Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Can't Believe its Been 2 Months

Wow, can't believe its been 2 months.  Time flies when you're not having fun.  I turned in m proposal to the school finally and it came back butchered on May 17.  I haven't been able to work on it cause I'm so sick of it.  Was told I needed an editor.  I'm actually a good writer, but I will send to an editor to appease.  I think its part of the college scam like buying 10 books for a single class, especially those written by the professor.   

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Sorry I haven't posted lately

Well, I am truly sorry I haven't posted lateley.  This dissertation thing can be really depressing.  There have been huge chunks of time where I haven't wanted to even look at it, let alone write about my experiences with it.

Luckily, I went on vacation for 2 weeks.  Spent a week in Mexico and a few days in Colorado.  This has helped clear my mind, but also makes for me not wanting to do it.

My dissertation went to my committe finally on the 16th of April.  I just finished updating the "recommended" changes and will send off shortly.  I am way behind and most likely will not start data collection in June.

Oh Well.

Monday, March 14, 2011

I'm Really Behind Now

So I didn't get 10 pages, only about 4.  On Sunday, went to eat lunch with the hubby before we went grocery shopping.  I've had some really bad allergies lately.  My eyes have been itchy which is not normal for me.  Well, while we were eating I rubbed my right eye pretty hard and felt something pop like when you pull a muscle and my eye got real red and the white part started to swell along with the fleshy part that holds the eye in the socket.  It was pretty ugly looking.

So we went and bought some eyedrops on the way to urgent care.  We got there and signed in. A 2.5 hour wait.  We waited about 3 hours and decided to leave.

Needless to say I got nothing accomplished as far as homework is concerned.  Nor did I go shopping. 

I was able to do a little today.  My doctor said that as long as it is getting better I don't need to see him.  The drops have helped but I still have a little bubble on the white part.

Lesson:  do not rub your eyes too hard.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

The Literature Review Sucks

The lit review is completely boring to accomplish.  I really don't see the point, expecially when the want 40-80 pages.  I'm stuck around 20.  There really isn't much on prepping, especially peer reviewed stuff.  So most of the stuff I have is on extremism and social movement theory. ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ

I really need to work hard on this and try to get 10 pages done today.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Turned in First DP Draft

Well, I turned in the first draft yesterday.  Wasn't real happy with it and am way behind on the literature review part.  I'm getting board again.   Its hard to stay motivated when you have been working on the same topic for about a year.

Have had some good feedback on people willing to take part in the data collection.  If you are interested you can reply here or email me at ncudissertation@hotmail.com.  You can also view my posts at http://www.americanpreppersnetwork.net/.

Sample questions:

What incident prompted you to become a prepper?
How did online prepper social networks influence your decision to identify yourself as a prepper?

How do you think online prepper social networks have influenced the prepper movement?

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Chapter One

So Chapter One is basically done except I want to add a little bit of history of survivalists and preppers' use of the Internet.

I've added some to the lit review and have not started Chapter Three.  I probably wont turn this in on the 7th.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

It's Saturday

It's Saturday and here I am working on my proposal.  I am working on chapter one which is the introduction, background, problem statement, purpose, theoretical framework, research questions, nature of study, significance of study, definitions and summary.

I was able to take the research questions, and definitions straight from the CP.  I think I have the intro and background down good, mostly taken from proposal.  Hope to get the rest of chapter one today.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

A Note to Stacy

Stacy, I got your email but no other contact information.  I am glad my post was able to help you.  If I can be of further assistance, please let me know.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Dissertation Proposal (Part 1)

So, my CP was approved on 17 Feb 11.  That night I utilized the DP template to create my proposal and copied over the easy stuff such as my references, definitions of terms and the literature review.

I'm so glad I decided to utilize the schoold DP template.  I didn't for the CP and the table of contents gave me grief every time I updated it.

Utilizing the school template for the DP has made this much easier.  I recommend using templates to everyone.

I didn't do any work on it on Friday or Saturday except for re-working the timeline.  I will have to take a 4th dissertation course, but they only charge for 1 credit.  I am trying to get the DP ready to turn in by 7 Mar, the start of the second dissertation course.

On Sunday, I worked on the appendices for the DP.  I created the informed consent form and the demographic template as well as the interview questions.

Today I will create the observation guide.  As part of my dissertation I will be doing a multiple case study utilizing interviews, observations and blog analysis.

