Sunday, October 5, 2008

Where I've been

I haven't written much for the past 5 or 6 months. Once we moved here and settled in a little, I jumped right in to the finale of a big project I've been working on for several years - a research project on the impact of deployment on families with young children. I started the study about 3 years ago with my friend from ACS - Kathy Berry, and collected data right up until a few days before we moved from Ft. Knox. At the time we arrived here, we had data, but no idea how I was going to get it into shape for publication - our ultimate goal. I don't think it's an accident that we happened to move to what is called the "intellectual home of the Army". The beautiful new library here offers all the same privaleges to spouses as to the soldiers, so I had access to all the library's online holdings, free inter-library loan, and all the reference assistance I needed, often as quickly as I could log on to the computer. All within walking distance. Acting on a bit of inspiration (with a fervent prayer), I sat down with the director of the Army Research Institute here, and begged for help with the data analysis. In response, they generously put me in contact with another army spouse who worked there, and let me use a computer with the most recent version of SPSS (stats program), in a borrowed office for as long as I needed. I felt prompted that I needed to finish the data analysis and have a draft of the article completed by the time the kids finished school the end of May. I would drop Emma off at preschool Mon, Wed. and Friday morning and rush to ARI and work as quickly as I could for 4 or 5 hours until it was time to pick her up. After 2 months, with advice and supervision from my friend there, I had a draft.
As you can tell by our summer pictures, nothing much happened on the project, but I started revising/editing mid August, once the kids returned to school. The paper still needed a lot of work (organization is not my best quality). I worked and re-worked the paper, went back and read many of the original references again (including Bowlby's 1969 work on attachment). Now I think it's about ready to send out. Last week, I sent a copy to Kathy for her to review, and some slides I'd completed. We need to brief some people at Ft. Knox now that the project is completed.
I really don't know what to say about it. I'm so relieved that it's almost finished, and I've put so many hours into it (particularly since we've been here). I have had the feeling lately that for reasons that are beyond my understanding, this project is important. It's not that it's a large study revealing lots of new and critical information, because it really isn't. It definately has it's quirks and weaknesses. But I hope that the information will be helpful to our military families, and those who are responsible to care for them.
And I'm sure it will be several months (maybe longer) before we find a journal willing to publish it, and complete the review process. It's not quick.
Above all, though, I'm so thankful for the ways I've been blessed and prompted and helped and strengthened. If this work is good, it's only because of the grace of God.
Ah well, back to my children. Happy Sunday. Lisa


Tyler said...

Congratulations on getting that done! It sounds like a great project. Is it anything a lay person like me might understand?

yamsey said...

way to go Lisa!! I can't wait to read it. Let us know how the publishing process goes.