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Writing the Winning Thesis or Dissertation
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Table of Contents

Preface About the Authors I. Establishing the Foundations 1. Laying the Groundwork for the Thesis and Dissertation Understanding the Special Nature of the Dissertation Purposes in Writing the Dissertation The Audiences for the Dissertation Analyze the Special Characteristics of the Dissertation Making Ethical Choices With Respect to the Dissertation Conduct Ethical Research Secure Informed Consent Acknowledge All Those Who Have Contributed or Collaborated Report the Results Honestly and Objectively Securing the Needed Resources Analyze Your Needs Search for Special Support Understanding the Key Differences Between the Thesis and the Dissertation Roles and Responsibilities of the Committee The Dynamics of the Committee Preventing Problems with the Committee Dealing With Committee Problems Committee Members Do Not Give Feedback Promptly Committee Members Give Conflicting Advice Committee Members Give Unhelpful Advice Relationships Critically Deteriorate Solving Personal Problems With the Dissertation Problems Near the End of the Course Work Problems at the End of Course Work Problems After the Proposal Problems After the Defense A Look Ahead Technology Technique: The Role of the Internet for Research in the Dissertation Process 2. Dealing With Institutional Requirements Styles Specific University Guidelines or Requirements Institutional Review Board Knowledge Requirements (Training) Certificate Time Frame Degree Completion Timelines 3. Finding a Research Problem Make a Personal Assessment of Topics Professional Significance Continuing Professional Interest Personal Interest Career Advancement Professional Knowledge, Experience, and Skills Likely Support Time Required Accessibility Conduct a Broad Scan of the Literature Organize for the Broad Scan Read to Inquire Concentrate on Research Reviews Reflect and Discuss Fix on the Research Topic and Research Problem Technology Technique: University Research Librarians 4. Conducting a Focused Review of the Literature Reorganize Your Files Retrieve All Related Abstracts Evaluate the Results Check for Prior Dissertations Retrieve the Full Texts of the Most Useful Sources Use Primary Sources Develop an Annotated Bibliography A Concluding Note Technology Technique: Software for Maintaining Reference Information 5. Making a Preliminary Choice of Methodology Quantitative and Qualitative Perspectives Mixed Method Perspective Project-Based Studies Research Types Studies Primarily Quantitative in Nature Experimental Research Quasi-Experimental Research Causal-Comparative Research Correlational Research Descriptive Research Evaluation Research Studies Primarily Qualitative in Nature Case Study Research Ethnographic Research Action Research Research Methods Make Preliminary Choices Technology Technique: Data Analysis Software I 6. Organizing and Scheduling Your Work Develop a Planning Chart Make the Tentative Entries Technology Technique: Chart Software 7. Developing the Prospectus and Organizing the Committee Prospectus Rationale Prospectus Developing Committee Selection Committee Dynamics Technology Technique: Telecommunication and Software Editing Tools II. Developing and Defending the Proposal 8. Conducting a Comprehensive Critique of the Literature Maintain Good Research Practices Throughout the Search Develop a Focused Outline of the Search Establish Parameters for the Search Conduct a Comprehensive Search Critique All Sources Retrieved A Concluding Note Technology Technique: Electronic Note Card 9. Detailing the Methodology The Research Design: Its General Nature The Research Design: Type-Specific Issues Quantitative: Experimental and Quasi-Experimental Research Quantitative: Causal-Comparative Research Quantitative: Correlational Research Quantitative: Descriptive Research Evaluation Qualitative: Case Study and Ethnographic Research Mixed Method: Action Research Develop Your Research Design Technology Technique: Data Analysis Software II 10. Developing and Defending the Proposal Peer Collaboration Weighing the Advantages and Disadvantages Structuring the Collaborative Prepare for Comprehensive Examinations Provide Editorial Feedback Assist With and Contribute to Literature Review Assist With and Contribute to Data Collection Assist With and Contribute to Data Analysis Prepare for and Contribute to Defenses Develop and Article for Publication Provide Emotional Support Formalize the Structure and Request Advisor Approval Help the Group Remain Productive Readers and Reviewers Mini-Proposal Developing the Proposal Developing the Proposal: The Big Picture Developing the Proposal: Writing Chapter 1 Introduction to the Chapter Background of the Study The Problem Statement Professional Significance of the Study Developing the Proposal: Writing Chapter 2 Review the Theoretical Literature