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Dissertation Writing – Preparing The Way

  1. Beginning.
  2. Style of Advising
  3. Quantitative instruments
  4. Interpreting the results.
  5. The professional literature.

5. The Professional Literature

As you know, an enormous body of academic writing has accumulated over the
centuries, and it continues to increase today at an exponential rate. A great
deal of the help you need to complete a respectable project will likely come
from this assemblage of knowledge. Because there are multiple roles that the
professional literature can play in your endeavor, and because ways of surveying
the literature can be complex, a thorough discussion of such matters warrants
a separate discussion.


The intent of this checklist is to help you decide what position you wish
to adopt regarding a number of the issues raised in the chapter. You can show
your response to a question by writing an X in the space before each answer
that represents your intent.
1. If you do not already have a principal advisor for your project, how do you
plan to find one?
_____Ask other students' opinions about which professors are most helpful.
_____Ask faculty members that I respect for their recommendations.
_____Look up the specializations of different faculty members (their courses
and publications) to select one whose expertise is close to my academic interests.

_____Other (specify)__________

If you already have an advisor, but you are dissatisfied and would like to
find a better one, what do you plan to do?
_____Nothing. Trying to change would cause too much trouble.
_____Ask the advice of a faculty member whom I trust.
_____Ask another faculty member to be my advisor, and take that faculty member's
advice about how best to effect the transfer.
_____Ask the department chairperson or dean for advice as to how I should handle
this problem.
_____Other (specify)__________

If your project is to be supervised by a faculty committee, how will the additional
committee members (other than the principal advisor) be selected?
_____By me.
_____By my principal advisor.
_____By agreement between my principal advisor and me.
_____By a committee that is authorized to make such decisions.
_____Other (specify)__________

(Note: In responding to the questions under item 4, write W on the line in
front of each choice that tells the kind of help you want, and write E before
each choice that shows the kind of help you can probably expect to get. Obviously,
in some cases the help you want will be the same as the help you can expect,
so both W and E will appear on the same line. In other cases you may want help
but you expect it may not be forthcoming, so you'll look forward to living with
a discrepancy between want and get.)

4. What kind of help do you want, and what kind of help do you expect to receive

4.1 Your principal advisor?
_____(a) None.
_____(b) Suggestions for a research topic.
_____(c) An appraisal of research options I propose.
_____(d) Prompt responses to each stage of my project that I hand in.
_____(e) Sources of information, such as bibliographies, experts to contact,
e-mail addresses, reprints of journal articles.
_____(f) Suggestions about methods of data collection.
_____(g) Suggestions about theories on which to base my study.

_____(h) Suggestions about how to classify and organize my data.
_____(i) Suggestions about interpreting my results.
_____(j) Suggestions about the overall organization of my final written product.

_____(k) Proofreading the final product, and correcting typos, grammar, spelling,
and usage errors.
_____(l) Preparing me to defend the final project before the examining committee,
both in the early stages of the project and at the end.
_____(m) Other (specify)__________

4.2 Your other committee members”(To respond, on the line following Want,
write the appropriate letters from the list under 4.1 to indicate which types
of help you want. On the line following Expect, write the letters from the 4.1
list to indicate types of help you expect. Use this answer system for items
4.2 through 4.5.)

4.3 Your fellow graduate students?

4.4 Other professors on your campus?

4.5 Experts located away from your campus?

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