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The Dissertation Journey
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The Dissertation Journey
A Practical and Comprehensive Guide to Planning, Writing, and Defending Your Dissertation

Third Edition (Revised Edition)


September 2018 | 240 pages | Corwin

How to reach the pinnacle of academic achievement

The dissertation is a tough mountain to climb; half of all doctoral students never make it to the top. To overcome the practical, social, and psychological obstacles along the way, you need a knowledgeable guide and the right tools. Written in an engaging and motivational style, The Dissertation Journey is a comprehensive how-to guide for graduate students faced with the challenge of developing and writing a quality dissertation. Readers of this new edition will find 

  • Expanded and updated coverage of crucial topics such as conducting a literature review, dissertation support groups, and harnessing technology to conduct research 
  • Graphics, quotes, illustrations, progress tracking tools, sample forms, a new chapter-ending resources feature, and other user-friendly elements 
  • Thoroughly updated and revised chapters with the most current need-to-know information

This clear, practical guidebook will make the journey to “doctor” smoother and help you reach your academic goals.    

"The Dissertation Journey has been a valuable read for more than a decade. Dr. Roberts and Dr. Hyatt bring years of doctoral teaching and dissertation advising experience to this essential book."
—Stuart Allen, Professor of Organizational Leadership
Robert Morris University 


"This book contains sound academic research advice in an easy to understand and follow format. The book’s benefits extend beyond the dissertation to any subsequent scholarship that the reader undertakes."
—Farzin Madjidi, Associate Dean, Education Division 
Pepperdine University 



 
NEW TO THIS EDITION
 
PREFACE
 
A NOTE TO DOCTORAL STUDENTS
 
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
 
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
 
PART I: QUESTS AND QUESTIONS
 
1. DO YOU HAVE WHAT IT TAKES?
Why Take This Journey?

 
Do You Have What It Takes to Journey to the Peak?

 
Avoiding the Hazards of High-Altitude Climbing

 
Procrastination

 
Emotional Barriers

 
Writer’s Block

 
Lack of Concentration

 
What Are the Inner Essentials?

 
Summary

 
Resources

 
 
2. WHAT EXACTLY IS A DISSERTATION?
What Is a Doctoral Dissertation?

 
Typical Dissertation Structure

 
Studies Using Quantitative Methodology: General Sample Format

 
Studies Using Qualitative Methodology: General Sample Format

 
Alternative Formats

 
Components of a Typical Dissertation

 
Major Steps in the Dissertation Process

 
Roles and Responsibilities

 
Summary

 
Resources

 
 
3. WHAT ARE THE ETHICAL CONSIDERATIONS IN RESEARCH?
Institutional Review Boards

 
Rights of Human Subjects

 
Ethical Issues in Data Collection

 
Ethical Issues in Data Analysis and Interpretation

 
Ethical Issues in Reporting Research Findings

 
Ethics of Writing Up Research

 
Other Ethical Considerations

 
Summary

 
Resources

 
 
PART II: BEGINNING THE CLIMB
 
4. CHOOSING A DISSERTATION TOPIC
Approaches to Choosing a Topic

 
Where to Look for Potential Topics

 
Some Criteria for Topic Selection

 
Replication Studies

 
Summary

 
Resources

 
 
5. CREATING YOUR DISSERTATION TEAM
Peak Principle: Always Climb Fully Equipped

 
Selecting a Dissertation Advisor

 
How to Approach a Potential Advisor

 
Selecting the Committee

 
The Care and Nurture of Advisors and Committee Members

 
Choosing Outfitters and Bearers (Other Specialized Consultants)

 
Where to Locate Specialists

 
Dissertation Support Groups

 
Critical Decisions

 
Other Considerations

 
Summary

 
Resources

 
 
6. ORGANIZING YOURSELF
Organize Your Workspace

 
Organize Your Time

 
Working Smart

 
Maintain Balance

 
Strategies for Getting a Life While Dissertating

 
Summary

 
Resources

 
 
7. MASTERING THE ACADEMIC STYLE
Qualities of Scholarly Writing

 
Common Writing Problems

 
Guidelines for Successful Academic Writing

 
Other Distinguishing Characteristics of the Academic Style

 
Summary

 
Resources

 
 
