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Surviving Your Dissertation

Surviving Your Dissertation
A Comprehensive Guide to Content and Process

Fourth Edition

August 2014 | 376 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc

Perfect for graduate students as well as behavioural and social scientists who supervise and conduct research!

In the fully updated Fourth Edition of their best-selling guide, Surviving Your Dissertation, Rudestam and Newton answer questions concerning every stage of the dissertation process, including:

  • selecting a suitable topic
  • conducting a literature review
  • developing a research question
  • understanding the role of theory
  • selecting an appropriate methodology and research design
  • analysing data
  • interpreting and presenting results.

In addition, this must-have guide covers topics that other dissertation guides often miss, such as the many types of quantitative and qualitative research models available, the principles of good scholarly writing, how to work with committees, how to meet IRB and ethical standards, and how to overcome task and emotional blocks.

With plenty of current examples, the new edition features an expanded discussion of online research, data collection and analysis, and the use of data archives, as well as expanded coverage of qualitative methods and added information on mixed methods.

Part I: Getting Started
Chapter 1: The Research Process
Chapter 2: Selecting a Suitable Topic
Chapter 3: Methods of Inquiry: Quantitative and Qualitative Approaches
PART II: Working with the Content: The Dissertation Chapters
Chapter 4: Literature Review and Statement of the Problem
Chapter 5: The Method Chapter: Describing Your Research Plan
Chapter 6: Presenting the Results of Quantitative Studies
Chapter 7: Presenting the Results of Qualitative Research
Chapter 8: Discussion
PART III: Working with Process: What You Need to Know to Make the Dissertation Easier
Chapter 9: Overcoming Barriers: Becoming an Expert While Controlling Your Own Destiny
Chapter 10: Writing
Chapter 11: How to Complete Your Dissertation Using Online Data Access and Collection
Chapter 12: Guidelines for the Presentation of Numbers in the Dissertation
Chapter 13: Informed Consent and Other Ethical Concerns

“This text provides a broad coverage, focused approach for dissertation, balanced approach between quantitative and qualitative designs, and excellent examples.”

Udaya R. Wagle, Western Michigan University

“I wish this text was available when I was working on my dissertation as it would have demystified the process greatly!”

Anne J. Hacker, Walden University

“The title is wonderful and attention getting. It’s practical and consistent with the title in terms of compliance with requirements while seeking the path of least resistance toward completion of a quality product.”

Bernie Kerr, Central Michigan University

“[S]traightforward, well-written, concise and not too cumbersome….gets to the root of what students need to know. I like the detailed explanations and examples for writing each section of the dissertation.…The text explains and gives examples of how to write the methodology and the results. I also think the student suggestions are very helpful.”

Kaye Pepper, University of Mississippi

“The text is well organized.…It includes chapters on the presentation of both quantitative and qualitative results which are particularly welcome in PhD programs that value paradigmatic diversity and do not expect students to conform to the assumptions of a single paradigm such as positivism.”

Karin Klenke, Leadership Development Institute (LDI) International

Students like the style of the textbook -- I have used this book in the past and will continue to use it in my Dissertation course.

Dr Betty Hubschman
Education, Carolina University
May 11, 2023

Excellent resource for new PhD students. The authors provide a wealth of information on the topics of importance to graduate students.

Dr Ann Gilley
Docorate of Business Administration, George Fox University
October 3, 2015

Useful practical information to complement more scholarly information about research.

Dr Enid Arvidson
College of Architecture, Planning, and Public Affairs, University Of Texas-Arlington
May 13, 2015

A good development on the previous edition; enhancing a number of points/apsect well.

Mr Simon Brent
Fbse, Southampton Solent University
February 23, 2015

The book serves as a nice supplemental to the primary course text. The changes in the new edition offer valuable clarifications and examples.

Dr Patricia Reeves
Teaching Learing Leadrshp Dept, Western Michigan University
January 13, 2015
Key features

This edition:

  • Walks readers through the dissertation process as an ideal mentor would.
  • Devotes more attention to qualitative work, and touches upon mixed methods.
  • Discusses online library resources and completing one's dissertation via the Internet.
  • Features new material on the use of graphics.
  • Includes information about informed consent forms.


This new edition has:

  • Updated the information on: the selection of an appropriate research topic, the review of the literature, the description of the methodology and research design, the collection and  analysis of data, and the interpretation, presentation, and discussion of the results and implications of the study.

  • Replaced older references with newer, more contemporary ones, including many new dissertation examples.

  • Added significant new content.

  • Discussed that the traditional null hypothesis significance testing model is being challenged and augmented by an emphasis on clinical or practical significance with measures of effect size and confidence intervals.  Have explained and illustrated this new approach to the presentation of statistical results. 

  • Acknowledged an emerging emphasis on theoretical "models" and the influence of model-building on the design and presentation of research.  Provided several examples of studies that incorporate this approach.

  • Expanded discussion of the Internet as a source of data, an opportunity for data collection, and a vehicle for data analysis, together with recommendations for potentially helpful websites and software programs that may be unfamiliar to the average reader. 

  • Acknowledged the parallel expansion of  available data sources in all  their varied forms, including data archives, social media, and what is currently known as "big data."

  • Expanded the sections on qualitative and multimodal methods of research that have an inductive, theory-building focus. 

  • Explained and illustrated the concepts with new tables and figures, and, in many cases provided very specific details for how to incorporate them into a research study.

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 3

Chapter 11