What to expect in the near future

Hello all.

In my last post, I discussed the beginnings of my thesis and my expectations for it. I thought I would spend a few minutes today explaining what you will see here on the blog in the very near future.

Because I’ve spent a lot of time in class this semester getting my bearings for my thesis and laying the groundwork to really understand it, it has been a very slow process. However, with the semester coming to a close and final projects and papers due in all of my classes, I’m currently in a mad rush to get things finished up, tie the loose ends, ice the cake, etc.

Within about the next week and a half, you will see a new page on my blog. The page (not a post, but an addition to the blog, like my page that showcases my classmates’ blogs) will be the platform for my final project in Dr. Daniels’ class. I’ve been conducting interviews and writing survey questions for the better part of two or three weeks, and I’m finally starting to see results. As of right now, 41 people have completed my survey, and watching that number grow has been so neat, and it has given me a hopeful outlook for the future of my project.

The neatest thing that I’ve discovered in making my survey is that Survey Monkey, the platform I’m using, allows you to look at each individual respondent’s information. I can see what they answered to every question, and I can use their IP address to see where they are located in the world. So far I haven’t compiled that information, but I may do that with my project in the future to see what kinds of different people I may be reaching.

The other neat thing about this preliminary survey is that I’ve gotten a lot of good suggestions for my thesis and the real survey that I’ll have to conduct. I realized that I missed the opportunity to ask about a couple of things in this survey, so I’m glad that it’s a learning tool and not the final product. No one is perfect, right?

So please be on the lookout for my new page that will show off my thesis work so far. And think positive thoughts for my presentation to my professors in a couple of weeks!

Also, I tried to include a funny photo of penguins in this post, but the photo uploader is being finicky. Sorry!

Please take my survey!

Here goes nothing! After many weeks of deliberation, confusion and frustration about my thesis, it seems that I’ve finally got a topic sorted out that I understand and can work with.

Because I know you’re all so interested (yeah, right), here’s the deal: I’m using John Dimmick’s Niche Gratification Theory, plus the help of a survey, to analyze which aspects of print books and digital books satisfy readers better than others. For instance, I’m expecting that connectivity to the topic beyond the book will be better satisfied by digital books, and good old-fashioned print books will better satisfy the need to share books with others.

That being said, I’m still in the very early stages of the entire process, but the class I have with Dr. Daniels is pushing me further into it, which I like but can also be stressful at times. Thankfully, my paper for Theory class is written (pending edits), so that will be a small chunk of the final thesis (which I’ve decided to call a project, doesn’t that sound friendlier and less intimidating?).

But with Dr. Daniels’ class comes yet another survey.

This time it was different. This time, it was all on me to come up with the questions, figure out how to word them and check for general sensibility of the whole thing. No pressure or anything, right? I didn’t spend hours debating the specifics of questions with my classmates. I had to start at the beginning and do research before I could even think about writing questions. Basically, I was in search of factors that influence purchases of print books and digital books, and I found quite a few, including cost, portability, and the convenience of buying books.

So instead of the classroom debate, I examined the questions myself and had a friend look over them for clarity. After a few minor adjustments, I saved it and it went live! So if you read books on an e-reader or tablet, please go take my survey to help me with my class. Here’s the link:

http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/printanddigitalbooks

Thank you!

Stop trying so hard!

It’s time for the Grad School Lesson of the Week!

Are you ready? Positive? It’s a biggie! Here we go…

No one is perfect.

I hit a little bit of a rough patch within the last week or so. Last Monday, I realized the very true fact that I had to plan, start and finish my final project for this class in the next 3-ish weeks. On top of the other things I have to do weekly, I had to work on a huge and important term paper for one of my other classes. So when I met this realization last Monday, I had a very optimistic plan for how to get it finished. Just like several other optimistic plans that haven’t quite turned out so well this semester.

So I spent the majority of the weekend trying to get the term paper finished, with spurts of productivity on the other project. I didn’t finish the paper when I had hoped to, but I did get it done today, so that’s a huge burden lifted off my shoulders.

After realizing that there was no way I could get everything done last week, I went with my second option: try my hardest, do the best I can and spend time working rather than worrying – or worse – panicking.

After I got through some really tough parts of the paper, the work wasn’t as bad, and I sailed through it in time to spend the rest of this evening catching up on some other stuff that I needed to get done.

The lesson here is that worrying never helps. Have a plan, but if it doesn’t pan out, take a moment to step back and consider the next move. Rework the plan. My grandmother always taught me, “Don’t sweat the small stuff.” So what if you reading responses aren’t amazingly insightful this week? Everyone has off days here and there. It’s probably not as bad as you think it is. No one expects you to be perfectly on the mark all the time. And if you find the rare person who does, don’t let them get to you. It could be an employer trying to motivate you or a professor who wants you to get the most out of the experience, but just know that your best is the best you can possibly do. I know I probably sounds like a Dr. Seuss book right now, but please just go with it, and save yourself some pain.

And if no one else ever reads this blog, maybe I will come back to it for motivation one day. It’s like the British say: Keep calm and carry on.