PART III: CLIMBING TO BASE CAMP
 
8. WRITING THE INTRODUCTION
The Introductory Paragraph

 
Problem Statement

 
Theoretical or Conceptual Framework

 
Purpose Statement

 
Statement About Method Type and Research Questions/Hypotheses

 
Significance and Relevance

 
Delimitations

 
Assumptions

 
Definition of Terms

 
Organization of the Study

 
Summary

 
 
9. REVIEWING THE LITERATURE
Purpose and Scope

 
Preparation

 
Techniques for Writing the Literature Review

 
Advice on Writing a Literature Review

 
Helpful Technologies for Searching the Literature and Collaboration

 
Tips to Keep You Sane and Productive

 
Literature Review Checklist

 
Summary

 
Resources

 
 
10. SELECTING AND DESCRIBING THE METHODOLOGY
The Methodology of Research

 
Describing the Methodology

 
Data Collection Procedures

 
Data Analysis

 
Limitations

 
Methodology Chapter Elements—A Checklist

 
Summary

 
Resources

 
 
11. THE PROPOSAL MEETING
Preparing for the Proposal Meeting

 
During the Proposal Meeting

 
After the Proposal Meeting

 
Summary

 
Resources

 
 
PART IV: FINAL PREPARATIONS FOR THE PEAK
 
12. ANALYZING AND PRESENTING THE FINDINGS
Understanding the Data

 
Writing the Introductory Paragraph

 
Tables and the Narrative Description

 
Presenting the Findings

 
Summary

 
Resources

 
 
13. CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
Reflect on Findings

 
Chapter Organization

 
Summary

 
Resources

 
 
PART V: FINAL ASCENT AND VIEW FROM THE TOP AND BEYOND
 
14. THE FINAL DEFENSE
Virtual Participation Options

 
A Defense Scenario

 
Helpful Hints: Prior to the Final Defense

 
During the Final Defense

 
After the Final Defense

 
Summary

 
Resources

 
 
15. THE NEXT PEAK
The Descent

 
Mount Analogue

 
Helping Others

 
Summary

 
Resources

 
 
PARTING THOUGHTS
 
APPENDIX: DISSERTATION CONTENT CHECKLIST
 
REFERENCES
 
INDEX

"The Dissertation Journey has been a valuable read for graduate and doctoral students for more than a decade, providing an accessible and practical guidebook for the journey of research. Dr. Roberts and Dr. Hyatt bring years of doctoral teaching and dissertation advising experience to this essential book. My students’ comments and my own experiences with referring to the book for my dissertation seminars reinforce the value of this highly recommended text."

Stuart Allen, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Organizational Leadership, Robert Morris University
Robert Morris University

"This book offers an excellent practical guide for doctoral students working on their dissertations. Dr. Roberts and Dr. Hyatt’s work ensures the student will have a rigorous,yet rewarding dissertation experience. The book contains sound academic research advice in an easy to understand and follow format. The book is thorough and its benefits extend beyond the dissertation to any subsequent scholarship that the reader undertakes."

Dr. Farzin Madjidi, Associate Dean, Education Division and Professor of Leadership, Pepperdine University
Pepperdine University
Key features
  • Features checklists, organizing graphics, in-depth list of resources for further inquiry, quotations, illustrations, and other user-friendly elements.
  • Full of easily accessible, practical advice that is administered in small bites.
  • Conversational, warm, and personal writing style unique to this genre.
  • Updates of previous topics,  as well as, new information integral to successfully navigating the dissertation process.
  • A new section titled Resources is incorporated at the end of the chapters and includes websites that are useful throughout the course of completing the dissertation.   

This edition includes updates of previous topics,  as well as new information integral to successfully navigating the dissertation process:

  • Every chapter in this edition has been reviewed and revised to offer the reader current information. 
  • The revisions provided an opportunity to redistribute the material and amalgamate some chapters for greater clarity and utility
  • A new section titled Resources is incorporated at the end of the chapters, which includes websites that are useful throughout the course of completing the dissertation.

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