More later.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Protecting your Identity

I post on Americanpreppersnetwork.net.  I posted about my timeline there.  Someone on the forum was interested in participating because I promised to protect the participants' identity.  This is what I wrote back.

"As a prepper myself, and someone who doesn't normally blog, participate in forums, give out my number, etc., I completely understand wanting to keep your identity a secret.

I struggled with whether or not I should do my dissertation on this subject, but felt the need to make our voice heard.

Thanks for the consideration. Also part of the process is not only is your identity withheld, you can stop at anytime or not answer a question that makes you uncomfortable. You are in charge of your participation. You will be given a consent form that identifies all these processes. Only I will know your identity."

Because I value anonymity, I have never done a blog before, I don't use facebook and rarely give out personal info.

Your identity will be safe,


Data Collection Timeline

Last night I re-did my timeline to get an approximation on when I would be collecting data.  As of now, I will be collecting data during the months of June and July. 

As time gets closer, I will be making the call for participants.  Again, your identity will be held in the strictist confidence. All participants will be identified by number.  Not even the school, Northcentral University, will have access to your identity.

I am looking for around 10-20 interview participants.  Tentative questions include "what circumstances led you to become a prepper" and "how did prepper social networking influence your decision to become a prepper".

Also, if you live in the New Mexico area, I am looking for 2-4 individuals/families who will be willing to meet face-to-face and possibly be willing to let me observe your prepping activities.  Activities can be as simple as inventorying or other activities.  I would love to participate in your activities and perhaps we can learn from each other.  These meetings will be very informal with specific questions similar to those for the interview participants.  I will take notes and possibly record, with your permission.

Once the data collection is over, I will get with each participant to cross check the results to ensure their information is accurately accounted for.

If you would like to participate, please email me at ncudissertation@hotmail.com


Thursday, February 17, 2011

Current Status

I decided to forget about the past and start writing from today forward. 

On 2/9/11 my chair submitted my CP to the school for approval.  Finally, the first time after a long struggle.  I waited patiently.

Today, I found out that my CP was approved the first time.  I was totally shocked and full of disbelief.  They gave me some recommendations for the proposal.

1.  When preparing the proposal, the Learner should insure that the “so what” of this study is very clearly explained.  In all research studies, we must be clear about the importance of the study and why it matters that we understand this phenomenon.  So, when preparing the proposal, please make sure that the importance of understanding this group is clearly stated.
2.  When finalizing the research questions in the proposal, the Learner should insure that all of the main important elements of the movement that this study will uncover are represented in the Research Questions.   What are the key things that the Learner hopes to investigate and analyze?   Include each of these in the research questions.
3.  Both interviews and analyses of blogs are presented as possible sources of data.   In preparing the proposal it is important to fully describe how each will be analyzed and how each will answer the research questions.  Also, how blogs are chosen for analysis and both the internal and external validity of the blogs chosen must be discussed. 
In conclusion, the research discussed in this concept paper is feasible and the methodology chosen is appropriate to the research questions presented.  It is approved.
I also found out today that I got a new committee member.
To completely update you my title is now:

The Preppers:  A Multiple Case Study of Individuals Who Choose a Moderate Survivalist Lifestyle

I had to change from phenomenological to multiple case study, which in essence is the same thing.

So no more goofing off, time to get serious. 

Saturday, February 12, 2011

A Death in the Family

I haven't posted in a while because my beloved girl kitty, Kissy, passed away last Saturday.  She had been eating less and less over the previous 2 weeks.  We took her to the vet on Saturday and she had severe kidney failure, so we had to put my beloved little baby to sleep.  I have no children so this was devestating.  I had her for 11 wonderful years.  

I am completely broken. 

Hug all your kids every day both the 2-legged and the 4-legged ones.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Peril in Egypt

What do you think about what is going on in Egypt right now.  Unless you live under a rock you know that Egypt is on the brink of a revolution.  There has been riots and protests along with about 38 dead and over 2000 wounded.  The government has closed down the internet, banks were to be closed today.  People are calling for their current President (Mubarak) to step down after 30 years of corruption.  Today, the President appointed the head of their intelligence agency to be Vice President.  Egypt has not had a VP since Mubarak held that position under Anwar Sadat who was assassinated, a coincidence?

Yes, I agree that Mubarak is corrupt.  He was grooming one of his sons to take his place.  All of his sons have fled to London.  Now there is a new VP, a sign of change? 

