My experience in the doctoral boot camp is similar.
I successfully defended my dissertation proposal in May on the very last day of the semester. It was no easy feat to reach that deadline. The proposal consists of the first three chapters of a five chapter dissertation. It incorporates the research questions, theoretical framework, literature review and methodology. It took me exactly nine months to write and revise--my baby--but the preparation that took place before I even sat down to write took almost a year (research, pilot study, etc). It took me quite a while to understand how to even approach the task. There is a very strict format with detailed specifications one must follow and learning to navigate them took some time.
It was a challenge to meet that May deadline. I was so stressed out and felt so much pressure that as soon as I turned it in to my committee members, two weeks before I had to defend, I got sick. Ultimately, I persevered and passed. I was allowed to open the next door and take another step towards the finish line.
That next step was obtaining approval from the Institutional Review Board (IRB) which monitors all studies to assure ethical treatment of human subjects. However, in my case the review board was just then changing locations and undergoing staff changes. I'd have to wait until they settled their internal affairs before my study could be reviewed. So, I waited all summer.
I gained approval on September 26, 2013 and am now collecting data. My study examines the nature of reading assessment in K-5 classrooms in the Northeast with students who are deaf and hard of hearing. I am doing this through an online survey and a series of teacher interviews.
I am certainly loving that the site I chose to house my survey is called Survey Monkey! The Curious George connection is not lost on me.
If you fit the criteria (a K-5 teacher in the Northeast working with students who are deaf and hard of hearing) please take 10-15 minutes to complete the survey. Also, if you know of anyone who does fit the criteria please pass along the information to them. The survey will be open for another 2 weeks.
In the meantime, I wait.