Date of publication: 2017-08-24 04:28
a. If you are given the opportunity to select your dissertation committee do it wisely. Don't only focus on content experts. Make sure you have selected faculty for your committee who are supportive of you and are willing to assist you in successfully completing your research. You want a committee that you can ask for help and know that they will provide it for you. Don't forget, you can always access content experts who are not on your committee at any time during your research project.
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8. Read through someone else's research proposal. Very often a real stumbling block is that we don't have an image in our mind of what the finished research proposal should look like. How has the other proposal been organized? What are the headings that have been used? Does the other proposal seem clear? Does it seem to suggest that the writer knows the subject area? Can I model my proposal after one of the ones that I've seen? If you can't readily find a proposal or two to look at, ask your adviser to see some. Chances are your adviser has a file drawer filled with them.
c. Sometimes a combined methodology makes the most sense. You can combine a qualitative preliminary study (to define your population more clearly, to develop your instrumentation more specifically or to establish hypotheses for investigation) with a quantitative main study to yield a research project that works well.
85. Probably the most disorganized defense I've attended is the one where the dissertation director began the meeting by saying, You've all read the dissertation. What questions do you have for the student? What a mess. Questions started to be asked that bounced the student around from one part of the dissertation to another. There was no semblance of order and the meeting almost lost control due to its lack of organization. At that time I vowed to protect my students from falling into such a trap by helping them organize the defense as an educational presentation.
b. Choose your methodology wisely. Don't be too quick in running away from using a quantitative methodology because you fear the use of statistics. A qualitative approach to research can yield new and exciting understandings, but it should not be undertaken because of a fear of quantitative research. A well designed quantitative research study can often be accomplished in very clear and direct ways. A similar study of a qualitative nature usually requires considerably more time and a tremendous burden to create new paths for analysis where previously no path had existed. Choose your methodology wisely!
6. If you're going to ask for a leave of absence from your job while you're working on your research this isn't a good time to do it. Chances are you can do the thinking about it stage without a leave of absence. Assuming that there are six major phases that you will have during your research project, probably the best time to get the most from a leave of absence is during the fourth stage* - the writing stage. This is the time when you really need to be thinking well. To be able to work at your writing in large blocks of time without interruptions is something really important. A leave of absence from your job can allow this to happen. A leave of absence from your job prior to this stage may not be a very efficient use of the valuable time away from your work.
At the defense try and keep your focus on the interactions that occur. Does the student seem relaxed? What strategies does the student use to keep relaxed? How does the student interact with the faculty? Does the student seem to be able to answer questions well? What would make the situation appear better? What things should you avoid? You can learn a lot from sitting in on such a meeting.