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

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This comprehensive manual offers direction for every step of the thesis or dissertation process, from choosing an appropriate topic to adapting the finished work for publication.

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Editorial Reviews

Carol Roberts
"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."
Education Review
"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."
Sharon Toomey Clark
“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.”
Mary Betsy Brenner
"This is a very practical book andwill be immediately usable for graduate students at any stage during their research. The multitude of examples is wonderful, and the content is very current."
Monica Kempland
"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."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781412942249
  • Publisher: SAGE Publications
  • Publication date: 12/11/2007
  • Pages: 352
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 10.10 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Frederick C. Lunenburg is the Jimmy N. Merchant Professor of Education at Sam Houston State University. Prior to moving to the university, he served as a teacher, principal, and superintendent of schools. He has authored or co-authored more than 100 articles and 20 books,including High Expectations: An Action Plan for Implementing Goals 2000 (Corwin Press, 2000). He received the Phi Delta Kappa Research Award in 1986 and was The Distinguished Visiting Professor of Education at the University of Utrecht (The Netherlands) in 1995.

Beverly J. Irby, Ed.D. is Associate Professor of Educational Leadership in the Department of Educational Leadership and Counseling at Sam Houston State University. She has also served as Director of Field Experiences, Supervisor of Mentor Services, Liaison for Sam Houston State University’s Urban Professional Development Site, and as a Title VII Grants Coordinator at an urban elementary school. She has published widely, authored or co-authored numerous grants, and consulted frequently with school districts.

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Table of Contents

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

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