Another expert on site wishes to address your question, but cannot because of site restrictions. Here is her response verbatim:
It is understandable that you are quite frustrated. I have been a university professor and also done a dissertation, so I can give you some perspective on these things.
Of course it causes anxiety that you lost one chairman, and have been fearful of losing another one.
Choosing a topic is one of the bigger challenges in doing a dissertation, and getting your research methodology right is a huge one as well. It is not unusual to have several go rounds and round to get that the way it needs to be.
Let me see if I understand your situation. You are working on designing your research methodology in an on-line program, the Dean has asked you to amplify the questions and the chairman is frustrated by this. You are wanting to resolve the situation and get on to the next step.
I do not think that the Dean's request is unreasonable at all. Her suggestions are sound, and it sounds like she is trying to help you do a quality job. I agree with viki that you must respect her and the process even if it seems picky and unreasonable. Indeed, not everyone understands research and learning good research methods is a part of the game here.
Doing this online, words on a screen can seem harsher and more pointed than they really are if you had a voice tone. How often do you do this on the phone or in person?
Anxiety is normal in such a stressful situation. Be sure and take a deep breath, and practice good stress management skills. The fact that you are in Iraq and doing other things besides a dissertation, it's normal to feel that it's just one more demand and to be upset from time to time.
That committee members want different things is quite normal. Getting through this, and their politics, is a long-time problem and better seen as an initiation rite of passage.
Here's what I suggest you do to resolve this and get past it.
1. Write a group email to the committee asking them each to email you what they think is needed to get to the next step and to get finished.
2. Take all their responses seriously.
3. Come up with a viable strategy to meet each person's needs, and run it by your chairman for his feedback and counsel.
4. Either yourself or your chairman, after you've settled on a strategy, propose a conference telephone call with all the parties involved.
5. The chairman can say during the conference call that he's behind your proposed strategy, and ask the others to agree to it.
This - agreeing to a research methodology -- will involve several go rounds to get it right. Please be assured that this is normal, and the frustrations are a part of the process.
Doing it online while you are doing other things and in Iraq add other stress factors. You are to be commended for your commitment both to your education and to your country.
I hope that my Assist to Viki will help you resolve this situation and get a better perspective on what is going on. There may also be interpersonal things going on between the faculty members, but that's their problem and not yours.
Come up with a strategy to resolve this situation such as I've suggested. It should be your chairman's responsibility to do this for you, but you may have to take the bull by the horns and do it yourself, in some fashion such as I've described.
Good luck and good wishes to you. Take care.
Sherrie aka StrategyGuide