Being a Doctoral Student: The Dissertation Stage

Being a Doctoral Student: The Dissertation Stage

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-2656-9.ch020
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This chapter addresses being a doctoral student in the dissertation stage of the doctoral program. The advice begins by pointing out that in most programs you will not have an approved topic and research questions until the dissertation stage. It is in the proposal/prospectus stage that you first fully commit to specific research questions. Advice is given on working with the dissertation committee and especially the committee chair. The chapter finishes with general advice about the proposal, the research, the writing, and the final defense.
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Stage 2: The Dissertation Proposal

Some universities call it a prospectus. Some call it a proposal. In most cases, it means that the doctoral student has written a high quality draft of the first three chapters of the traditional dissertation format: an introduction to the problem and terminology, a review of literature making a cohesive argument for the research questions, and a methodology section describing in detail the context of the study, the processes of data collection, and the methods of analysis. It should be acknowledged here that not all universities approach it in this traditional format, but for our purposes we will proceed with that format.

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