Qualitative Dissertation Getting it Done Dr Kakali Bhattacharya

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					Qualitative Dissertation
   Getting it Done

            Dr. Kakali Bhattacharya
        Educational Research Forum
                     October 5, 2007
Purpose of a Dissertation

•   Get a degree
•   Establish expertise in area of research
•   Contribute via publishing
•   Contribute via presenting
•   Do meaningful work
Chapters of a Dissertation

• Chapter 1 – Introduction
• Chapter 2 – Substantive Literature
• Chapter 3 – Methods
• Chapter 4 – Findings
• Chapter 5 - Implications
Hourglass Model of Research
Chapter 1: Trailer

• Introduction to topic
• Introduction to theoretical frameworks
  (substantive and methodological)
• Introduction to participants
• Introduction to type of research
• Rationale for study
• Research purpose
• Research questions
Chapter 2: Literature Review

•   Substantive not methodological
•   What is already known in the literature?
•   What is the conversation in the field?
•   What things are not known?
•   What things need further clarification?
•   What things need further studies?
•   How does your research fill the gap?
Chapter 3: Methodology

• Introduce research purpose and
• Rationale for selecting and aligning
  – Epistemology
  – Theoretical framework
  – Methodology
• Literature review on Methodology
  – Who used this methodology?
  – Under what conditions?
  – How was it used?
Chapter 3: Methodology (cont’d)

• Subjectivity Statement
  – Embedded throughout the dissertation OR
  – As a separate statement in chapter 3
Chapter 3: Methodology (Cont’d)

• Research Design
  – Selection of participant/s
  – Research site/s
  – Gaining access to site/s and
  – Membership role/s
Chapter 3: Methodology (Cont’d)
• Data Collection Procedures
  – List all the types of data you collected with
    examples of each of the form of the data you
  – List your time investment for each type of data
  – Make references to your timeline in the
  – List any issues that came up during data
    collection and decisions that you had to make
Chapter 3: Methodology

• Reciprocity and Ethics
  – List all forms of reciprocity with which you
    engaged, before, during, after research
  – List all ethical crossroads that you had to come
    across during your research
  – List all the ways in which you negotiated your
    ethical tensions
Chapter 3: Methodology (Cont’d)

• Data Transformation and Representation
  –   Data analysis procedures you employed
  –   What were the influences on data analysis?
  –   Your process of data management with examples
  –   Your process of data analysis with examples
  –   The decisions that you had to make
  –   Your process of identifying a well-aligned form of
      representation (give example)
Chapter 3: Methodology (Cont’d)

• Trustworthiness and Rigor
  –   List your efforts to maintain rigor
  –   List your efforts to maintain trustworthiness
  –   Offer several examples of these efforts
  –   Attach relevant documents in the appendix
Chapter 4: Findings

• Re-present findings in the form that
  aligns best with your research
• Discuss and analyze the findings using
  – Theoretical constructs
  – Substantive constructs
  – Combination of all constructs played through
    the data analysis (alignment)
  – Provide evidence of deep analysis
Chapter 5: Conclusion/Implications
• Answer research questions
• Answer research purpose
• Answer how you filled the gap in the
  literature as you posited in chapter 2
• List any other contribution/s
• What are the limits of your research?
• What are the possibilities of your
• So what? Why should people care?
• Future directions
Qualitative Research Timeline

• Minimum of a semester for data
• Minimum of a semester for data
  analysis and write-up
• Ideally 2.5 semesters minimum
• However, using course work towards
  dissertation can minimize “dissertation
  completion” time
Qualitative Research Courses

• Introduction to Qualitative Research
  – EDPR 7/8561 (Every semester + summer 1st
  – Research purpose, questions
  – Rationale for research
  – Theoretical framework and relevance
  – Research design
  – Preliminary findings of one interview
  – Chapter 1 and 3 work
Qualitative Research Courses
• Advanced Qualitative Methods
  – EDPR 8562 (every Fall)
  – Meets residency requirements (needs advisor
  – Collect 3 forms of data
  – Analyze data using two types of data analysis
  – Represent data
  – Present findings at a conference
  – Write publishable paper
  – Chapter 3 and 4 work
Qualitative Research Courses

• Writing Up Qualitative Methods
  – EDPR 8001 (Summer, 1st session)
  – Intense writing course/boot camp
  – Students must have data analysis done or in
    the process of being done
  – Complete your findings chapter OR
  – Complete a publishable research paper
  – Chapter 4 work
What about the other chapters?

• Course in Higher Education that you can
  take to write chapters 1, 2, and 3.
• However, re-write chapter 1 after writing
  other chapters
• Chapter 2 – hack away at it in all class
  assignments as much as you can
• Chapter 5 – Use the introduction,
  advanced, and the writing up class to work
  on the conclusions and implications
Tips for Successful Dissertation

• Work closely with your advisor
• Get feedback from committee members
  prior to defense
• Use all your classes to work towards
  the dissertation
• Use a bibliographic software to manage
    – Citations, abstracts, quotations, & pdf links
Tips for Successful Dissertation

• Drink lots of water
• Step away from the computer
• Make time to play
• Get tons of sleep
• Have someone to talk to about your
• Keep a writing pad on you at all times
• Write everyday no matter how trivial it
  might seem
Tips for Successful Dissertation

• Line up your class work with your
• Line up your residency project with
  your dissertation
• Use dissertation to publish
  –   At least 3 publications
  –   Literature review publication
  –   Methods publication
  –   Findings publication
Tips for Successful Dissertation

• Get involved in QRAC so that you can
  support each other (there is money
• Present your preliminary findings in
  conferences to get feedback
• Have fun with your work
• Honor every milestone that you achieve
  – Finishing a paper
  – Getting a proposal accepted
  – Anything that is a milestone to you
Where are we now?
Ask me a question!

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