Yes, the current government is corrupt and democracy really doesn't exist.  But remember what happened to Iran when they had their revolution.  Hardline Muslims took over along with Sharia Law.  Do we want another Muslim hardline country?  Is El Baradei secretely a part of the Muslim Brotherhood.  He has stood by Iran before.

Yes, the US has secretly support dissidents in Egypt, but look what happened in South America when we supported dissidents, we got Chavez and Noreiga and many others who are worse that what they had before.

I don't know what the correct answer is, but we must be careful what we wish for.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Why didn't I start this sooner (cont3).

Well, Chair 5.  I liked chair 5. 
At this point, the CP is entitled
Choosing the Survivalist  Lifestyle: A Phenomenological Study of Living with Stigma and Persecution in the  United States

He was really helpful and seemed to know what he was talking about.  Of course, each time you get a new chair, its like starting all over again.  Each chair has their own ideas and preferences.  Chair 5 thought having both survivalists and preppers in the CP could add to confusion.  Try to limit the use of survivalist.  This is where the CP started to take form in the theory of the evolution of the social movement theory.  Where some survivalists have evolved into the prepper movement.  He did not like the idea of a self-developed instrument. However, no matter how hard I tried there is no way I can used a canned instrument.  There is just no way a previously used instrument would ask the questions needed since there as not been a study on the evolution of survivalists.

One of the biggest frustrations in the dissertation process is that they want you to use instruments that are already validated.  They want you to use scholarly references.  If part of the process of doing a PhD is to bring something new to the scholarly world how can one use stuff that is already done to create something new.  Just tweaking something does not constitute something new in my eyes.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Why didn't I start this sooner (cont2).

Ok, what chair am I on?  Chair 3.  So On 9/1/10 I submited my concept paper.  On 9/3/10 my mentor asked if I loaded it.  I told him yes, but sent it to him again.  Of course, it needs work. 

On 9/7/10 I got an email from may academic advisor (AA) which stated.....wait for it.......


On 9/16/10 I got chair #4.

During this lag time between chair 4 and 5.  I was completely frustrated.  I hated my CP.  It wasn't reflecting what I wanted to say.  I didn't want to just regurgitate quantitative analysis.  I want to relay a message.  That people who choose to prepare their families for emergencies.

Around this time I discovered a Newsweek article from Bennet (2009) about preppers.  Prepper are individuals who choose to store food and supplies in case of emergencies.  They are normal people. 

So I changed to qualitative.  I wanted to explore the phenomenon of prepping.  By the way, before I changed I was literally ill trying to decide what to do.  I stayed up all night worrying about what to do.  About 3AM, I decided I need to do a qualitative analysis.  I need to interview these people. 

New title:

Choosing the Survivalist Lifestyle: A Phenomenological Study of Living with Stigma and Persecution

I felt comfortable with this. 

One thing I have learned with multiple chairs.  When you get a new chair, you basically start from scratch.  They look at your paper with a different lense.  Their backgrounds are different so they have different viewpoints.  Unfortunately, I think this chair used software to review my CP.  There were multiple issues with the difference between may and might, comma use, etc.

I would change things, then the next time it was reviewed, had to change it back.  My favorite was rhetorical questions. I was told that my research questions where rhetorical questions, as well as titles of referenced documents.  After 6 or 7 times at back and forth crap, I couldn't take it anymore.  This was getting rediculous.  Oh, and after all this time, he says he doesn't like some things in my annotated bibliography.  Why wasn't this addressed at day one.  So, frustrated, I sent him and email.  I will not keep changing this stuff back and forth.  The biggest issue was "a utopian society" he told me to change to "an" even though I told him that according to APA this was not correct.  He insisted. So I changed.  Then he said this was wrong.  It was the software he was using.  That's it, the email to him and my AA.

That day was October 18, 2010.  I get a reply from my AA, you are getting another new chair.

My sister went to Idaho State and was getting an EdD.  I asked her about her chair process.  She said chairs had to be tenured so they didn't have to worry about them being fired and quiting was rare.  But they did pass their students around.  "I don't like your subject" "I don't have time" ect.

More later.


State of Union Address

A little off topic.  What did you think of the Presidents address?  As a student I like the $10,000 credit idea.  However, I think we need to address overspending more.

Why didn't I start this sooner (cont).

On 22 April, 2010, my chair sent an email stating that due to health reasons he would no longer be teaching and would no longer be my chair.  Heartbreak.

I got an incomplete, which is school policy since “I was making progress” and my paper was with committee.  I got an extension so I could get a new chair.

