PhD Chronicles: Feedback & Relief...

It's about 6:00am and I read the words:  "I’m VERY impressed with the changes in your QPP, very! You have certainly done way more than what was required…great job!"  My Qualifying Paper Proposal (known as the QPP) has been accepted.   

The words hit me like a ton of bricks.  I'm not quite ready to hear such positive feedback and if it weren't the quiet of morning, I'd do a happy dance right there.  I reread it again to make sure that I'm not misreading it, but there it is, I've done a "VERY" impressive job from an advisor who is overall friendly but not necessarily given to exaggerations in his feedback.  



Revised QPP Word Cloud.jpg
Revised QPP Draft Word Cloud Submitted in October
The email gave me tremendous relief.  I had revised my first draft substantially--not because I had to but because as I unraveled one thread of thought, it impacted others and I felt I needed to redo a bit of tapestry in order to more clearly communicate my thought.  I did so, as they say, without a net.  I delved into it and revised it without anyone else getting another look at it and therefore, knew there was a bit of risk in submitting it.  I took the initial feedback and just went to town.  
Word cloud of my submitted QPP.
Original QPP Draft Submitted in September

However, I was proud of this revision.  I did take the feedback and turn it into something that was much clearer (for me and apparently others).  I went from about 19 pages to 14 pages, removing large swaths of material while also introducing new ones.  It felt like it communicated my point much more clearly and though some areas needed more work (particularly the newer content), it just made for a stronger statement of the problem.  


The feedback was a needed ego boost.  I knew it could backfire but to know that I took the research--based on feedback (important to remember)--in a direction that I felt was right and was validated in that approach.  I know that won't always happen but I'm glad that it happened here.  

Word cloud of my first completed draft in July
Rough Draft of QPP Submitted in July

You can take a look at the different version of the QPP for those interested in digging into the weeds of my work.  The easier way to get a sense of the differences is to look at the different word clouds of each stage to see what are discernible differences in the content.  

  1. Rough Draft Submitted - 7/12/2017
  2. Original Draft Submitted - 9/8/2017
  3. Feedback Received - 9/22/2017
  4. Revised Draft Submitted - 10/15/2017
Now that my QPP has been accepted, it's now time to chip away at the next challenge, the actual Qualifying Paper (or QP), which is a systematic literature review that I set out to do in the QPP.  Wish me luck!  



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