Destination Dissertation: A Traveler's Guide to a Done Dissertation

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Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2007 - Education - 368 pages
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Dissertations aren't walls to scale or battles to fight; they are destinations along the path to a professional career. Destination Dissertation is a handbook that helps students successfully develop and complete their dissertations. It uses travel as a metaphor framing the process as an exciting trip of 29 steps that can be completed in less than nine months. Designed for use by students in all disciplines and for both quantitative and qualitative dissertations, the book shows concrete and efficient processes for completing those parts of the dissertation where students tend to get stuck, from conceptualizing a topic to editing the final work. It includes a wealth of real-life examples from throughout the dissertation process, such as creating the proposal and coding data. This time-tested method comes from the authors' successful work at the Denver-based Scholars' Retreat. Essential for all PhD candidates!
 

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Contents

PREPARING TO GO THE DISSERTATION JOURNEY
1
Can a Dissertation Really Be a Trip?
2
Packing Your Bags
3
Competence
4
Agency
6
Our Guarantees
7
Your Travel Agents
10
How to Use This Guide
13
MAKING THE MOST OF YOUR TRAVELS THE LAST CHAPTER PLUS
217
Summary
218
Interpretation of Findings
224
Limitations
237
Suggestions for Future Research
243
Finishing Up
249
USEFUL PHRASES WRITING AND EDITING
265
Fast Writing
266

THE JOURNEY BEFORE YOU 29 STEPS
17
Our Timetable
18
Yeah But
22
Dissertation Checklist
23
PLANNING THE TRIP THE CONCEPTUAL CONVERSATION
25
Selecting and Orienting a Partner
27
Asking and Answering Questions
28
Identifying Key Pieces
31
DEVELOPING YOUR ITINERARY THE PREPROPOSAL
35
Formulating Your Research Question
36
Criteria for a Good Research Question
37
Multiple Research Questions
43
Selecting Your Data
46
Aligning Your Research Question and Your Data
48
Identifying Your Method of Data Collection
50
Identifying Your Method of Data Analysis
51
Identifying the Literature to Review
52
Identifying the Significance of Your Study
57
Identifying Your Chapters
59
Writing Your Preproposal
60
Assessing Your Decisions
69
Committing to the Preproposal with Your Advisor
71
ADVICE FROM OTHER TRAVELERS THE LITERATURE REVIEW
75
Sorting Your Codes
84
Checking Your Codes
86
Writing It Up
92
GETTING THERE THE DISSERTATION PROPOSAL
113
Introduction
115
Research Question
120
Definition of Terms
122
Literature Review
125
Research Design
126
History or Context
135
Procedures
142
Data Analysis
146
Assumptions
151
Significance of the Study
157
Outline of the Study
161
Sections of a Dissertation Proposal
163
THINGS TO SEE AND DO DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS
185
Creating Codable Data
186
Coding Your Data
187
Sorting Your Codes
191
Checking Your Codes
194
Creating Your Explanatory Schema
196
Writing It Up
212
Turning Off the Screen
268
Making Notes to Self
269
Writing with Headings
270
Skipping Around
272
Slow Revising
273
Proofreading
275
ComputerAided Proofreading
276
Hard Copy Proofreading
277
TRAVELOGUETHE DISSERTATION DEFENSE
279
Preparing for Your Defense
280
The Defense Itself
284
Following Your Defense
290
MAKING THE BEST USE OF YOUR GUIDE ADVISOR ADVISING
293
Asking Appropriately
294
Agreeing on a Vision
298
Expectations about Advising
299
Replication Model
300
Cocreation Model
301
Articulating Needs
303
Information about the Dissertation Process
314
Information about Research and Writing
315
Enacting Professionalism
317
Assessing Your Relationship
320
Understanding Your Advisors Perspective
321
Framing Issues Collaboratively
322
Protecting Your Advisors Face
323
Planning for Action
324
Applying Productive Chicanery
325
Performing Completion
327
Asking for Help from a Mediator
328
Switching Advisors
329
AVOIDING DELAYS AND ANNOYANCES ENACTING THE SCHOLAR ROLE
331
IncompleteScholar Roles
332
Housekeeper
333
Model Employee
334
Undocumented Worker
336
Patient
337
Good Student
339
Proxy Critic
340
Executor
341
Maverick
343
Writing on a Schedule
345
Focusing on Successes
350
INDEX
361
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
367
Copyright

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About the author (2007)

Sonja K. Foss is professor of communication at the University of Colorado at Denver. She created and is co-director of Scholars' Retreat, designed to provide intensive, focused, and supervised writing time for dissertations, theses, and other writing projects. William Waters is assistant professor of English, coordinator of composition, director of the writing center, and coordinator of assessment at Northwest Missouri State University. He is co-director of Scholars' Retreat.

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