My friend is semi-familiar with my topic I guess. We are in the same program both getting Psy D’s with a concentration in child and adolescent psychology. My dissertation is on the parenting experiences of latino parents of children ith autism whereas hers is on the correlation between exposire to sexual material online and child sexual abuse. So from my perspective it’s pretty different yet compared to yours I guess there are more similarities…
Anyway, what we did is we traded proposals and I showed her my methodology chapter. It’s helpful because we are not familiar with each other’s topics so we can read it from a frewsh perspective. We can ask questions to make the writing clearer. And at the same time even though the topics are differnt we can kinda serve as a “template” for eacch other. I think that one of the hardest things about dissertations and thesis can be that we have no idea what it’s supposed to look like and at least in my school they act like its a big secret and like they cant tell us. Its so wacky. What I started doing is looking at several dissertations that were similar in scope to mine with similar methodology and basically use them as a template and also a place to find more references.
Another thing that has been helpful for me personally has been to read through my articles and highlight relevant pieces then to rate each article 1-10 according to how useful I felt it was. Then when I go back to start putting things into my dissertation I can choose which articles are more important and should go in. I also write down notes on each article at the top. I created an outline of what I think my dissertation is going to be like and then I just start typing in the quotes into each section. So basically right now I have several word documents (a folder for each chapter, docs for each section) and have been plugginng away. Then when I have enough I form it into eactual paragraphs.
My research was an oroginal study in which I collected data for a pilot program that my original chair wrote a grant to run. She was amazing but passed away and now I’m with this new chair who hasn’t responded to my emails in 2 months. Ugh. But if yuo want to use a secondary data set and not bother with collecting original data sources there are plenty of places that have data sets available. You can just enter in different variables and find something they havent looked at.
Hope this helps. I’ve been so lost with mine it’s nice to have a place for support where maybe the info that has been so difficult for me to find can be helpful for others and where I can hear how others are doing in this journey!
So in summary:
1. It’s okay to get help from people not familair, in some cases more helpful
2. look at other dissertations from your program/field. Use them as a loose template
3. Outlines rock my socks
4. Rate each article’s effectiveness and make brief summaries. I plug in info directly into my outline
5. Secondary data is the way to go because original data collection took me over 144 hrs. you can find secondary data: