My brain! It can't take any more! Soon, it will start leaking out my ears - I'll be sure to take pictures. Seriously, it feels like the swirling vortex of terror or something -->
SO many thoughts and cognitive dissonance, and organization is so much harder with all these complex webs of connection than when you can actually order things hierarchically. For example, which comes first - self-awareness, or self-regulation? Well, it seems self-regulation, because there is evidence of infants self-regulating, but not necessarily any measures of self-awareness. At the same time, can we reach higher levels of self-regulation and metacognition without self-awarness? So can you really separate them into fundamentally different entities and order them? They ARE different, but can you separate and order them? And that's to say nothing of things like self-efficacy, nature and nurture factors, etc. Obviously, you cannot cover every possible variable in studies - you would never get anywhere! but that doesn't make my brain hurt any less. Because you DO have to consider them, and make sure you're really measuring what you intend to be measuring...
And that brings up the definitions point. I've always been kind of a smart-ass when it comes to taking things literally (better a smart one than a dumb one, though, right?). But it's a valid consideration, particularly when it comes to self-report measures. There are so many ways to interpret things.
At some point, you have to decide what is necessary to be particular about, and what to let slide, and explain why you make these decisions. This is the part I still get hung up on - letting elements go, or at least letting them wait until later. And, boy, isn't that like life? Having to decide what to spend the time and energy on, what to set aside, and what to let go.
On that note, time for me to go and meet with my advisor - try to come up with a summer plan... But I'd like to share one more thing before I go - enjoy! (thanks, Gary Larsen!) =0)