Finally. My co-chairs said enough is enough. Go ahead and write up your results and finish your dissertation. I am six people short of having enough participants to meet the power analysis criteria for one of my questions, but right at enough (40) to meet the other question. I'm okay with that. I've heard many times, A good dissertation is a done dissertation! True, my results will not be fully valid, but I have learned a great deal and can still contribute that knowledge to the community.
I've spent about two weeks working on the data. Not a FULL two weeks because I also work 40 hours a week and take care of a 3 year old at home, but I get in a few hours here and there. I've been to our Research Stats lab twice. Need to go at least one more time.
I've written up some of the results, which have only led me to think of more questions and more interesting things I want to know. But I need my stats guy to help me with some of that to make sure I'm pulling the right numbers in the right way. He's been great. That's my advice to any PhD student.... if you are not a stats whiz, find someone who is. And if you are lucky like me, you'll find someone who is also interested in your study. Nate has thought of other questions and possibilities. He's asked me a lot of why questions which has been helpful in helping me think-out-loud before sitting down to write.
A few weeks ago while reading my Bible, I read 1 Chronicles, which is not a typical place for me to find inspiration and words that speak to me about my daily life. But this time... it was different.
In 1 Chronicles, 28:19-20, David gave the plans to build the temple to his son, Solomon, whom God appointed to build it. David tells Solomon, "'All this,' David said, 'I have in writing as a result of the Lords hand on me, and he enabled me to understand all the details of the plan.'"
I immediately reflected on my dissertation. Learning to read and write academically has been a challenge. But I'm beginning to understand it now. Collecting data and learning to decipher what it really means statistically and academically... another challenge. And finally, writing up my conclusions and how what I have learned and accomplished in my research will contribute to others... another challenge. But God has enabled me to understand it. He has pushed me and provided for me. In the most simplest and honest language - God has made me smart enough to accomplish this task. My dissertation... "I have in writing as a result of the Lord's hand on me, and He enabled me to understand all the details of the plan."
My dissertation is not just writing. It's not something I will present to my committee, get my degree, and never think of again. I will use the knowledge I have gained. I will apply it. I will grow it. And somewhere, somehow, at some time, God will reveal to me WHY he put me up to writing it in the first place!