Demystifying the Qualitative Dissertation

The attrition rate from doctoral programs nationally is between 40-50 percent.  Many students get lost in a dissertation process that is mystifying, unstructured, and without clear guideposts. This situation can be magnified for qualitative dissertations, which are far more open-ended.

This course demystifies the process. Writing a qualitative dissertation that is authentic and contributes to knowledge requires that doctoral students adopt a scholar identity predicated on the ability to transform from a passive consumer of knowledge to an active knowledge producer.

The course will consist of 8 sessions built to guide students through this process.

The first session of this course helps students determine their own positions with respect to knowledge, before focusing on the skills of writing the dissertation. The remaining sessions of the course introduce the skills of conceptualizing, conducting, and reporting on the dissertation research in ways that help the student to conceptualize the dissertation authentically, and write in her or his unique scholarly voice.

Day 1 Sessions

  1. Your Scholar Identity: From Passive Information Gatherer to Active Knowledge Producer
  2. The Dissertation through the Lens of Your Scholar Identity
  3. The Elements of Chapter One
  4. Conceptual Frameworks

Day 2 Sessions

  1. Writing with the Literature, Not writing the Literature
  2. Making Methodological choices: What/Who drives the choice?
  3. Crafting the Findings Chapter(s); Your voice, Your story
  4. Quality Criteria in Qualitative Research