Dissertation consulting services

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by _T_, Dec 5, 2011.

  1. _T_

    _T_ New Member

    I was not sure where this fit best, so I’m posting it here in the general discussion.

    As the title suggests, has anyone utilized a company to help with the dissertation process? I’ve seen a few that offer to help with the statistics part only, and others who assist through the entire process. All of them seem to be a rather expensive service, but if they could help me to finish my dissertation sooner, and thus save some money on tuition, it may be worth it. What are the thoughts / opinions / experiences of everyone?
  2. SurfDoctor

    SurfDoctor Moderator

    Good questions, thanks for posting. I will be watching for the answers because I will soon be in the dissertation phase myself and will be interested in what you turn up.
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 5, 2011
  3. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    If one uses these, at what point is one not really writing the dissertation alone?
  4. SurfDoctor

    SurfDoctor Moderator

    I don't think he is looking for a guy in China who will write a dissertation for him; just a consultant to help him think through the process. I wouldn't think that a legit consultant would do the work for you
  5. Randell1234

    Randell1234 Moderator

    I used Nina Moliver ([email protected]) for the stats. I ran all the stats and had her double check them and aid with writing them up the way NCU wanted to see them. I used a friend with a PhD from Aurbun for editing (Bill DeLeeuw - [email protected]). I waited until the very end for the editing helps. He did not re-write it, he just fixed "then / than" issues, split imfinitives, etc. He is actually running a December special of $30 an hour.
  6. Randell1234

    Randell1234 Moderator

    There is a difference between having someone help with edits vs. writing it for you.
  7. _T_

    _T_ New Member

    Exactly. One of the companies I spoke with offered an entire suite of services depending on how far one is along in the process. For example:

    Just started: Assist is forming an appropriate research question, guidance on building a research model, etc

    Some effort already put in: Review the current work, offer additional reference materials that are not already included in the lit review, critique of theoretical basis for the study

    Nearly done: Assist in refining the document based on committee recommendations, proof reading, APA formatting, etc...

    I also found a company that charges a single flat fee up front and then works with you for the entire duration of the process. According to them, they work with you until you successfully defend and have your diploma in hand. That sounds rather interesting to me...
  8. SurfDoctor

    SurfDoctor Moderator

    Please keep us informed on what you find out and who you use. I'm interested.
  9. Shawn Ambrose

    Shawn Ambrose New Member

    For my dissertation...

    I utilized Stuart Robertson to review my NVIVO data analysis, and I hired one of the English Faculty at my institution to proofread the dissertation.

    If you are thinking about qualitative research and NVIVO, I highly recommend Stuart!
  10. John Bear

    John Bear Senior Member

    Randall: "...There is a difference between having someone help with edits vs. writing it for you..."

    John: Indeed. And the issue has been a controversial one forever. For years, I had a friend, Sylvia Sklar (PhD, Berkeley) who did this for a living. She often talked about the challenge of walking the tightrope between what many potential clients wanted and what she was willing, ethically, to do. She did it well enough that she was recommended by the English Dept at Cal, either when students asked, or when a faculty believed a student could benefit from such a service.

    A few years ago, I asked Sylvia what I could say to an inquirer who needed help in a field she didn't deal with. She replied that she had successfully referred students to Thesis-Dissertation Editors, Coaches, Writing Consultants, apparently with good results. I have no personal knowledge here, but their website looks promising.

    As others have suggested, do let us know what you learn, and if and how you proceed. It could help a lot of people.

    John Bear
    Bears Guide to Earning Degrees
    by DIstance Learning
  11. Shawn Ambrose

    Shawn Ambrose New Member

    Of course, if you are really struggling, you can transfer to Breyer State, where you can complete a doctoral project in 15 weeks:

    MNG 1500 - Doctoral Project | Public Syllabi

    What does BSU know that other universities don't :eek:
  12. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator

    How to lower the bar all the way to the bottom.
  13. Nicole-HUX

    Nicole-HUX New Member

    I'm curious as to why the help you need doesn't seem to be available from your major professor, your other faculty committee members, and/or the advisors from your program. I know I could be mistaken but it would seem to me as if assistance in developing the critical thinking skills that are learned in graduate work should come, in part, through interaction with one's committee and feedback from one's peers in any given program. This would seem to define the mentor/mentee relationship. One can always seek outside assistance, but in doing so, are you taking a short cut that might ultimately impede the ability to replicate the process post-degree? Is having the letters after one's name more important than the path that led to them?

    Not trying to be contentious or argumentative, just constantly examining the paradigm.
  14. Shawn Ambrose

    Shawn Ambrose New Member

    Great posting!

    Yes, your committee is important, and a good committee will work with a doctoral candidate. However, we can't be experts at everything. Therefore, part being a member of the academy is to find subject matter experts and collaborate with them. Very little research occurs in a vacuum, and to enlist the appropriate help of others is certainly appropriate (and I'll say expected) as you complete the dissertation.
  15. Randell1234

    Randell1234 Moderator

    That is just cold - I love it.
  16. ITJD

    ITJD Active Member

    1. When your collaborators are working with you for the purposes of academic intent and they receive appropriate by-lines I agree with you.
    2. I can assure you that these dissertation services are not being credited for their paid services on the dissertations they're helping with.
    3. Use of them is unethical and at best amoral. The lack of expertise on your committee is something you're supposed to bring to the table for your dissertation topic.

    I agree with Nicole, minus your elaboration Dr. Ambrose.
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 6, 2011
  17. Shawn Ambrose

    Shawn Ambrose New Member

    And for the record, the members of the academy who reviewed my interview guide, reviewed the manuscript, and reviewed my NVIVO data analysis were all given credit in the dissertation.

    Well put ITJD & Nicole.
  18. SurfDoctor

    SurfDoctor Moderator

    Shawn, Nicole, ITJD, I must be ignorant on what these services do for you. I was under the impression that they would give you counsel on doing research and on writing, much like any committee member might do. The fact that they are paid would make them more accessible and more willing to work within your time requirements. I would certainly give someone credit for that sort of thing.

    Are you suggesting that these services do more than that? You are not saying they do some of the work for you, are you? If that's the case, then their use would be a little shady. This would be especially true if they weren't credited.
  19. Shawn Ambrose

    Shawn Ambrose New Member

    I'm not making that assertion - but at the same time, as ITJD stated, are these services being given credit in the dissertation? If yes, then OK...if no, then the question is why not?

    Personally, I would stay away from them - select a quality committee! :)
  20. SurfDoctor

    SurfDoctor Moderator

    I agree, but that's easier said than done. I have a few friends who selected the best committee they could find and then went through a very long misery when they realized they had people who were not much help. I am hoping to find a few recent doctors at my school and find out who they used.

    My problem is that I have a few that have been really helpful but their area of expertise is different than what I need. I will probably still ask them anyway, but I will need to find someone who knows my field. I know of one doc at my school who is an expert, but I don't really know him and don't know how much help he would actually be. It's kind of a crapshoot.

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