Review the Empirical Literature Developing the Proposal: Writing Chapter 3 Developing the Proposal: The References Developing the Proposal: The Appendices Holding the Proposal Defense Coordinate Committee Schedules: Date and Time Prepare for the Proposal Defense Presentation of the Proposal Defense Facilities Deal With Other Defense Issues Post Proposal Steps Secure IRB Approval IRB Certification IRB Certification/Advisor University Requirements/Protocols Collect Data After Obtaining Appropriate Approvals Committee Requirements Required Edits and/or Revisions Review and Adjust Timeline Technology Technique: Page Numbering Using Word Processing Software and University Guidelines III. Researching and Writing the Thesis or Dissertation 11. Following the Research Design Communicate Periodically With the Chair Ensure Access to the Research Site Avoid Premature Data Collection Develop a Detailed Planning Calendar Change the Schedule as Needed Prevent Problems With the Intervention Use Computers Mindfully Ensure a High Rate of Return on Surveys Maintain Careful and Duplicate Records Technology Technique: Electronic Data Collection 12. Mastering the Academic Style Follow the Recommended Style Guide Use the Writing Process Develop an Effective Approach to Writing Write With an Efficient Process Mastering the Academic Style Project an Appropriate Persona Document Assertions Vary the Way You Identify Sources Use Appropriate Paragraphing Write Clear, Mature Sentences Some Special Matters of Word Choice and Form Technology Technique: Tools for Writing Software 13. Organizing the Dissertation How Are Dissertations Organized? What Principles Govern the Organization of Individual Chapters? How Can the Organization Be Made Clear to the Reader How Is the Dissertation Finally Packaged? Technology Technique: Editors/Style Editors 14. Writing the Introductory Chapter Introduction to the Chapter The Background of the Study The Problem Statement The Professional Significance of the Study Overview of Methodology Limitations and Delimitations Definition of Terms Technology Technique: Word Processing and Hanging Indents 15. Writing the Review of the Literature Update the Comprehensive Critique of the Literature Reread All Sources Develop the Final Outline Use Levels of Headings That Reflect the Outline Write the Introductory Paragraph Write the First Section of the Review Provide an Overview Generalize Specific Reminders Write the Remaining Sections, Including a Summary Specific Reminders Evaluate and Revise Technology Technique: Formatting Quotes 16. Explaining the Methodology Prepare to Write the Chapter Use an Objective Style in Writing the Chapter Determine the Content of the Chapter Outline the Chapter and Use Headings Appropriately Make an Outline Use Appropriate Headings Describe the Context for the Study Identify the Subjects or Participants Identify the Instruments Used to Collect Data Explain the Procedures Used in Completing the Design Explain How the Data Were Analyzed Write a Summary Technology Technique: Formatting 17. Presenting the Results Prepare to Present the Results Decide on the Contents and Format of the Chapter Determine the Organization of the Chapter Develop the Tables and Figures Write the Introductory Paragraph Write the First Section Write the Remaining Sections, Using Appropriate Headings Revise the Chapter and Submit It for Review Technology Technique: Using Software to Create Figures and Tables 18. Summarizing and Discussing the Results Review the Results Reported Develop an Outline of the Final Chapter Write the Introductory Paragraph Restate the Problem and Review the Methodology Summarize the Results Discuss the Meaning of the Study Reflect on Your Findings Determine the Content of the Discussion Section Write the Discussion Section Technology Technique: Software Capabilities IV. Defending and Profiting From the Dissertation 19. Preparing and Holding the Dissertation Defense Planning Secure Needed Resources Edit the Dissertation Check on Content and Order Write the Abstract Write the Title and Approval Pages Write the Acknowledgment Pages Write the Table of Contents and Lists of Tables and Figures Include the Chapters Finalize the References Finalize Any Appendices Submit the Dissertation Holding the Defense Prepare Facilities Presentation After Your Presentation After the Defense University Requirements University Graduate School or University Library Electronic IRB Completion Requirements Study Closure Documentation Technology Technique: Packaging the Final Draft of The Dissertation 20. Publishing the Thesis or Dissertation Add to the Research Knowledge Base Present a Scholarly Paper Publish a Journal Article Identify Several Possible Journals Make a Careful Analysis of Each Journal Prepare the Article for Submission Develop a Plan to Publish a Book Complete the Book Plan Submit the Book Plan Technology Technique: Journal Software Requirements References Index