In the meantime, they changed policies and as long as your CP was in committee, you could get a grade posted and move onto the comprehensive exam.  The CP would be finished in DIS #1.  Problem was no chair, no grade.

May 3, 2010.  Received notification of new chair and contacted him via email.  May 7, 2010 still no contact from chair.  May 12, 2010, sent him another email.  This time he replies that he asked to be removed as he has no experience on my topic.  Gee, thanks.

May 14, 2010, I received notification of chair #3.  Was eventually given a grade and allowed to go on to comps.

Nothing gets done on your CP while you are in comps, which is a waste of time.

Our comps are 4 questions that you have to answer in 10-15 page answers.  I know other schools it’s a written exam over a 1-2 day period and you don’t pay for it.  We pay the full course amount and its 12 weeks.

Comps went without a hitch and I passed the first time, whew!!!!!!

More later,

Monday, January 24, 2011

Why didn't I start this sooner.

I’m not much of a journal writer, but I don’t know why I didn’t think to start this sooner.

A little bit about me, I am retired military and got my bachelor’s and master’s degrees while on active duty utilizing tuition assistance.  When I retired on 1 Apr 2006 I still had access to the GI Bill, so after thinking about it for awhile and looking into the different schools I decided to pursue a PhD vice another master’s.

My life in dissertation hell started almost a year ago on 1 February, 2010.  I go to an accredited online school, Northcentral University out of Arizona.  I can hear you cringe now; a PhD from an online school means nothing.  Well, I can tell you that several of my online colleagues work at universities and their online degrees do count.  I guess it just depends on the university. 

I chose Northcentral because it was online, accredited, and did not require “in-residence” attendance each year like other online schools do.  PhDs are expensive enough without having to go out of state for a week or two each year.

That being said, I started at NCU (they call themselves NU now) on 1 January, 2008, and completed the required “academic” courses by the end of July, 2009.  Eleven courses.

The way NCU works its dissertation process is that after you finish the “academic” courses you take 4 research (RSH) courses, the comprehensive exam, and then a minimum of 3 dissertation (DIS) courses.

The 4 RSH courses are designed to help us pick our topic, decide which methodology we want to use and develop our concept paper.  I finished the first 3 RSH courses between 1 August, 2009, and 31 January, 2010.  I picked my committee during RSH #3 and was so happy to start class #4 on 1 February, 2010.  Things went really well.  My chair wanted me to breeze through the first 7 assignments in 2 weeks in order to concentrate on my CP.  Loved my chair, BTW.  I had chosen mixed methods as my research design back in RSH #2.  I wasn’t always sure that was the route I wanted to go.  I asked my mentor (that is what NCU calls them) in RSH #2 if that was best for me.  He never answered back.  So I took mixed methods for RSH #3. 

So, with RSH #4, you are to work on your concept paper.  At the start I thought we were supposed to have the CP finished by the end.  I will discuss more on that later.

My original title was:  Extremist America: A mixed methods study of extremism versus survivalism.

Seeing that there were a lot of survivalist blogs out there, I thought it would be easy to get participants. 

With assignment 5 my chair that I should change from mixed methods.  He wrote the following.

My opinion: A mixed methods approach is quite ambitious for a dissertation. Out in the real world (like doing research for a journal article) a mixed method isn’t all that much extra work. But for a dissertation at NCU, a mixed method can be almost twice as much work.

So I picked quantitative. 
When I completed the CP, I thought, OK, one or two drafts and it will go onto committee.  WRONG!!!!

The initial CP went back and forth.  “Good title, can we do better” “Not a scholarly tone” “Don’t use quotes or italics” Is this fact or opinion” “Too broad of a statement” and on and on.

Six times my “draft” CP went back and forth.  Changed the title:

Extremism in America: A Quantitative Study of the Characteristics of Extremism versus Survivalism

Throughout the back and forth we worked on methodology, changed the intent of the survey.  Instead of one survey for one group, now I needed two groups.  We were going to have prisoners convicted of hate or violent crimes be group one and participants from blogs be group two.  Research questions, hypotheses, survey, etc.  On and on and on.

I was getting so sick of it, that at one point I didn’t even look at it for two weeks.  I hated it.  I despised it.

Finally, with draft 7, my CP went to committee on 9 April, 2010.  At that time they were supposed  to give it back to you within 14 days, due back 23 April, 2010.  Course ends 26 April, 2010.  Then the dreaded news came.

More tomorrow.  Elle