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Dissertation Process

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❶The Notice of Defense must be submitted at least 14 days in advance , according to Graduate School policy.

Step 1: Write a winning dissertation proposal

How the doctoral dissertation process works
Requirements
The Dissertation

Please make sure references are single-spaced and double-spaced between and that you do not split the reference citation on separate pages: All line spacing needs to be consistent throughout the dissertation. Students are encouraged to prepare an abstract of their dissertation for Social Work Abstracts. You may obtain the necessary forms from the PhD Program Director. Follow the Graduate College guidelines thoroughly when formatting.

Your dissertation must be complete meaning that it should include your table of contents, etc. Turn in your dissertation to the Admissions and Records Supervisor at least 7 days prior to the Graduate College semester deadline to be reviewed. You need not have all of your revisions from your final committee completed to have the format checked. PhD students also have the option of completing a three-article dissertation in lieu of the traditional dissertation.

Guidelines for completing a three-article dissertation are provided below:. Register Lost your password? Log in Lost your password? Criteria for Evaluation of a Dissertation Proposal A question must fall within the area of social welfare, have significance for the field, and not have been satisfactorily resolved by existing knowledge.

This includes the necessary clearances to access data, protection of human subjects, a reasonable time table and available resources to conduct the study. Specific Guidelines on Developing Dissertation Proposal Preliminary Dissertation Exam Procedures The student should work with their advisor and committee to determine an exam date that will work with all member schedules.

The committee has the following choices: The candidate may proceed with the dissertation. The student may be granted another opportunity to take the examination after completing additional work.

The chair will inform the Graduate College if the student should be given a second examination. If this option is chosen: The same committee must re-examine the student, The second exam must occur within calendar days of the date of first exam, and The outcome of the second exam must be pass or fail The committee must render a unanimous decision and sign the Certificate of Result.

Final Dissertation Defense The procedure to arrange the final dissertation defense is the same as for preliminary exam. The completed dissertation must be submitted to committee members at least 10 days prior to the final examination.

The dissertation must follow the APA editorial style and Graduate College guidelines in writing the dissertation , free of typographical and spelling errors, and grammatically correct. To facilitate writing the dissertation in compliance with APA editorial style, students are encouraged to use this style in writing all scholarly papers prior to writing the dissertation.

The chair of the dissertation committee has the right to refuse any copy that does not meet these requirements and hence to postpone the hearing. The defense is handled in the same manner as the preliminary hearing.

Questions are normally restricted to the findings and analysis, because questions of design are handled at the proposal hearing prior to the beginning of the research. The student may not be granted another opportunity. The committee shall consist of a minimum of four voting members, three of whom must be members of the graduate faculty of the UIUC and two of whom must be tenured.

One voting member must come from outside the department. The chair of the committee must be a member of the graduate faculty and a tenure track faculty of the School of Social Work; this includes a member on leave or on zero-time appointment. A faculty member who resigns or retires from the University is automatically terminated from membership in the graduate faculty unless the unit asks that the faculty member continue for a specific period of time.

Emeriti faculty who have been awarded continuing membership on the graduate faculty may chair committees. Co-chairs and co-directors of research may be appointed. A person who is not a member of the graduate faculty, but who is especially qualified to participate in an examination, may be appointed a voting member of the committee. A brief description of qualifications should be stated on the Request for Appointment of Doctoral Examination Committee.

The Graduate College does not defray expenses for committee members to be present at the examination. All members of a committee need not be present in person at an examination. However, the committee chair, student, and at least one additional voting member of the committee must be physically present for the entire duration of all oral components of the prelim and final examinations.

If the committee has more than one chair, all chairs must be physically present; in these cases, no additional voting member is required to be physically present. How much time do you plan to spend in the research stage? Make a timeline and stay committed to it. The point of the research stage is to show you have read around the topic and you understand the previous research that has been conducted, but you've also understood its limitations. The Internet is a good starting place during the research stage.

However, you have to realize that not everything you read on the Internet is absolutely true. Double-check the information you find and make sure it comes from a trustworthy resource. Use Google Scholar to locate reliable academic sources. Wikipedia is not a reliable source, but it can take you to some great publication if you check out the list of references on the pages of your interest.

Librarians are really helpful at this point of the project development. Don't avoid the actual library and ask the librarian to provide you with some interesting publications. You have to take notes; otherwise you'll end up seriously confused and you won't know where you located a certain important argument that you plan to use. Use Evernote , Penzu , or another online tool to write down notes about your impressions, as well as the sources you plan to reference. Now, you're left with the most important stage of the dissertation writing process: It's surprising to see that many students have some level of confidence during the previous two stages of the process, but they crack when they realize they don't really know how to write a dissertation.

Everything is easier when you have a plan. You already have the dissertation proposal, which is a preliminary outline for the actual dissertation. However, you still need a more detailed outline for the large project. Did the research stage lead you in an unexpected direction? Make sure to include the new points in your outline.

The first chapter should include a background of the problem, and a statement of the issue. Then, you'll clarify the purpose of the study, as well as the research question. Next, you'll need to provide clear definitions of the terms related to the project. You will also expose your assumptions and expectations of the final results. In this chapter of the dissertation, you will review the research process and the most important acknowledgements you've come down to.

This part of the dissertation is focused on the way you located the resources and the methods of implementation of the results. If you're writing a qualitative dissertation, you will expose the research questions, setting, participants, data collection, and data analysis processes.

