Friday, January 29, 2010

2 pages, 2 hours

That's basically been my rate this week. Each 2 or so page section takes me more or less 2 hours, even though it's already written.

Also, I feel like I'm cutting a lot, which kind of worries me. My adviser actually told me I needed to pad what I'd written! And yet, with this major revision, I feel like it's a stronger paper and I can get rid of several paragraphs, perhaps entire sections. And it's not like it's too short: what was 25 pages (1.5 spaced) is still 18.

Anyway, the chapter is so much better now that I think this is all worthwhile. But this pace is not promising. In an ideal world, I would have revised chapters 1-3 by now. I'm halfway through the first chapter...

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

About face

I'm taking my adviser's advice and completely reordering my first chapter, which basically means rethinking the whole thing conceptually. I'm now basing my entire work on Preston's concepts of linguistic awareness and folk artifacts (1996), instead of perception and salience. I was a bit reluctant to do this because it's a lot of work, but I have to say it's looking so much better. That's the thing about my adviser - she's horrible to get a hold of, but once you do she'll have some gem of advice that makes the waiting (almost) worthwhile.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Roller coaster

I'm back on campus and have taken these past couple days to meet up with all three of my committee members. Within every meeting there have been ups and downs, but here's a broad overview:

UP: My adviser finally got me comments on my first two chapters.
DOWN: The first chapter needs a ton of work.
UP: The second chapter is basically good to go!

UP: My within-dept committee member was quite helpful going through my statistics with me.
DOWN: That afternoon I had another statistics breakdown, and (again) was unable to follow her suggestions due to requirements of the tests.

UP: First thing this morning I found a way to make one test work! It showed exactly what I wanted to be significant!
DOWN: My outside-dept committee member informed me that none of the statistics I'd done were valid, because they were all violating an important assumption. The tests I've been fretting over for the last 4+ months? Basically toss 'em.

And that's not even including the personal side of my trip so far.

Who knows what tomorrow might bring? Hopefully a meeting with yet another guy who can finalize stats stuff. And oh yeah, giving a colloquium to my dept and presenting my research to all them for the first time. I should really put together that talk, huh?

Saturday, January 16, 2010


It's Saturday and I'm sitting at my computer to work. I like to take the weekends off. But since I spent too much time blogging and slacking off didn't get enough work done this week, I have to sacrifice my Saturday afternoon for a powerpoint presentation.

I am so done with grad school.

If I (a) hadn't put in so much time already, (b) wasn't sure that I was supposed to get my PhD, and (c) wasn't sure that I'd regret it if I didn't, I could easily say "forget it" and drop out. After all, if I'm being honest, I'm not gonna do a thing with this degree, at least for the next 10 years. I want babies, and I want them now.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Anything but that!

Wow, it's been a busy couple weeks and will continue to be. As I'm simultaneously writing my results draft and putting together my powerpoint for next week's talk*, I've come to the dismal tentative conclusion that I need to rework some of my statistics. These were the stats that I thought were finished and good to go. And yet, after being reminded of a different method this past weekend, I'm afraid it's more appropriate for my work. (In a nutshell, instead of testing F1 and F2 separately, as I did, testing the distance between them.) Right now I'm stalling and trying to think of reasons why I shouldn't have to do that. So far all I've got is that I won't have time to do it by next week, and if no one in the audience suggests it, maybe I can get away without it.

And yet... for all my wanting to hurry and get this done as quickly as possible, I just don't know if I can let myself get away with it. I don't want to sacrifice quality for speed. (Actually, I want to be okay with that, but I just can't.)

And while I'm complaining about statistics (as usual), do you mind if I whine that I'm still not sure about my other numbers? Even the professional statistician didn't actually answer my questions - he just suggested I present what I have and then try (yet another) test. I think this is actually a case where I will base my decisions on what the audience says. If they don't like what I did and suggest something else, I'll do it. If they can't think of a better way, I'll probably say forget it.

If I could go back to Undergraduate Me and give her one piece of advice, it would be to take as many statistics classes and psychology research methods classes as possible. (Actually, I'd probably talk to Undergraduate Me about a few other things as well, but those are unrelated to linguistics.)

* I've found giving presentations on your work as it's in progress to be a helpful way to get a handle on what you're doing. For example, in order to create my presentation, I need to write the conclusions for these sections (something I've put off doing). In figuring out what the most important things to say are, my presentation and my written draft inform each other.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

How could I forget?

The most important thing I could do to ensure that my adviser finally gets back to me is not to call and email her incessantly (although that's a close second). It's to pray for her. Duh.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Where oh where has my jumpdisk gone

Can anyone else never find a USB stick when they need one? There used to be three of them in this 20 square foot space.

Looks like I'll be heading out to the store shortly...

Monday, January 4, 2010

Getting down to business

... hasn't happened yet today.

I told myself I was not going to even attempt to catch up on all the blog posts I've missed in the past week or so - I needed to start working immediately. And somehow, 3+ hours later, I still haven't started. Yikes.

What's that you say? Conference looming three days from now, and the poster should really be printed out tomorrow? I can't hear you!

Trip back to school to give a colloquium two weeks from now, and abstract for it due one week from now? La la la, still not listening!

And a personal timeline that states I will send a first draft of my final two chapters to my adviser tomorrow? When she hasn't returned what I sent her a month ago, that's not happening either.