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Writing a Successful Thesis or Dissertation

Writing a Successful Thesis or Dissertation
Tips and Strategies for Students in the Social and Behavioral Sciences

February 2008 | 352 pages | Corwin
Written for both faculty and students, this user-friendly book provides a comprehensive 'how-to' compendium for completing a master's thesis or doctoral dissertation.

The authors discuss sources and criteria for selecting a suitable topic and cover:

- Both quantitative and qualitative research methods

-Using technology effectively

-An overview and tips on the oral defense and presentation

-Tips on adapting the thesis or dissertation for publication

-Suggestions for publishing the research

About the Authors
Part I. Getting Started
1. Selecting a Suitable Topic
Sources of Topics

Criteria for Topic Selection


2. Selecting a Chair and Committee
Criteria to Consider in Selecting a Chair

Composition and Role of the Committee

Research Prospective Committee Members

The Desirable Student


Part II. What You Need to Know
3. Quantitative Research Designs
Descriptive Research

Correlational Research

Causal-Comparative Research

Quasi-Experimental Research

Experimental Research

Theory Development


4. Basic Statistics
Descriptive Statistics

Inferential Statistics


5. Qualitative Research Designs
Phenomenological Research

Case Study Research

Ethnographic Research

Grounded Theory Research

Mixed Method Research


Part III. The Dissertation Chapters
6. Writing the Introduction Chapter
Background of the Study

Statement of the Problem

Purpose of the Study

Significance of the Study

Definition of Terms

Theoretical Framework


Research Questions (or Hypotheses)




Organization of the Study


7. Writing the Literature Review Chapter
Searching the Literature

Writing the Literature Review

Synthesizing the Literature


8. Writing the Methodology Chapter

Selection of Participants


Data Collection

Data Analysis



9. Writing the Results Chapter

Descriptive Statistics

Testing the Research Questions (Hypotheses)

Additional Analyses



10. Writing the Discussion Chapter


Implications for Practice

Recommendations for Further Research



Part IV. The Defense and Afterward
11. The Proposal and Final Defense
Prepare a Well-Written Document

Know the Format

Prepare Your Presentation

Practice Your Presentation

Anticipate Questions

Final Oral Defense

Tips on How to Avoid Common Mistakes


12. Publishing Your Dissertation

Job Interview

Academic Journals


Chapters in Books

Popular Press

Internet Publishing

Desktop Publishing

Planning the Writing Process


Appendix A: Initial Letter to Participants
Appendix B: First Follow-up Letter to Participants
Appendix C: Second Follow-up Letter to Participants
Appendix D: Dissertation Proposal Outline (Correlational)
Appendix E: Dissertation Proposal Outline (Analysis of Variance)
Appendix F: Dissertation Proposal Outline (Multivariate Analysis of Variance)
Appendix G: Dissertation Proposal Outline (Qualitative)
Appendix H: The Qualitative Research Critique
Appendix I: Agreement: Guidelines for Chairing a Dissertation
Appendix J: Checklist for Dissertation Quality

"Accurate, clearly written, and easy to understand even for the beginning researcher, with equal coverage of both qualitative and quantitative research. This is the only book where the authors combine a textbook approach to teaching research with a how-to approach."

Carol Roberts, Professor, University of La Verne
Author, The Dissertation Journey

"During 40-plus years of working with doctoral students, this reviewer has encountered a large number of manuscripts written by various professors who give advice to doctoral students in writing their research in dissertation styles. None comes close to comparing to this work done by Lunenburg and Irby, who have developed their book with a plethora of examples of every sort in order to demonstrate to the student many ways of dealing with a host of issues that are encountered in writing a dissertation."

Education Review, November 2010

“The best book of its kind I have ever seen. It is succinct yet thorough and includes lots of appropriate examples. It takes the reader from the process of developing a topic through all the stages of writing and defending the dissertation, up to and including presentation and publication. It is academic, pragmatic, and politically astute.”

Sharon Toomey Clark, Educational Consultant
Clark & Associates

"This is a very practical book and will be immediately usable for graduate students at any stage during their research. The multitude of examples is wonderful, and the content is very current."

Mary Betsy Brenner, Professor of Education
University of California, Santa Barbara

"This book may soon become as dog-eared in my reference library as my APA manual. Some may see a dissertation journey as a thousand miles, but these authors help the writer see the process one step at a time."

Monica Kempland, Academic Advisor, St. Louis University
NACADA Journal, Vol. 28, No. 2

Great book , students love it

Dr Dawn Piper
LMS Administration, University of Fort Lauderdale
September 30, 2020

For instructors

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ISBN: 9781412942256
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