Staying On Track | Dissertation Timeline


Posted October 1, 2020

Section 1 – BEGINNING

Your research certainly needs to fill a gap in the literature, but when forming your set of potential topics, your driving motivation should be identifying ones that you know are doable; trust that, for at least one of the brainstormed topics, you will find a gap to justify your research in the end. I know this sounds counterintuitive, but recognize that once you select a topic, you can pretty much always find a rationale for conducting your study (e.g., by using a different sample, a different instrument, or a different location). In short, pick the topic and justify it later.

Typical time to completion: 30 days

Best resources:

Webinars

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Beginning your dissertation journey

Choosing a topic

Navigating Graduate School

How to Choose your Topic & Develop your RQ’s & Hypothesis

Tools & Templates

Goal Visualization Timeline 

Dissertation Template

Directory of Survey Instruments

Blogs

Is your Topic Feasible?

Choosing your Dissertation Topic

Dissertation Topic: Establishing a Gap 

How do I Choose my Dissertation Topic?

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Section 2 – RESEARCH PLAN / SMR (Capella Only) 

The research plan is an abbreviated introduction and methodology chapters. In an introduction, the researcher states: the purpose of the study and how the study examines the research problem; the significance of the study, which should explain why this study is important; and the study’s research questions, which sit at the heart of the What that the study seeks to examine.Additionally, the research plan addresses the approach of the study, which is either qualitative or quantitative, the research design, the methodological model, and the rationale of the study. The introduction also identifies the theoretical framework, the constructs and variables in the study, and any definitions used in the study.

Typical time to completion: 60 – 90 days

Best resources:

Tools & Templates

Directory of Survey Instruments 

Blogs

The Myth of Mixed Method Dissertations 

Research Design

Scientific Merit Review (SMR): Constructs, Variables, and Operational Definitions 

Capella University and the Scientific Merit Review

The Capella Research Plan and Your Literature Review

Capella Research Plan Section 2.4: Methodology and Basic Overview

Sections 5.1, 5.2, and 5.3 of the Capella Quantitative Research Plan

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Section 3 – PROSPECTUS / CONCEPT PAPER

Considering your prospectus will likely represent your first official submission to your committee. Typically want to start your prospectus by clearly indicating in its introduction the rationale behind your dissertation topic. This will necessarily involve providing pertinent background information—either in the introduction or separately—to familiarize your committee with the literature in which your study sits. Essentially, let your committee know that you have a rock-solid grasp on what you aim to study, and why you know you must do so.

Typical time to completion: 60 days

Best resources:

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Prospectus & Dissertation Introduction: Everything You Need to Know 

How to Choose your Topic & Develop your RQ’s & Hypothesis

All the Dissertation Resources & Tips you Need

How to Complete your Dissertation in 1 Year

Tools & Templates

Directory of Survey Instruments 

Blogs

Building Blocks of Your Research Concept Paper

Developing Your Theoretical Framework

What’s the deal with conceptual framework?

Concept Paper/Prospectus

The Logical Link Between Instrument and Framework

Connecting the Theoretical Framework to Your Quantitative Study

Your Theoretical Framework Should Not be an Afterthought

The Theoretical Framework: Keep it Simple

How to Begin Writing your Theoretical Framework 

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Section 4 – INTRODUCTION

Generally, introductions serve as an easy way for the unfamiliar to take on an air of familiarity. In fact, the same can be said about getting your dissertation started. In this case, the Introduction to your dissertation aims to firmly ground an unfamiliar reader in your research topic, developing enough interest along the way such that your audience actually wants to read the rest. In order to facilitate this familiarizing effect, this section of your dissertation begins with setting up the problem, as well as the general topic you aim to explore.

Typical time to completion: 60 days (completion time estimate is reduced with completion of SMR/RP or Prospectus/Concept paper)

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Everything you need for a Great Introduction and Literature Review but Were Afraid to Ask

Introduction and Literature Review

Prospectus and Dissertation Introduction: Everything you need to know

Blogs & Articles

Introduction: Get your Dissertation Started

Introduction Breakdown

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Section 5 – LITERATURE REVIEW

Your Literature Review chapter represents an integral component to your successfully completing your dissertation. This is because, after the Literature Review’s introduction—which orients the reader as to the purpose of the topic and states the main points clearly—this chapter provides the conceptual basis, justification, analysis, and interpretation of the problem under investigation. It does this by presenting: (1) the historical knowledge in the field; (2) knowledge of similar research; (3) knowledge pertaining to unsolved problems surrounding your topic; and (4) any knowledge of gaps in the literature.

