Writing and Presenting Your Thesis or Dissertation. Copyright © 2005 by S. Joseph Levine. All rights reserved, No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without written permission from the publisher. PRINTED IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA Visit our website at http://www.LearnerAssociates.net First Lulu.com edition published 2005
Writing and Presenting Your Thesis or Dissertation
S. Joseph Levine, PhD
Professor Emeritus Michigan State University East Lansing, Michigan USA
This guide has been created to assist my graduate students in thinking through the many aspects of crafting, implementing and defending a thesis or dissertation in areas related to the discipline of adult learning. It has been my purpose to share with my students some of the many ideas that have surfaced over the past few years that definitely make the task of finishing a graduate degree so much easier. (Note: This Dissertation/Thesis Guide is a companion to the Guide for Writing a Funding Proposal which can also be found on the worldwide web at: http://www.LearnerAssociates.net) Usually a guide of this nature focuses on the actual implementation of the research. This is not the intention of this guide. Instead of examining such aspects as identifying appropriate sample size, field testing the instrument and selecting appropriate statistical tests, this guide looks at many of the quasi-political aspects of the process. Such topics as how to select a supportive committee, making a compelling presentation of your research outcomes and strategies for actually getting the paper written are discussed. Of course, many of the ideas that are presented can be used successfully by other graduate students studying under the guidance of other advisers and from many different disciplines. However, the use of this guide carries no guarantee -- implied or otherwise. When in doubt check with your adviser. Probably the best advice to start with is the idea of not trying to do your research entirely by yourself. Do it in conjunction with your adviser. Seek out his/her input and assistance. Stay in touch with your adviser so that both of you know what's happening. There's a much better chance of getting to the end of your project and with a smile on your face.
With this in mind, enjoy the guide. I hope it will help you finish your graduate degree in good shape. Good luck and good researching!
S. Joseph Levine mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org January 2005
A Special Note About Reprinting This Guide: This Dissertation/Thesis Guide has been created to assist graduate students in the successful completion of their graduate degree. With this in mind, permission is granted for non-commercial reproduction of the Guide for educational use as long as the Guide is made available in its entirety, full credit is given to the author, and any fee associated with the dissemination of the Guide is limited to recovering duplication costs with no intention of making a profit from its sale.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
The Thinking About It Stage…..1 Preparing The Proposal…..5 Writing The Thesis Or Dissertation…..15 The Thesis/Dissertation Defense…..21
The “Thinking About It” Stage
The "thinking about it stage" is when you are finally faced with the reality of completing your degree. Usually the early phases of a graduate program proceed in clear and very structured ways. The beginning phases of a graduate program proceed in much the same manner as an undergraduate degree program. There are clear requirements and expectations, and the graduate student moves along, step by step, getting ever closer to the completion of the program. One day, however, the clear structure begins to diminish and now...