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FOCUSING

As some readers may know, I was a prolific and addicted forum poster, and with my flight to thesis writing, I no longer have this venue to engage me in my studying.  Consequently, I have been experiencing significant lateral drift, mostly away from studying!  Which is both extremely inconsistent with independent study and also very harmful to the progress of thesis writing!  What to do about this?

Reflecting on a late summer afternoon, after reading Creswell (2003, p.54): “All experienced writers know that writing is thinking and conceptualizing a topic”, I concluded that my discussion forum posts were instrumental in my success so far in the program, as they served the purpose of putting my thinking into writing, which I was later able to repackage into paper format for submission.  Since the final paper of 506, I have done little writing, much reading, but am not happy with my progress.  I need the writing venue, such as that offered in the forums, in order to collect my thoughts.  As some readers know, I don’t require responses, although I really do welcome them.  For me, the very process of writing my thoughts in a forum helps me to focus and be engaged in the learning.  Responses are an extra-special bonus in challenging my thinking and opening up new thoughts for me to explore.  I miss this interaction, and wonder whether thesis routes of the future will adapt for learners like me?  But for now, what to do?

During an MSN chat session a couple of weeks ago with a fellow student, the idea of blogging came to my mind as a solution to this problem and also the issue of retaining contact with the cohort.  So here I am, blogging away madly, hoping that some will read and even respond, and that this method will replace my forum addiction.  Hope you are listening!  (btw, I highly recommend Creswell’s book or one of his other books when it comes to your research papers – I got it from UOIT’s library, and it contains some very practical suggestions and ideas).

Reference:

Creswell, J.W. (2003). Research design: qualitative, quantitative and mixed methods approaches. (2nd ed.)Thousand Oaks, California: Sage Publications Inc.

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2 Comments
  1. Cindy permalink

    Ken,
    Let me be the first to respond…

    Re: I miss this interaction, and wonder whether thesis routes of the future will adapt for learners like me? But for now, what to do?

    I think you have taken the first step to meeting your needs…devising a method that allows you to chat, if even to yourself for awhile until others read, ponder and post a response! I didn’t always answer your posts but read every single one and dare say that they never failed to give me a grin or provoke greater thought.

    On the last day of residency, Judith mentioned that she has noticed that when people have colleagues with similar projects in mind to chat with, bounce ideas off or just be sounding boards, success rates go up. She asked us to identify which type of project we were considering and then make connections with those who might be on similar paths. Why can’t you do the same? I realize your thesis pool is limited at the moment (to 1?) but I can always post a message in the new discussion forum coming up, or you can send out a bulk email to the class briefly describing your project again (refresh people’s memory) and then ask for anyone who is doing something similar to do the same. I think you are doing narrative stories, aren’t you? I’m not entirely sure on mine yet…wavering between several. If I do the Appreciative Inquiry we are in the same family but I have to scale it down…also considering an instructional design, etc. Anyway, I digress…my point is, even though your process is longer and going on right now, the rest of us must submit an executive summary by Jan.1 so I assure you we are in the mode.

    I love the idea of blogging…staying connected is so important. Thanks for starting this!

    Cindy

  2. deadvocate permalink

    Hi Cindy. Thanks for the reply and the advice. I think that is an excellent suggestion to seek out a colleague(s) with a similar project to bounce ideas off of. I think I will send out a blanket e-mail to the cohort, as you have suggested, after I get my draft 1st 4 chapters completed this month. I think I can be a resource as well, as I have started down this path already. Thanks again!

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