Typical time to completion: 60 days

Best resources:

Webinars

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Navigating you Literature Review – Tools to Save Time

Blogs & Articles

Literature Review: Shaping your Dissertation

Literature Reviews from the Ground Up

The Literature Review, Part 1: What to Include

The Literature Review, Part 2: What Not to Include

How to Structure your Literature Review

Finding and Managing Literature Review Sources

5 To-Do’s When Writing your Literature Review

Literature Review Breakdown

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Section 6 – METHODOLOGY 

The scientific method—i.e., the method used in dissertations—is based, in part, on the ability of others to replicate your study. Specifically, in order to faithfully replicate your study, other researchers must know the Who, What, Where, When, and How of your study. While there are nuanced difference in the details between qualitative and quantitative studies, the methodologies to both are similar. In short, a methodology provides a blueprint for other researchers to follow, allowing them to conduct their own study while using your method to arrive at similar findings. The following excerpts provide a brief overview of how the two approaches to methodology formation differ.

Typical time to completion: 60 days

Best resources:

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Methodology and Results Game Changer

Methodology and IRB/URR

Tools & Templates

Sample Size/Power Analysis Calculator with Reference Generate

Blogs

Beginning the Dissertation Process: The Importance of the Methodology

Capella Research Plan Section 2.4: Methodology and Basic Overview

How to Choose Your Qualitative Methodology 

7 Elements of your Dissertation Methodology 

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Section 7 – IRB / URR

The purpose of the IRB proposal is to answer four key questions of why your research is important, how you intend to conduct the research, who will take part in your study, and how you will manage experimental data once you have collected it. Just as with the other chapters you will write as you work through this process, the IRB application can be broken down into a few key components. Adequately addressing these four key components will give your IRB confidence in your ability to proceed with the study in a safe and ethical manner.

Typical time to completion: 60 days

Best resources:

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Methodology and IRB/URR

Blogs & Articles

How to Write your IRB Application for Approval 

Avoiding Hurdles in your IRB Application

Reporting and Improving Readability of your IRB Materials

Tools to Expedite your Proposal, IRB, and Results

Dealing with committee and IRB issues? You’re not alone!

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Section 8 – PPT: PROPOSAL 

Generally, the dissertation proposal consists of Chapters 1-3: the Introduction, the Literature Review, and the Methodology. More specifically, your dissertation proposal will need to show your committee that you have identified a purposeful and important dissertation study (part of the Introduction, Chapter 1), will fill a gap in the literature (part of the Literature Review, Chapter 2), and have a method to assess that gap (part of the Methodology, Chapter 3).

Typical time to completion: 30 days

Best resources:

Blogs

Expectations of the PowerPoint Dissertation Proposal Defense

The Do’s and Don’ts to Presenting your Dissertation Proposal 

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Section 9 – RESULTS

The Quantitative Results Chapter includes confirming the correct analyses, conducting the actual analyses, and the write-up and explanation of the findings. You must conduct descriptive statistics on demographic and research variables (i.e., mean, standard deviation, frequency and percent as appropriate); Conduct analyses and assess assumptions to examine the research questions; and Assess the assumptions of the analyses. The Qualitative Results Chapter includes thematization and reliability. You must read and re-read your interview transcripts; Thematize your participant responses; and Draft or co-draft results chapter to present themes and supporting excerpts of those themes.

Best resources:

Software & Tools

Intellectus Statistics

Intellectus Video Tutorials

Directory of Statistical Analysis 

Webinars

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Almost There – Results, Discussion, & APA Editing

Results, Discussion, APA Editing, & Defense

Blogs

Tips for Writing Qualitative Results When you Don’t Feel like Writing

Quantitative Results Chapter (in less than 1 week)

Preparing for your Accelerated Quantitative Results Session 

Reducing Redundancy in Results Chapters

Adding Length to the Results Chapter

My Results were not Significant… Now What?

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Section 10 – DISCUSSION 

The Discussion Chapter must provide an explanation of your contribution to the body of knowledge in your field, yet it needs to do so by offering a compact review of your dissertation as a whole. In order to accomplish this, your committee will likely look for you to cover several key pieces, at the least. To start, you will necessarily need a summary of Chapters 1 and 3 wherein you reiterate the essential points from both Chapters. This will certainly include highlighting the importance of your study and its limitations and delimitations, before then explaining your study’s design and any potential flaws therein.

Typical time to completion: 60 days

Best resources:

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Tips for a Great Dissertation Discussion 

Almost There – Results, Discussion, & APA Editing

Results, Discussion, APA Editing, & Defense

Blogs

The Discussion: Digging Deep

Discussing Discussions 

Integrating Literature into your Discussion 

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Section 11 – PPT: FINAL

We can assist you with creating your PowerPoint for your final defense.

Typical time to completion: 30 days

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Email us at Info@StatisticsSolutions.com

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Section 12 – APA Editing

The purpose of APA style citation is so others can look up and access all resources cited in a paper and check them for validity. APA style citation has two major parts. These two parts are in-text citations and the reference list for APA style citation. The in-text citations for APA style citation occur within the document. The second part of APA style citation occurs at the end of the document, in the reference list or bibliography part of the paper.

Typical time to completion: 60 days

Best resources:

Blogs

APA Editing: Standard In-Text Citation Rules

Getting Started with APA Editing

Maintaining APA Format for Tables

When to Reference your School Guidelines and when to Reference APA


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