About the Author

Randy L. Joyner is an adjunct professor in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction in the College of Education, Appalachian State University, Boone, NC. He is retired from the Department of Educational Leadership in the College of Education of East Carolina University, where he directed or served as committee member for 25 dissertations. Furthermore, he has served as a doctoral committee member at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, Virginia; and North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina. He has received several awards for his research: the Delta Pi Epsilon doctoral research award, the Omicron Tau Theta Iota Chapter Research Award, and the Delta Pi Epsilon Alpha Chapter Research Award. The results of his research have been published in numerous national and international journals. William A. Rouse Jr. is the Associate Dean for Graduate Education and Faculty Affairs in the College of Education, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC as well as an Associate Professor in the Department of Educational Leadership in the College of Education, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC. He was a public school teacher and a secondary school principal prior to joining the faculty at East Carolina University. He has worked with several school districts' administrators to refocus their efforts on effective school leadership practices that result in a dynamic teaching and learning environment. He has also worked with a school district to redesign large comprehensive high schools into smaller learning communities resulting in increased student academic performance. In 2004, he coauthored the Outstanding Paper delivered at the Delta Pi Epsilon National Research Conference; his research has been published in national refereed journals. Allan A. Glatthorn (1924-2007) was a major contributor to the third and fourth editions; his research used in the preparation of the first and second editions of Writing the Winning Thesis or Dissertation: A Step-by-Step Guide was the foundation for the third edition. He was the Distinguished Research Professor of Education (Emeritus) in the College of Education of East Carolina University, where he advised doctoral students, chaired dissertations, and taught courses in supervision and curriculum. He was formerly Professor of Education at the Graduate School of Education of the University of Pennsylvania. Prior to his university assignments, he was a high school teacher and principal. In his work as a professor, he chaired close to 100 dissertations. He is the author of numerous professional books, several of which have been published by Corwin.

Reviews

"Successfully writing and defending a thesis/dissertation is often the impediment that keeps doctoral students from completing their programs. Writing the Winning Thesis or Dissertation is a great blueprint to avoid this pitfall. Every doctoral student should pick up a copy of this easy to follow guide. It is written in a very user-friendly format, answers numerous questions, and provides clear direction. Joyner, Rouse, and Glatthorn provide the graduate student a key to getting started, working through the process, and completing a winning thesis or dissertation. No graduate student should be without a copy on his or her shelf." -- Dr. Henry A. Peel, Special Assistant to the President
"This book is a valuable tool for students and professors alike. It addresses the concerns students have, and reminds those of us guiding dissertations of the issues surrounding this challenging process.Writing a dissertation is a step-by-step activity. This is a guide that the doctoral candidate can read, and re-read as each step is accomplished, seeing both the details and the 'big picture'." -- Theresa Eagle, Dean, Graduate School of Education and Professional Development
"Few tasks are as potentially intimidating to graduate students as the process of constructing and completing a masters' thesis or doctoral dissertation. In this text, the authors have provided many practical tools and ideas for guiding this process to a successful conclusion. This newly updated edition of what has been a highly popular and useful text will be well received by scores of graduate students in the various fields of education and educational leadership." -- James R. Machell, Dean, College of Education and Professional Studies
"The authors have provided an excellent start-to-finish how-to guide for completing a dissertation. It is practical, useful, and written in a way that is not threatening to students. This book 'brings it home' for the students. It is an important resource for any doctoral student!" -- Sandy Hutchinson, EdD, Professor of Educational Leadership
"Writing the Winning Thesis or Dissertation, occupies a unique place in academic literature. The book is extremely readable and offers practical and useful advice for graduate students and doctoral candidates while also observing the highest standards of scholarship and the professoriate. I recommend the book to all my doctoral students and the feedback I receive is uniformly excellent. The process for writing a thesis or dissertation is broken down into easily understood components with clear directions for following the process from the beginning (selecting a chair) to the end (the final defense). I am proud to know Dr. Rouse as a colleague, and I am proud of his work on this book." -- Dr. James O. McDowelle, Professor, Educational Leadership
"Writing the Winning Thesis or Dissertation represents a collection of years of professional experiences in serving on thesis and dissertation committees. Having successfully served on over sixty dissertation committees as chair, methodologist, and reader in my career, I found this book to be thoroughly covering all aspects of the dissertation process. The student oriented approach the authors take in writing and organization makes it easy for students to accept and follow instructions. What I appreciate most is the last part of the book giving students all the encouragement and support for continuing with the scholarship of their dissertation studies. This is a book I will certainly include as an essential reference for my doctoral classes." -- Tak Cheung Chan, Professor of Educational Leadership
"It is a difficult quest to give students the needed resources to assist in writing a thesis or dissertation. Joyner, Rouse and Glatthorn address completing this journey in an organized and sequential process. I congratulate the authors in their thoughtful portrayal." -- Ellen H. Reames, Program Coordinator

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