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ABC-CLIO, Incorporated
Theses and Dissertations: A Guide to Planning, Research, and Writing

Theses and Dissertations: A Guide to Planning, Research, and Writing

by R. Murray Thomas, Dale L. Brubaker


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This book guides students through the process of planning, researching, and writing the final version of theses and dissertations. Five major stages of the process are illustrated with multiple examples from the social and behavioral sciences, humanities, and such allied fields as education, social work, and business administration. The first stage, Preparing the Way, describes problems and alternative solutions in working with faculty advisors and in searching the professional literature. Stage 2 explains how to find good research topics and define them clearly for presentation to faculty advisors.

Stage 3 describes problems often encountered in data collection and suggests solutions for those problems. At Stage 4, students learn ways of organizing and interpreting information, including classification schemes, verbal and statistical summaries, and methods of deriving meaning from data. The final stage, Presenting the Finished Product, offers guidelines for thesis and dissertation writing and for publishing the results in such media as books, journal articles, and popular periodicals. Stage 5 also includes a chapter about how students can mount a convincing defense of their work during a faculty committee's final oral examination session.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780313360947
Publisher: ABC-CLIO, Incorporated
Publication date: 07/30/2000
Edition description: Older Edition
Pages: 312
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.65(d)

About the Author

R. Murray Thomas is professor emeritus at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Dale L. Brubaker is Professor, Educational Leadership and Cultural Studies, University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

Table of Contents


The Nature of Theses and Dissertations

Preparing the Way

Sources of Guidance

Searching the Literature

Choosing and Defining Research Topics

Sources and Types of Research Problems

Building and Adapting Theories

Stating the Problem and Its Rationale

Collecting Information

Types of Research Methods and Sources of Information

Data Collection Techniques and Instruments

Things That Go Wrong

Organizing Information

Classification Patterns

Summarizing Information Verbally, Numerically, and Graphically

Interpreting the Results

Modes of Interpretation

Presenting the Finished Product

Writing the Final Version

Mounting a Persuasive Defense

Reaching a Wider Audience

Appendix: Outline of a Dissertation Proposal



What People are Saying About This

John Hattie

"Too many students complete their thesis or dissertation and say 'If only I had known x.' Thomas and Brubaker have provided the book that will help all such students. The clear exposition, the recognition of problems, multiple perspectives, and advice coming from years of experience make this an essential book for those considering, and completing theses and dissertations. The Checklists, the breadth of coverage, and the attention to details and depth provide readers (both students and supervisors) with an excellent resource. As a supervisor of 180+ students, the book is invaluable both for my students and me. I will use the book to help initiate students into the supervision process, assist when we reach the usual impasses, and provide perspectives for both. Too often the thesis or dissertation is a once-only experience for students and Thomas and Brubaker's book will be the voice of experience for the student."

Seymour B. Sarason

"Coming generations of graduate students will be in debt to Professors Thomas and Brubaker for providing a long overdue guide to the rite of passage called the Theses and Dissertation. This book is realistic, clear and refreshingly sensitive to what the student too frequently does not but needs to know. Why such a book has not been written before is mystifying."

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