Friday, May 27, 2011

I asked for it

In the fall of 2006 I enrolled in a Ph.D. program at The George Washington University in Washington, DC.  I began my journey toward a Ph.D. as a student on the biostatistics track but the longer I remained on that track, the more obvious it became that it wasn't the best fit.  So I petitioned for a transfer to the epidemiology track, made the switch, then spent the 2008 academic year taking a few courses specific to the epi track that I hadn't already taken, preparing for my written comprehensive exam and, finally, taking (and passing) the exam in late summer 2009.  With the substantive coursework behind me, I began feeling out a faculty member for the possible appointment as head of my dissertation committee and, more importantly, tentatively identifying a potential research topic & question suitable for dissertation research.  I was expecting this process to follow somewhat quickly after the comprehensive exam, but alas, I checked-out mentally for a semester, got married the next semester, then moved abroad a few months later.  As of late-May 2011, my research question and study aims are still taking shape -- development of the research proposal can't begin in earnest until a topic and objective are identified -- although I'm getting close.  At least that is what I keep telling myself.

These ramblings are many things:  a forum to vent, a place to map out methodology concepts, share programming code, and, above all, chronicle the masochism that is the conduct of dissertation-level research.

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