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Crafting a Dissertation

When deciding the next topic for my blog, I identified and disposed of numerous topics. I simply could not identify a topic on which I wanted to write. Finally, based upon an increasing number of dissertation coaching requests and a desire to inform doctoral candidates, I settled on the dissertation process. Having determined the topic, I then had to think of a title for the blog post. After much hemming and hawing, I finally decided on, “Crafting a Dissertation.” I chose this title because, like most works of art, the dissertation requires creativity, passion, and hard work. It truly is a work that must be carefully and painstakingly crafted. Throughout my musings on this topic, I will try to identify challenges met, hurdles cleared, and lessons learned. So, without further ado the first posting of…Crafting a Dissertation.

The dissertation process can be, by turns, frightening, exciting, disheartening, and exhilarating. It is, I have decided, consistent preparation that determines whether a doctoral candidate overcomes or succumbs to the pressures of the dissertation. By consistent preparation, I mean daily organization and automation of dissertation tasks. The overall organizational steps for a dissertation are generally specified by the institution the doctoral student attends and includes some variation of the following: name a dissertation committee, prepare a proposal, have a proposal hearing, gain IRB approval (if needed), collect and manipulate data, write draft dissertation, obtain approval from dissertation committee, make revisions, defend dissertation, revise dissertation, and submit dissertation electronically. But this is only the macro level organization. Micro-level organization is daily attendance to dissertation tasks. At the most fundamental level, this includes how the candidate gains and processes information. Information is the basic building block of the dissertation. A candidate who can accrue, sharpen, and metabolize information continually is the one who will successfully complete the dissertation process.

My next blog posting will expand upon this information processing and give insight into how the process works. Until then...


Colleen L.

Professor for Theses and Doctoral Guidance and Standardized Test Prep

300+ hours
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