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Writing a Proposal for Your Dissertation: Guidelines and Examples

TextbookHandbook / Manual
"Let's Start Writing" exercises leading up to a complete proposal draft
"Do You Understand?" checklists of key terms plus an end-of-book glossary
End-of-chapter quizzes with answers
Case study examples from education, psychology, health sciences, business, and information systems
Sample proposal with three variants of the methods chapter: quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods

By: Steven R Terrell (Author)

Guilford Publishing

Paperback | Dec 2015 | #228988 | ISBN-13: 9781462523023
Availability: Usually dispatched within 48 hours
NHBS Price: £23.99 $31/€29 approx
Hardback | Oct 2015 | #228987 | ISBN-13: 9781462523030
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NHBS Price: £54.99 $70/€66 approx

About this book

This user-friendly guide helps students get started on – and complete – a successful doctoral dissertation proposal by accessibly explaining the process and breaking it down into manageable steps. Steven R. Terrell demonstrates how to write each chapter of the proposal, including the problem statement, purpose statement, and research questions and hypotheses; literature review; and detailed plan for data collection and analysis. Of special utility, end-of-chapter exercises serve as building blocks for developing a full draft of an original proposal. Numerous case study examples are drawn from across the social, behavioral, and health science disciplines. Appendices present an exemplary proposal written three ways to encompass quantitative, qualitative, and mixed-methods designs.

''This book tackles one of the most daunting tasks that doctoral students face. By breaking down the proposal writing process in a manageable and thorough way, the book educates the student from beginning to end. It is a 'must read' for doctoral students – I would use it in all classes about the dissertation process and assign it to all doctoral students as soon as they start their program! It also will be valuable for general research methods classes at the graduate level and any classes leading up to the doctoral dissertation requirement. Students will benefit from the concrete examples that bring the process to life."
– Jacqueline V. Lerner, PhD, Program in Applied Developmental Psychology, Boston College

"Many students flounder in the process of writing a dissertation proposal. Terrell's book treats in depth what other works on writing a dissertation dispatch in a few paragraphs. He recognizes not only the importance but also the complexity of writing the problem statement and other elements of the proposal, and provides students with expert guidance in how to capture precisely a study's importance within a defined scope. Terrell's insights are wise and on target; students will find them to be of great value."
– Steven D. Zink, PhD, Vice Chancellor, Nevada System of Higher Education

"This book demystifies the entire dissertation proposal process, and is particularly helpful in the area of considering and refining a research problem. A major strength is the way Terrell clarifies the process by analyzing numerous topics in terms of their problem statement, purpose statement, and research question."
– Frederick J. Brigham, PhD, Special Education Program, George Mason University

"The style is accessible and conversational; perfect for apprehensive doctoral students who need a broad overview of the proposal process. I like the way the purpose statement is broken down into variables, participants, and location; this will be helpful to students."
– Susan Troncoso Skidmore, PhD, Department of Educational Leadership, Sam Houston State University

"Informative and easy to read. Terrell offers a succinct introduction to all the parts of a typical doctoral proposal – introduction, background literature review, and methods – and presents a range of examples for quantitative, qualitative, and mixed-methods approaches. The book provides a very useful perspective on different methodological approaches and how they fit into the doctoral proposal."
– Paul Vincent, PhD, Department of Physics, Astronomy, and Geosciences, Valdosta State University


Contents

1. Developing the Problem Statement for Your Dissertation Proposal
Introduction
The Doctoral Experience
The Problem Is the Problem
Finding a Good Research Problem
Characteristics of a Good Problem
Writing the Problem Statement
The Problem Statement as Part of a Dissertation Proposal
Summary of Chapter One
Do You Understand These Key Words and Phrases?
Let's Start Writing Our Own Proposal

2. Writing Purpose Statements, Research Questions, and Hypotheses
Introduction
The Quantitative Purpose Statement
Purpose Statements for Qualitative Studies
Defining and Describing a Research Question
The Methodological Point of Departure
Research Questions Will Ultimately Lead to the Study's Research Method
Getting Back to Stating Our Research Question
A Word of Caution!
Putting It Together: Problem Statements, Purpose Statements, and Research Questions
Problem Statements, Purpose Statements, and Research Questions in the Literature
Stating Hypotheses for Your Research Study
An Example of Stating Our Hypotheses
Understanding the Four Basic Rules for Hypotheses
The Direction of Hypotheses
Hypotheses Must Be Testable via the Collection and Analysis of Data
Research versus Null Hypotheses
All Hypotheses Must Include the Word “Significant”
Other Parts of Chapter 1 of the Dissertation
Summary of Chapter Two
Do You Understand These Key Words and Phrases?
Review Questions
Progress Check for Chapter 1 of the Dissertation Proposal: The Introduction
Let's Continue Writing Our Own Dissertation Proposal

3. Writing the Review of Literature for Your Study
Introduction
What Is a Review of Literature and What Is Its Purpose?
There Isn't a Magic Formula for Writing a Review of Literature
Phase 1. Getting Ready to Write a Review of Literature
Phase 2. Writing the Review of Literature
Summary of Chapter Three
Do You Understand These Key Words and Phrases?
Review Questions
Progress Check for Chapter 3 of the Dissertation Proposal: The Review of Literature
Let's Continue Writing Our Own Dissertation Proposal

