I’m almost done working through the comments I received from my dissertation chair and committee members on my thesis proposal. As I (think I’ve) written in a previous post, the feedback has been helpful. It’s targeted and clearly comes from a place of interest and concern on the part of my reviewers. As I have seen in the online doctoral student communities in which I participate, not everyone else on this journey is as fortunate as I am in this regard.

At the moment, I’m struggling a bit with the third chapter which deals with the research method I am using. Unlike other approaches, there is no standard qualitative case study research design. It is up to the scholar to develop the protocol for data collection and analysis and communicate to the reader how the process produces reliable and accurate conclusions. My challenge is with explaining how my approach will yield outcomes that can be considered valid.

I’ve been thinking a lot about what it means for something to be valid. Often, we ascribe validity to things based on what other people think. If a lot of people agree on something, even if it is highly subjective, we are likely to join them. This type of thinking is what gives rise to the idea that everybody can’t be wrong. Spoiler alert: Everybody can be wrong.

What I’m taking from this experience is a sense of my own ability to chart a course and stand by approach. I want to demonstrate that I have been rigorous in my process. Although people may disagree with my conclusions, I can show that I arrived at them in a transparent and intentional manner.

In the past, I have been very concerned with what “everybody” thought. Now, I am less so. That’s growth.

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