Tomorrow I speak with my adviser.  I’m prepared, except for one decision.  I have two drastically different dissertation projects that I could pursue, and I really need to pick just one and get him on my side for it.  I have had two close confidants advise me, one in each direction.  So, before I go in and talk to him I want to see if anyone else has words of wisdom on the topic.

On the one side, I am being told to just “get it done”.   The suggestion has been raised that I take the work we did for the conference and substantially enhance it to become my dissertation.  Since there is already a start, this should easily be done (even working full time) by next May.  I would have to obtain my advisers permission, since he did some of the work on this paper, and that is not a sure thing, but likely enough if it is enhanced a lot.  However I have little interest in the project/work beyond a single paper.

On the other side, I am passionate about the history concept I have.  My adviser has seemed supportive although it is not his methodological area.  (He acknowledges that this is truly what he calls “starter dough”; an idea that can turn into many papers and publications, as opposed to the above idea which is not and will yield little more than this one paper.)  However I have done only the slightest preliminary research and fear it would take 2 years or even more to complete. 

Due to my husband’s job situation there is no rush or urgency to move on; there is actually some impetus to linger.  Thus there are no external time pressures.  Technically I am 1 semester into my 4th year, so I am still well within normal parameters.  Finishing by next spring would be on the faster side for someone coming in without a masters in education, the year after would be acceptable and probably not hurt anyone’s USNews ranking.

So, any comments out there on which project to choose?