4. The First Part of Your Dissertation Research Method
Introduction
Philosophy 101
The Research Paradigm
Nonrandom (Nonprobabalistic) Sampling
Identifying the Population and a Sample for Your Study
Summary of the Sampling Process
Data Collection Instruments
Instruments for Quantitative Research
Instruments for Qualitative Research
Reliability and Validity
Plans for Data Analysis
Ethical Considerations
Plans for Presenting the Results
Summary of Your Proposal
Summary of Chapter Four: The First Part of Your Dissertation Research Method
Do You Understand These Key Words and Phrases?
Review Questions

5. Quantitative Research Methods
Introduction
Different Types of Data
Quantitative Research Designs
Survey Research
Correlational Research
Causal–Comparative Research
Hypothesis Testing
Experimental Research
The Validity of Your Study
Threats to the Internal Validity of Your Study
Threats to the External Validity of Your Study
Experimental Research Designs
Preexperimental Designs
Quasi-Experimental Designs
Experimental Designs
Putting This All Together for the Quantitative Dissertation Proposal
Chapter 3 of a Quantitative Dissertation Proposal
Our First Example of Chapter 3 of a Proposal
Summary of Chapter Five
Do You Understand These Key Words and Phrases?
Review Questions
Progress Check for Chapter 3 of a Quantitative Dissertation Proposal
Let's Continue Writing Our Own Dissertation Proposal
Appendix 5.1. Example of a Descriptive Research Study
Appendix 5.2. Example of a Correlational Research Study
Appendix 5.3. Example of a Quasi-Experimental Research Study
Appendix 5.4. Example of an Experimental Research Study
Appendix 5.5. Threats to the Validity of an Experimental Study

6. Qualitative Research Methods
Introduction
An Overview of Qualitative Methodologies
The Role of the Researcher
The Format of a Qualitative Dissertation Proposal
Chapter 1 of a Qualitative Dissertation Proposal: The Introduction
Chapter 3 of a Qualitative Dissertation Proposal: Research Methods
Choosing the Right Qualitative Research Method
Participants and Sampling
Instruments
Research Procedures
Plans for Data Analysis
The Validity and Reliability of a Qualitative Study
Ethical Considerations
Plans for Presenting the Results
Summary
Summary of Chapter Six
Do You Understand These Key Words and Phrases?
Review Questions
Progress Check for Chapter 3 of a Qualitative Dissertation Proposal
Let's Continue Writing Our Own Dissertation Proposal
Appendix 6.1. Narrative Study Procedures: The Case of the Unfortunate Departure
Appendix 6.2. Phenomenological Study Procedures: The Case of Sending Your Child to Safety
Appendix 6.3. Ethnographic Study Procedures: The Case of Climbing the Mountain
Appendix 6.4. Case Study Procedures: The Case of the Standardized Test
Appendix 6.5. Grounded Theory Procedures: The Case of Homelessness
Appendix 6.6. Content Analysis Procedures: The Case of the Eye Witness

7. Mixed Methods Research Designs
Introduction
An Overview of Mixed Methods Research
The Format of a Mixed Methods Proposal
Chapter 1 of a Mixed Methods Study: The Introduction
Background, Statement of the Problem, and Significance of the Study
The Central Purpose of the Study
Research Questions
Hypotheses for Mixed Methods Studies
Chapter 2 of a Mixed Methods Dissertation Proposal: The Review of Literature
Chapter 3 of a Mixed Methods Dissertation Proposal: Research Methods
The Mixed Methods Paradigm
Research Design
The Three Major Mixed Methods Designs
Participants and Sampling
Instruments
Research Procedures
Plans for Data Analysis
Ethical Considerations
Plans for Presenting the Results
Summary of Chapter Seven
Do You Understand These Key Words and Phrases?
Review Questions
Progress Check for Chapter 3 of a Mixed Methods Dissertation Proposal: The Research Methods
Appendix 7.1. Sequential Explanatory Design: The Case of the Tutors
Appendix 7.2. Sequential Exploratory Design: The Case of the Academies
Appendix 7.3. Convergent Design: The Case of Calling It In
Epilogue: Have We Accomplished What We Set Out to Do?

Appendix A. Progress Check for Chapter 1 of a Dissertation Proposal: The Introduction
Appendix B. Progress Check for Chapter 2 of a Dissertation Proposal: The Review of Literature
Appendix C. Progress Check for Chapter 3 of a Quantitative Dissertation Proposal
Appendix D. Progress Check for Chapter 3 of a Qualitative Dissertation Proposal
Appendix E. Progress Check for Chapter 3 of a Mixed Methods Dissertation Proposal

Answers to Review Questions
Glossary
References
Index
About the Author


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Biography

Steven R. Terrell, PhD, is Professor in the College of Engineering and Computing at Nova Southeastern University, where he teaches quantitative and qualitative research methodology and statistics. He is active in the American Counseling Association, the American Psychological Association, and the American Educational Research Association, where he chaired the Online Teaching and Learning Special Interest Group. Dr. Terrell serves on the editorial boards of several national and international journals and is the author of Statistics Translated: A Step-by-Step Guide to Analyzing and Interpreting Data, as well as more than 120 journal articles, book chapters, conference papers, and presentations.

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