I went to bed at 11:30 last not.  Not only was I up every hour, all night, I remember seeing the vast majority of that time pass.  I don’t know that I slept at all.  If I did, it was only a few minutes at a time.  My head is fuzzy.

Which is making it difficult for me to think about Chair’s shooting down of my latest idea.

I have been trying since May to come up with what he refers to as “starter dough”; an idea that I can use for my dissertation but also pursue after that; a research vein that can be mined for 4-6 articles; an idea on which to build a career.

I have been utterly failing at this goal.

He blames it in part on my unwillingness to completely ignore access to data in formulating my questions.  He thinks I should come up with the question first and then find or build a data set.

Every time I try that I find myself headed toward more qualitative questions and, therefore, away from my strengths.  Questions about what is going on don’t appear “deep” enough to be more than a paper or two, while questions about why it is happening turn rapidly qualitative. 

I just don’t think I think like an academic yet.  Still.