Happy Doc Student Podcast

#14 The Best Dissertation is a DONE Dissertation with Dr. Melanie Shaw

February 10, 2021 Heather Frederick, PhD Episode 14
Happy Doc Student Podcast
#14 The Best Dissertation is a DONE Dissertation with Dr. Melanie Shaw
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Happy Doc Student Podcast
#14 The Best Dissertation is a DONE Dissertation with Dr. Melanie Shaw
Feb 10, 2021 Episode 14
Heather Frederick, PhD

#14 The Best Dissertation is a DONE Dissertation with Dr. Melanie Shaw

Dr. Melanie Shaw has her PhD in Education and has spent two decades teaching and serving as an administrator in online higher education settings. She serves as an adjunct faculty at several institutions and facilitates webinars for the Online Learning Consortium. In addition to her teaching roles, she trains faculty to develop and deliver courses online, conducts research on nontraditional education, and is involved in strategic leadership relative to the vision for online education. She is known for getting students who are stuck at the dissertation writing stage unstuck.

NEWSFLASH: The BEST dissertation is a FINISHED dissertation. Focus on creating a concise and straightforward research study that demonstrates you are worthy of the degree (that is, design a study that meets the criteria of your program; it need not save the world). 

Where should an idea originate?

·      Let RECENT peer-reviewed published research drive the idea 

·      In applied programs, a professional need may drive the project, but your project still needs to be grounded in research (and contribute to your field of study)

·      Understand that you are creating one  puzzle piece in a field of research

·      You are not setting out to “prove” something you know; you are gathering knowledge about an unknown (careful if you are setting out to prove something, the bias in your writing will delay you)

Can you write a 6-word sentence or question that captures your topic?

·      If not, it might be too complicated; pause and use the 1-page alignment worksheet 

Problem Statement:

·      It is likely the single hardest thing you will EVER write

·      If it is taking you months, understand why – it is the CORNERSTONE of your entire study

·      Do NOT include your purpose here – when you read your problem statement, you should hear horror music in the background

·      “We need to know more about…" is NOT a problem

·      Finish this sentence: The problem is (fill in the blank) that results in (fill in the blank).

 Three questions:

1.     What is the problem as documented in the literature (in an applied program, this might be a problem in an applied setting, but you will still need to talk about this in terms used in recent literature and use that literature to inform how you will study this)?

2.     Whose problem is it?

3.     What happens if the problem isn’t solved?

 Purpose: Complete this sentence:  The purpose of this (insert type of study) is to (fill in the blank – this should solve the problem).

 Research Questions: These should align with the problem and purpose. Further, the answers to these should provide information that may help to resolve the problem. 

How to make sure you have alignment:

·      Redundancy is a way to ensure alignment; are you using the same words in the problem statement, purpose, and research questions?

Still stuck?

·      Try out the 1-page alignment worksheet (link below)

·      Have a dialogue with your Chair in real-time 

Get the 1-page alignment worksheet here: https://www.expandyourhappy.com/pl/267207

Learn more about this podcast: http://Expandyourhappy.com
Support my free content: https://www.buymeacoffee.com/expandyourhappy

Show Notes

#14 The Best Dissertation is a DONE Dissertation with Dr. Melanie Shaw

Dr. Melanie Shaw has her PhD in Education and has spent two decades teaching and serving as an administrator in online higher education settings. She serves as an adjunct faculty at several institutions and facilitates webinars for the Online Learning Consortium. In addition to her teaching roles, she trains faculty to develop and deliver courses online, conducts research on nontraditional education, and is involved in strategic leadership relative to the vision for online education. She is known for getting students who are stuck at the dissertation writing stage unstuck.

NEWSFLASH: The BEST dissertation is a FINISHED dissertation. Focus on creating a concise and straightforward research study that demonstrates you are worthy of the degree (that is, design a study that meets the criteria of your program; it need not save the world). 

Where should an idea originate?

·      Let RECENT peer-reviewed published research drive the idea 

·      In applied programs, a professional need may drive the project, but your project still needs to be grounded in research (and contribute to your field of study)

·      Understand that you are creating one  puzzle piece in a field of research

·      You are not setting out to “prove” something you know; you are gathering knowledge about an unknown (careful if you are setting out to prove something, the bias in your writing will delay you)

Can you write a 6-word sentence or question that captures your topic?

·      If not, it might be too complicated; pause and use the 1-page alignment worksheet 

Problem Statement:

·      It is likely the single hardest thing you will EVER write

·      If it is taking you months, understand why – it is the CORNERSTONE of your entire study

·      Do NOT include your purpose here – when you read your problem statement, you should hear horror music in the background

·      “We need to know more about…" is NOT a problem

·      Finish this sentence: The problem is (fill in the blank) that results in (fill in the blank).

 Three questions:

1.     What is the problem as documented in the literature (in an applied program, this might be a problem in an applied setting, but you will still need to talk about this in terms used in recent literature and use that literature to inform how you will study this)?

2.     Whose problem is it?

3.     What happens if the problem isn’t solved?

 Purpose: Complete this sentence:  The purpose of this (insert type of study) is to (fill in the blank – this should solve the problem).

 Research Questions: These should align with the problem and purpose. Further, the answers to these should provide information that may help to resolve the problem. 

How to make sure you have alignment:

·      Redundancy is a way to ensure alignment; are you using the same words in the problem statement, purpose, and research questions?

Still stuck?

·      Try out the 1-page alignment worksheet (link below)

·      Have a dialogue with your Chair in real-time 

Get the 1-page alignment worksheet here: https://www.expandyourhappy.com/pl/267207

Learn more about this podcast: http://Expandyourhappy.com
Support my free content: https://www.buymeacoffee.com/expandyourhappy