"The Dissertation"

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by me again, Jul 11, 2008.

  1. AV8R

    AV8R Active Member

    Good question. I'd like to hear some feedback on this too.
  2. me again

    me again Well-Known Member

    That nag-in-my-head

    • I took the advice of others at DegreeInfo.com and began to form a dissertation topic about three years before actually getting to the research/dissertation classes.
    • Prior to entering the research/dissertation courses, others at DegreeInfo.com gave sage advice to treat the recommendations of committee members as golden advice from the gods -- and cherish their suggestions. I did.
    • People at DegreeInfo.com have also said that once you finish your dissertation, nobody will care about it -- except for you.
    With the above points in mind, I presented my original idea for a dissertation to the chair -- and he said it was a good idea and he was willing to work with me on it, but he suggested something entirely different. I subsequently abandoned my original idea, which I'd been chewing on for a couple of years, and took his idea and ran with it with the goal of completing a dissertation by any means necessary.

    The dissertation committee must have given me over a thousand requests for changes over the course of a couple of years; I never quibbled with them; instead, I simply made the changes. There were a few instances where I changed something to please committee member X -- and then committee member Y didn't understand why I did it that way and he requested that I do it another way (which was the first way that I had done it -- it was circular logic). I simply did everything that they requested without quibbling and made no bones about it and, in retrospect, it seems to have expedited the process.

    On an entirely different note: Now that the dissertation is over, it feels like a black cloud has been lifted from off of me. I no longer have a constant nag-in-my-head of dissertation-things that need to be done. It's lifted. I can actually concentrate on important things in life, like living. After having that nag-in-my-mind for so many years, it's refreshing to have the nag abruptly disappear. Poof: It's gone!
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 14, 2008
  3. PatsFan

    PatsFan New Member

    Deciding on a topic

    Since dissertation topics vary depending on what kind of doctoral program you are in, I would recommend looking at the titles of other dissertations for that particular degree at that particular school. I don't know how it works for non-theological doctorates, but one place where you can look at theologically-oriented dissertation titles is at www.tren.com.

    Very cool. I just saw mine listed (Just graduated a month ago).
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 15, 2008
  4. dlady

    dlady Active Member

    me_again: how long did it take you to finish the final three dissertation section of the program? I am starting the research proposal section and looking at DIS9007DBA, and am noticing that I am moving slower and slower through the program (even though the volume of work remains constant/time.)..
  5. me again

    me again Well-Known Member

    RSH v. DIS

    dlady, the RSH courses presented the greatest and most time-consuming difficulty for me because it involved a constant justification of my proposal. We bantered back and forth for a year and a half on the best methodologies and the weaknesses of all of them. If a particular methodology was challenged by a committee member, then I provided an expository justification of exactly how it would work (which frequently satisfied them -- but it was very time-consuming and was writing-intensive). Once I got through the RSH courses (chapters 1-3), I was able to blow through the DIS courses (chapters 4-5) in less than six months. In the RSH courses, the student must constantly justify his proposed actions and methodologies -- and in the DIS courses, the student simply executes his proposal, thus resulting in the final two chapters of his dissertation. IMO the RSH courses were the most challenging. Your mileage may vary.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 16, 2008
  6. dlady

    dlady Active Member

    Interesting, and consistant with my experiences thus far, I have one more RSH course to go, but have only completed 2 in the past year, 3 in 14 months if you count comps. I did have to completly change my entire approach and topic, which started out as a quantitative industry survey, and is now a qualitative case study.. about as night and day as it can get.. it does make me smile when I read anti-NCU rigor comments though..
  7. me again

    me again Well-Known Member

    Wow, the same thing happened to me! I was going to use mixed methods (qualitative and quantitative), but ended up doing a qualitative dissertation using preexisting quantitative data e.g. I didn't generate any new quantitative data.
  8. japhy4529

    japhy4529 House Bassist

    David/Dr. Me Again,

    Thanks for the information regarding the NCU dissertation process. As someone who is interested in possibly pursuing a Ph.D. through NCU, this is very helpful. I have to say that in reviewing some of the NCU dissertations available through the ProQuest UMI database, I am disapointed by the number of grammatical and spelling errors I have come across. I would have hoped these errors would have been spotted by the author, his/her supervisor or one of the committee members. With that said, it is nice to hear that there is a certain level of rigor involved in the NCU dissertation process.

    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 16, 2008
  9. dlady

    dlady Active Member

    What are the dates for the ones you have found with these types of errors? I can say from firsthand experience that the current process would certainly address this..

    Oh, and also I am assuming you are suggesting that these errors are more prevalent in NCU dissertations versus other ones?
  10. Vinipink

    Vinipink Accounting Monster

    Best advice I have found:

    • Get started and stay motivated
    • Choose dissertation topic pronto!
    • Gather your resources
    • Divide your workload into easily manageable small parts
    • Set goals and track your progress daily
    • Manage your time effectively
    • Work smarter, not harder
    • Make progress each and every day
    • Overcome writer’s block
    • Find the right advisor, committee members and advocates
    • Access a supportive peer group (NCU has this)
    • Avoid potential pitfalls and common mistakes
    • Anticipate hidden costs and find additional funding
    • Prepare your defense
    Most important, finish your dissertation, A GOOD dissertation is a DONE dissertation!!!!!
  11. me again

    me again Well-Known Member

    It... is... finished!

    Mannnnn you've got that right! :D
  12. edowave

    edowave Active Member

    This is the case at many universities. Most committee members do not read the entire dissertation (if at all) and the editorial offices when you submit to your university library for publication mainly checks for formatting, not spelling or grammar.
  13. Anthony Pina

    Anthony Pina Active Member

    This may be true at MSU, but the only large-scale study that looked at Ed.D. versus Ph.D. dissertations (1,900 of them) found no significant difference in rigor between the Ed.D. and Ph.D.
  14. Neoplato

    Neoplato New Member

    At least at well-ranked departments, I would assume at least the primary committee member/advisor usually reads the whole thing, right?
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 23, 2008
  15. Neoplato

    Neoplato New Member

    To add to endowave's point:

    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 23, 2008
  16. Anthony Pina

    Anthony Pina Active Member

    I was recently on the dissertation committee of a Capella Ph.D. learner (I was the "non-Capella" committee member) and I read every draft of every chapter and every revision. Thank goodness for the comments feature of MS Word! The Chair and the other Capella faculty committee member also provided constant feedback. Since I had to put my name on the document, I did not want to embarrass myself or do a disservice to our candidate by allowing shoddy work to be disseminated.
  17. Anthony Pina

    Anthony Pina Active Member

    Great advice (especially the last bullet)!
  18. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member


    If you can't get it right, get it "wrote"!
  19. edowave

    edowave Active Member

    The committee chair will usually read the whole thing, but you never know.

    I once heard of a grad student who wrote "knock-knock" jokes into her dissertation just to see if her committee members were really reading it.
  20. Bruce

    Bruce Moderator

    Were they? :D

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