document to group the subcategories into related topics to identify the re-occuring themes and how often they reoccured.
NVivo is a useful program for organization of analysis. The program cannot do a qualitative analysis automatically.
I have my pre-data collection coming up next Tuesday and I have to say, I don’t feel ready. Fortunately, I have also been asked to give a talk and teach a class on Sunday so I am hopeful that I will be able to build my confidence with that “practice. My mentor believes I am ready and she told me I did a great job on my first run through of the PowerPoint Presentation.
After I finish this call I will be ready to start collecting “data” by scheduling my interviews. I still have find another participant but I am still hopeful that I can blast this out. My 2015 graduation is starting to become a distant hope because I have had to play the waiting game so much. Trying to keep my spirits up and head high as I push forward.
This week/month has been difficult for me as I have been concerned about my abilities in general. I sometimes focus on the wrong things, the odds that I would have ever gotten to where I am. After reaching out to peers I remembered what I got me this far, the simple faith that I can. I can do anything I want do.
Earning a degree has nothing to do with your past or your background; it has everything to do with your faith in yourself and your determination. You need to stay focused and organized, keep your eye on the ball, and keep going!