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Introduction 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. It is my attempt to share 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. Usually a guide of this nature focuses on the actual implementation of the research. This is not the focus 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. 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. Don’t be overly influenced by others-it’s your research.
Try and set a realistic goal. Take a leave of absence when it will do the most good. Try a preliminary study to help clarify your research. Prepare a comprehensive review of the literature. Proposal should be first 3 chapters of dissertation. Include a title on your proposal. Organize around a set of questions.
Design your research so the subjects benefit. Carefully select location for your research. Avoid conducting research in conjunction with another agency. Select faculty who will support you. Your major professor is your ally. Provide committee with well written proposal. Begin writing with sections you know the best.