Studying at Walden University as a Doctor of Education student is a lot of fun, or was until we arrived at a large milestone – the Capstone Project that kicks off with research. My program became challenging as soon as I started working my way through the research. I am a healthcare professional with no teaching experience or work experience in an educational environment, so I did not know where to start.
Fortunately, I knew exactly what I wanted to do. I wanted to research computer use by women my age. The first step to initiate a research project was to identify a local problem that warranted research. How could I translate my thoughts into a local problem? Like many fellow students, I changed my direction many times in several semesters.
Reflecting on this setback, I found myself drowning in the vast amount of literature without anchoring on a focus. The topic of baby boomer (born 1946 – 1964) women and computer use is way too broad to become a viable research topic. The literature on education often depicts boomers as parents or grandparents, not as students. Articles that discuss female baby boomers as students are scarce. It was both a challenge and an opportunity. With no roadmap and very few signposts, I was marching into an uncharted territory. Then I thought of an ingenious but erroneous approach.
Writing the Research Proposal, a Little at a Time
In the summer of 2012, I started a blog titled Education Issues for Female Baby Boomers and hoped fellow researchers would leave comments that I could use to improve my proposal. I divided the writing into small trunks and made it more manageable. I incorporated most of the blog’s content into my final proposal.
However, it was a terrible mistake. I published my blog posts before I submitted my proposal. When it was time to check for originality, I was found plagiarizing myself. After learning the hard way, I gave my blog an overhaul. In the 2.0 version, I wrote about my reflections and inspirations as I continued my doctoral journey.
Becoming a blogger, I needed to learn how to publicize my work. I read articles about how to increase exposure that would result in more views and discovered the power of social media during the process. Also, I found new relevance and direction to my research. Eventually, I decided to research how female boomer students collaborate using mobile technologies. Social media played a significant role in my research.
Writing a blog, regardless of its intent, is a good habit. A scholar should keep her writing brain and mentality active. Therefore, I started another blog, A Day in the Life of a Baby Boomer Woman. It is less academic, more personal, and more engaging.
What I Gained from Blogging
There were two primary goals when I started my first blog: to manage the writing task and to invite collaboration. During the process, I discovered the benefits of social media, which I included in my research. Writing is a healing process and an essential skill for students. It is a good habit to write frequently, which I maintain by writing my blogs.
Written by Holly Chun, EdD Student and Guest Blogger