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Addressing the key challenges facing doctoral students, this text fills a gap in qualitative literature by offering comprehensive guidance and practical tools for navigating each step in the qualitative dissertation journey, including the planning, research, and writing phases. Author Linda Dale Bloomberg blends the conceptual, theoretical, and practical, so that the book becomes a dissertation in action—a logical and cohesive explanation and illustration of content and process. The Fifth Edition includes a greater focus on how qualitative traditions or genres can encompass a critical social justice agenda, and this broader coverage allows the book to have wider application for dissertation work within the constantly evolving field of qualitative inquiry. This edition also addresses some significant changes in the field that have come about since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, impacting how to conduct dissertation research both ethically and credibly by adopting new and innovative methods and approaches. A greater focus on ethics, rigor, researcher positionality, and reflexivity is highlighted and interwoven throughout. The companion website with multiple supplementary instructive materials to support the book is available at:

Part I: Taking Charge of Yourself and Your Work
1. A Complete Dissertation: Viewing the Big Picture
2. Gearing Up: There Is Method in the Madness
3. Choosing a Qualitative Research Design
4. Ensuring Rigor and Ethics in Qualitative Research
5. Achieving Alignment Throughout Your Dissertation
Part II: Content and Process: A Chapter-by-Chapter Road Map
6. Introduction to Your Study
7. Developing and Presenting Your Literature Review
8. Presenting Research Methodology, Design, and Methods
9. Analyzing Data and Reporting Findings
10. Qualitative Meta-Synthesis: Analyzing and Interpreting Findings
11. Drawing Trustworthy Conclusions and Presenting Actionable Recommendations
Part III: Nearing Completion
12. Some Final Technical Considerations
13. Defense Preparation and Beyond

Excellent, easy-to-use resource on developing, or supporting the development of a qualitative dissertation. The appendix with the rubric for chapter development is great. I circulate it often to students and other key stakeholders.

Tera Jordan
Iowa State University

This book not only provides excellent guidance on writing a qualitative dissertation, it also includes information and discussion of how to plan, design, and conduct a qualitative research study (i.e., it is helpful for qualitative methodology and methods, not just writing).

Amy Roth McDuffie
Washington State University

Written with a clarity, this book serves as a "how to" guide to write the first three chapters of a dissertation, regardless of method.

Kathy D. Geller
Drexel University
Key features
  • The focus throughout is on conceptual understanding as it relates to the practical aspects involved in navigating the dissertation process.
  • The concepts of rigor and ethics; both of which are integral to qualitative research are interwoven throughout, to ensure a focus on issues pertaining to power, positionality, criticality, and reflexivity.

  • Throughout all chapters, the importance of maintaining alignment among all elements of the dissertation is reinforced in order to ensure methodological congruence and, therefore, maintain high academic standards.

  •  Because reflection and reflexivity are cornerstones of qualitative research, each chapter of Part II includes a set of reflexive questions to stimulate critical thinking and reflection.

  •  The author acknowledges that there are often institutional and/or program-related differences in requirements vis-à-vis the dissertation content, structure, and process. Where appropriate, possible instances of differences in the content and structure of the dissertation are flagged so that students are aware of these.

  •  The dissertation process can be conceptualized as a journey, and the metaphor of “road maps” is carried throughout the book.

  • Additional road maps in the form of quality assessment checklists, which are provided for each chapter of Part II.

  • A set of annotated resources for further reading and exploration are presented at the end of each chapter for referral to additional cutting-edge and relevant literature and research.

  • A comprehensive checklist of all the activities and tasks that constitute the entire dissertation process is provided.

For instructors

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ISBN: 9781071869819