Tuesday, August 8, 2017

leadership dot #1894: structure

I recently updated an article that provides pragmatic tips for completing a dissertation. I had written the article when I received my degree, but wanted to post it on LinkedIn to help the next generation of doctoral students get the monkey off their back and finish that degree.

I was surprised at how much had changed in those 20 years. When I wrote my dissertation, there was no Excel at the time and my academic advisor did not accept documents via email! I initially encouraged students to put their latest draft on a disc (not a flash drive) and put it in their car each evening so all would not be lost in case of a house fire (as happened to a classmate!). You no longer need dimes to access microfiche, money orders for the copyright fee, or boxes to mail the binders with the latest draft.

Regardless of the mechanics to achieve it, the ultimate aim of a dissertation is still the same: to demonstrate to the committee that a student can synthesize existing research and advance it with original research that moves knowledge forward.

Whether you ever write a dissertation or not, following that framework will be of great help in structuring an argument or proposal for almost any topic. Summarize "what is", then share what you learned that supports or refutes that thinking, and what you recommend as a result.

The skill is in the discipline to actually do it, not in the doing itself.

Climbing the Dissertation Mountain: Pragmatic Tips on How to Finish, click here for a copy.

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