If, on the other hand, you're writing a quantitative dissertation, you will focus this chapter on the research questions and hypotheses, information about the population and sample, instrumentation, collection of data, and analysis of data.

This is the most important stage in the whole process of dissertation writing, since it showcases your intellectual capacity. At this point, you'll restate the research questions and you will discuss the results you found, explaining the direction they led you to.

In other words, you'll answer those questions. In the final chapter of the dissertation, you will summarize the study and you'll briefly report the results. Don't forget that you have to explain how your findings make a difference in the academic community and how they are implied in practice.

Explain why you suggest this research and what form it should take. Use the recommended citation style for your field of study, and make sure to include all sources you used during the research and writing stages. It could be time in the library; the resource of your working hours; or the use of equipment or room space that needs to be booked in advance. Some people find that they procrastinate more than they would like.

This is a common problem, so it is probably best to be well-prepared to identify it and deal with it if it does start to happen. People procrastinate for various reasons for example:. Early identification of the signs of procrastination will give you the best chance of minimising any negative effects. Once you suspect that you are procrastinating, it can be helpful to review what you are expecting of yourself, and check that those expectations are realistic. This is where planning is vital.

Your research plan should also include information about what equipment you will need to complete your project, and any travel costs or other expenses that you are likely to incur through the pursuit of your research.

You should also think about whether you are dependent on any one else to complete your project, and think about what you are going to do if they are unable to help you.

Once you have created your plan it is a good idea to show it to someone else. Ideally you will be able to show it to a member of academic staff or bring it to the Learning Development, but talking it over with a friend may also help you to spot anything that you have forgotten or anywhere that you have been unrealistic in your planning.

Although a dissertation is an opportunity for you to work independently, you will usually be allocated a member of academic staff as a supervisor. Supervisors are there to help you shape your ideas and give you advice on how to conduct the research for your dissertation.

They are not there to teach you the topic you have chosen to investigate: They are, however, one of the resources that you can call on during your research. Academics are busy people, so to get the most out of your supervisor you will need to be organised and to take responsibility for the relationship. To ensure that you get the most out of your supervisor you need to:. If you are not happy with the way you are being supervised, explain why to your supervisor or discuss the issue with your personal tutor.

Regardless of whether you have been given a dissertation topic or you have developed your own ideas, you will need to be able to demonstrate the rationale for your research, and to describe how it fits within the wider research context in your area. To support you in doing this you will need to undertake a literature review, which is a review of material that has already been published, either in hard copy or electronically, that may be relevant for your research project.

Key tools that are available to help you, include:. It is a good idea to make an appointment to see the librarian specialising in your subject. An information librarian should be able to give you advice on your literature search, and on how to manage the information that you generate.

You will probably generate more references than you can read. Use the titles and abstracts to decide whether the reference is worth reading in detail. Be selective by concentrating on references that:. Once you start reading, ensure that you think about what you are trying to get out of each article or book that you read. Your notes should enable you to write up your literature search without returning to the books you have read. Refer to the guides Effective Note Making , Referencing and Bibliographies , and Avoiding Plagiarism , for further help with note-making.

For most research projects the data collection phase feels like the most important part. However, you should avoid jumping straight into this phase until you have adequately defined your research problem, and the extent and limitations of your research.

If you are too hasty you risk collecting data that you will not be able to use. Consider how you are going to store and retrieve your data. You should set up a system that allows you to:. There are many systems that support effective data collection and retrieval. These range from card indexes and cross-referenced exercise books, through electronic tools like spreadsheets, databases and bibliographic software, to discipline-specific tools. You should talk about how you plan to store your data with your supervisor, an information librarian, or a study adviser in the Learning Development.

As you undertake your research you are likely to come up with lots of ideas. It can be valuable to keep a record of these ideas on index cards, in a dedicated notebook, or in an electronic file. They may be useful as ideas in themselves, and may be useful as a record of how your thinking developed through the research process.

A pilot study involves preliminary data collection, using your planned methods, but with a very small sample. It aims to test out your approach, and identify any details that need to be addressed before the main data collection goes ahead. For example, you could get a small group to fill in your questionnaire, perform a single experiment, or analyse a single novel or document.

When you complete your pilot study you should be cautious about reading too much into the results that you have generated although these can sometimes be interesting. The real value of your pilot study is what it tells you about your method. Spend time reflecting on the implications that your pilot study might have for your research project, and make the necessary adjustment to your plan.

How to Write Your Best Dissertation: Step-by-Step Guide

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Choose your faculty chair and committee. Once the University approves your topic, you then select your faculty chair and dissertation committee, who will mentor you throughout the process and have final say on the acceptance and publication of your thesis.

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The Dissertation Process is a resource website that will assist you through your Doctoral process. Established in , Dr. Barnett continues to aid individuals who are active or considering the Doctoral journey through Mentoring techniques.

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1 GUIDE TO THE DOCTORAL DISSERTATION RESEARCH PROCESS A manual for Planning and Writing a Doctoral Dissertation at Trident University International. Thesis and Dissertation Process Prairie View A&M University (PVAMU) requires a dissertation or doctoral project for all doctoral candidates and a thesis for all thesis option master’s candidates. The thesis or dissertation should be presented in a scholarly, well-integrated and properly documented manner, and should contain original work.

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The dissertation can only be defended when MU is officially in session. Continuous Enrollment Continuous enrollment provides access to an advisor’s support, doctoral program committee guidance and university research facilities for completion of the dissertation. Visit the ACW site today to view our illustrated “dissertation journey” and read about how to conquer each stage in the dissertation process.