FIVE KEY STAGES OF PRODUCING AN ACADEMIC DISSERTATION
STAGE I: PREPARING THE WAY
Here you are supposed to start looking for homework answers
and developing task-oriented approach to your paper through:
identifying resources needed for your project
describing methods (a) to use relevant professional literature and (b) to manage your survey literature
STAGE II: CHOOSING & DEFINING RESEARCH TOPICS
The second stage includes:
picking out the question or problem to focus your project on
deciding if you want to develop or adapt a theory as part of your project's contribution; and - if you are in to it, indeed, plan to conceive a theory - deciding how to get round it
stating a problem and its rationale to explain how your dissertation contributes to your field of study
STAGE III: COLLECTING & ORGANIZING INFORMATION
Once you have specified your research proposal and explained its value, your nearest step is to find an appropriate way to assemble the information required to answer the question.
This phase is divided into two sub-stages - III-A and III-B. Interrelated and interdependent, these are typically pursued in parallel.
You need to outline a plan to organize and efficiently collect data. Though performed simultaneously, the two sub-stages are here described separately, for the sake of clarity.
Sub-Stage III-A: Gathering Information
This is the first data-collection stage which describes a variety of effective approaches to gathering information.
This sub-stage seeks to:
sketch principal features of a method
illustrate sorts of research questions or problems the method suits best
point out the method's advantages and limitations
Approaches cited cover historical accounts, case studies, ethnographies, experience narratives, surveys, correlation analyses and experiments. When working on their dissertation, students often face problems at the data-collection stage.
Sub-Stage III-B: Organizing Information
Whatever information you get to develop your PhD
dissertation, you need to organize it in an effective manner that enables you to:
draw comparisons and contrasts
estimate causes and effects
For this purpose you need a classification system like a chronology, typology or taxonomy and a method of condensing the mass of data in an accurate, comprehensible form.
STAGE IV: INTERPRETING RESULTS
Here you must explain what it is all about. You must give a convincing answer to the 'so what' question"
STAGE V: PRESENTING THE FINAL PRODUCT
At this final stage, you have to present your completed PhD dissertation to appropriate audiences. Your immediate audience includes your major advisor and any other faculty members assigned to assess your work.
Therefore, your primary responsibilities are:
to introduce your immediate audience to a well crafted written account of your work
to fashion a convincing explanation of your research methods and findings (in case you are also supposed to defend your dissertation before a committee)
Now you see it is very long road to go. Still you are not sure if it is worth making an effort.
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