The Importance of Research Part 1: The Research Problem and Background

In helping people with their dissertation studies, I have noticed a central recurring issue: lack of appropriate in-depth research. Research is so fundamental to a study that students may sometimes overlook its importance. Or, someone may just not be strong researcher, which can be addressed by using resources and through the assistance of a school

Love Your Dissertation

Fall back in love with your research and learn to love the dissertation process. How? The same way you began your doctoral journey, with dedicated motivation and purpose! Procrastination is a killer of progress for most graduate students, so our February theme is about honing your intellectual passion to create the dissertation progress you’ve been

Reject the Null or Accept the Alternative? Semantics of Statistical Hypothesis Testing

If you are conducting a quantitative study for your dissertation, it is likely you have created a set of hypotheses to accompany your research questions. It is also likely that you have constructed your hypotheses in the “null/alternative” format. In this format, each research question has both a null hypothesis and an alternative hypothesis associated

The Chi-Square Test in Structural Equation Modeling

Anyone familiar with structural equation modeling (SEM) will know that there are a myriad of measures and indices that researchers may use to evaluate the fit of a model. Here, we will briefly highlight one particular assessment of model fit: the chi-square (χ2) test. The chi-square test is unique among possible the measures of fit

Testing Normality in Structural Equation Modeling

When conducting a structural equation model (SEM) or confirmatory factor analysis (CFA), it is often recommended to test for multivariate normality. Some popular SEM software packages (such as AMOS) assume your variables are continuous and produce the best results when your data are normally distributed. Here we discuss a few options for testing normality in

How to determine the appropriate sample size for structural equation modeling

Structural equation modeling (SEM) is an increasingly popular choice for quantitative statistical analyses, as it allows researchers to model complex relationships while taking into account measurement error of latent variables. Although there are great advantages to using SEM, the complexity of the analysis can be daunting, especially for students or beginning researchers. One of the

Dominate Your Dissertation in 2020

Welcome, 2020! What are you going to do with this shiny, new decade? Will you complete your dissertation this year, or will you struggle for the next few years while you burnyourself out? Here are some tips on how to avoid the latter. Inside Higher ED says setting deadlines early in the dissertation process is imperative

Graduate Next Year

The holiday season is upon us and our to-do list seems to be growing exponentially each day. In the midst of gift wrapping, dinner planning, and ugly holiday sweaters, are you achieving dissertation progress? Let’s take a moment to ground ourselves in the last few weeks of 2019 and then get ready to reach for

How to determine the appropriate sample size for structural equation modeling

Turn Rejection into Motivation

Rejection hurts and failures are difficult to get over. As a PhD candidate, chances are, you have experienced rejection and failure at some point along your doctoral journey. Caitlin Kirby from Michigan State University wore her rejections from over the last 4 years as a badge of honor. Kirby walked into her oral dissertation defense with a


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