Posts tagged ‘diss discussion’

Dissertation Preproposal Discussion

By js, 2 July, 2008, No Comment

This is what the TCR website says about the Dissertation Reading List/ Proposal:

The Qualifying Exam Process

Within a year of completing your coursework, you must take the doctoral qualifying exams and prepare for the dissertation research. Knowledge of the literature of the field is one of the qualifications for conducting research in the field. Your dissertation will have to engage with this literature. Thus, your “qualifying exam” helps to establish and determine your qualifications to proceed to dissertation research.  These qualifications involve knowledge of the issues that interest the fields of rhetoric, composition, and technical communication, including achievements and gaps in knowledge.  These qualifications also point to a direction for your own research, including mastery of research methods. One of the purposes of preparation for the exams is to launch you into your dissertation research. Thus, you will be examined, in part, over materials related to your dissertation, as well as the materials on your approved reading list.

The typical process follows this timeline:

  • Preliminary dissertation proposal (4 months before exam)
  • Reading list (2 months before exam)
  • Qualifying exam
  • Meeting with your committee (2 weeks after exam)
  • Final dissertation proposal (6 weeks after exam)

Preliminary Dissertation Proposal

Although you will refine your dissertation topic as you read for your exams, you should have an idea of the topic and methods when you prepare your reading lists. Consult with your dissertation committee members to define your areas of interest. Note that if you have a minor in another department, that department may require a qualifying exam in the minor area.  Based on these discussions with your committee, write a preliminary dissertation proposal of approximately 2500 words.  This proposal will identify the problem requiring research, review some of the basic literature regarding the problem, outline goals and methods of research for adding to the knowledge regarding the problem, and include a tentative outline of chapters. The proposal will also explain how the materials on your reading lists relate to your dissertation research and serve as a rationale for the definition of examination fields.

Reading Lists

Develop and submit to the committee a reading list of 100 books or the equivalent in articles (four articles equal one book), including materials for TCR broadly defined and materials for your area of interest within the field. You may group the items by themes or issues, such as composition pedagogy, history of rhetoric, audience, and visual communication. Some of these books and articles you will have read already in your classes, and some–especially those relating to your dissertation–will likely be new. The topics of these books and articles should include technical communication and rhetoric broadly but also items related to your intended dissertation research and research methods. Your list may incorporate material from your minor, if your minor department does not require its own examination. To make studying for the exams easier, begin compiling your reading list during your coursework, and write a summary of each book or article as you read it for class to study for the qualifying exams.

The committee will discuss with you possible additions and deletions. When the proposal and list are finalized, the chair of the committee will report to the Director of Graduate Studies in Technical Communication and Rhetoric (DGS-TCR). Your reading list needs to be approved by your dissertation committee and the DGS-TCR at least two months before the scheduled exam.  You need to register in advance to take the exam with the Director of Graduate Studies in TCR.

Final Dissertation Proposal

Four weeks after your post-exam meeting, your final dissertation proposal will be due to your committee. This proposal, 10,000 words or more, provides a problem statement, literature review, and outline of chapters as well as an overview of research methods. The final proposal serves as the draft for one or more chapters of the dissertation.  It also serves as a roadmap that you and your committee should use to track the direction and progress of your developing dissertation.