Roberts 2004 the dissertation journey

The faculty provides a relevant, practical, and high-quality program focused on helping students succeed in completing their dissertation. The one-to-one coaching, group tutorials, videos, online discussions, webinars, and research seminars are exemplary techniques for teaching the dissertation process.


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These techniques, plus the insights and knowledge I gained from years of experience teaching and guiding dissertation students, serve as a valuable road map for the dissertation journey and, hopefully, make the task more understandable, easier, more enjoyable, and less time-consuming. This is not a complete work on writing dissertations, nor could it be; the scope would be overwhelming.

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The book does not include detailed information on certain aspects of academic research, such as design and methodology, data analysis techniques, or writing style and mechanics. I reference appropriate books that concentrate on these technical areas. This book is geared toward the specific needs and concerns of doctoral students as they proceed through each step of the dissertation process.

It focuses primarily on the social sciences; however, graduate students in most academic disciplines desiring to complete a research study should find the book's content useful and applicable. Generally, the steps for writing a thesis and a dissertation are much the same regardless of the topic or discipline; they vary primarily in scope and complexity. Graduate faculty involved with student research should also find the book's ideas and suggestions beneficial. It eliminates the need to answer over and over again those questions that students routinely ask.

Professor Alice Roberts - Origins of Us: Human Anatomy and Evolution

Universities vary considerably in their dissertation requirements and procedures. In addition, there is considerable diversity among the preferences of advisors and departments within a university. The suggestions offered in this book should not be considered final, nor should they preempt the judgment and opinions of research advisors and committees. Researching and writing a thesis or dissertation should be an enjoyable and rewarding experience—one students can comprehend and most of all complete.

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There is a better way than letting half or more of our nation's doctoral students become ABDs. You are embarking on a new and exciting journey—obtaining a doctoral degree. This journey requires completing a dissertation, the pinnacle of academic achievement. In many ways, the journey is like climbing a high mountain; it is a long and arduous trek—not for the fainthearted. It is fraught with hazards and obstacles along the path that can dampen your spirit. However, it also offers incomparable opportunities for personal and professional growth. Reaching the summit of a mountain symbolizes the process you go through to complete your dissertation.

The climb tests your mettle and challenges your resolve, but once you complete it and experience the magnificent view from the top, you realize the rewards far outweigh the effort. The exhilaration and pride of accomplishment, the fulfillment that results from contribution, a deeper self-awareness, and greater confidence in yourself as a scholar are just a few of the rewards that await you.

I remember well the experience of seeing my own dissertation as a looming mountain before me—massive and awesome—with the accompanying feelings of doubt and apprehension. I learned, as you will, that journeying to the peak is more than an intellectual pilgrimage, it is also an emotional and psychological one.

It requires commitment, perseverance, stamina, and mental toughness—more than you ever thought you had. Completing a dissertation changes your life. I discovered that my primary reward was not so much the exhilaration of standing on top of the mountain at journey's end, but rather who I became as a result of the climb.

Only by taking yourself to the limit can you know what you're made of. I wrote this book to help make your journey to the summit a satisfying and rewarding one. In these pages, I speak to you informally as an [Page xv] advisor and friend about the entire dissertation process. Plus, I speak about those critical issues related to the personal and social side of dissertating organization, time management, human relations, etc.

The material presented in this book represents years spent guiding dissertation students, dialoguing with faculty colleagues, and researching the literature on this topic. Please remember that the ideas and recommendations provided should be used only as a guide. Your advisor and committee are the ultimate sources of information and opinion about your dissertation.

It is my hope that you catch summit fever and become utterly motivated to reach the top. Do bring a spirit of adventure to this journey, and by all means, enjoy the climb! Warmest regards and good luck! No one climbs a high mountain alone. Experience and expertise, support and encouragement are all needed.

I am indebted to many people who provided these necessities, which helped make this book a reality. I am most appreciative of the assistance and contributions of my professional colleagues in the University of La Verne's Doctoral Program in Organizational Leadership, with whom I have worked for the past 22 years. They freely share their wisdom and knowledge, from which I learn so much. I would like to acknowledge and thank Drs. Through their insightful presentations at doctoral seminars, faculty exchanges, and personal coaching, they provided foundational information on preparing the core chapters of the dissertation Chapters 1 through 5.

Many of the ideas expressed in these five sections of the book encapsulate the collective wisdom of these talented individuals, who, over the years, contributed greatly to the quality of our doctoral program and to my own intellectual growth and development. For the second edition, I wish to thank Donna Bentley, Librarian at the University of La Verne, for her valuable help in revising and updating the Internet and technology resources. I also appreciate the support and encouragement to pursue this project given by Drs.

I also want to thank those doctoral students whom I have had the privilege of instructing—and particularly those who invited me to chair their dissertations and serve on their committees. They helped me understand the unique challenges associated with conducting high-quality [Page xvii] research and provided many helpful comments and suggestions that are incorporated in this book.

The contributions of the following reviewers are gratefully acknowledged. Roberts is a professor in the University of La Verne's Doctoral Program in Organizational Leadership, where she advises doctoral students, chairs dissertations, and teaches research plus a variety of courses focused on leading organizations.

Carol is a speaker, consultant, and seminar leader specializing in organizational and team development, strategic planning, conflict resolution, coaching, and personal mastery.

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Roberts The Dissertation Journey

She received her doctoral degree in planning, policy, and administration from the University of Southern California. I hope you found the suggestions and approaches offered in this book useful and valuable on your journey to complete the dissertation. I also hope your journey is an enjoyable one and results in one of the most rewarding personal experiences of your life. I leave you with two simple but powerful thoughts.

Module Overview

Be positive! A positive mental attitude, more than any other factor, will determine whether you complete your dissertation or not. View obstacles as plateaus on the way to the summit and find ways to surmount them. Persistence and determination are what it takes to finish. Don't give up no matter how much it starts to hurt—just shift gears and keep going. Nothing great comes without a price. Get it done! Don't wait for inspiration. Develop a sense of urgency about completing your dissertation. No matter how brilliant or talented you are, if you don't have a sense of urgency, develop it now.

Tomorrow is not a day of the week. Sample: A source of data chart was developed prior to the field test to assist with the comprehensive and efficient process of data collection. Each variable was explored through one or more of the following: interviews of students, teachers, administrators, and parents; archival document reviews; or classroom and school setting observations Melendrez, , p.

All levels of education in California and across the country are in transition. Many schools in California are in the process of change or are at least considering some elements of change. Your school has been selected as one of 40 schools in Orange County to respond to a questionnaire assessing group behavior or norms existing in elementary schools. I am a doctoral candidate at the University of La Verne conducting research regarding behavioral norms and characteristics of restructuring.

The following description of group behavior or norms may be helpful to you for the purpose of this study. Norms are the shared group expectations about behavior. They can be explicitly stated as rules or guidelines for behavior or can be implicitly understood as the way things happen [Page ] in an organization. Norms can be productive or nonproductive regarding the goals of the organization. Please complete this questionnaire assessing group behavior or norms in your school. It will only take a few minutes of your time.

This three-part questionnaire asks you to respond to group behavior or norm statements about your school as well as to respond to the degree of involvement in restructuring. Please complete and seal each questionnaire in the attached white envelope and return all questionnaires in the enclosed self-addressed, stamped large brown collection envelope no later than May 6th.


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  4. All responses will remain confidential, and your anonymity will be ensured. Your responses will contribute to this timely research about school norms, restructuring, and change. A summary of the research will be mailed to you upon completion. Group Behaviors and Restructuring Questionnaire.

    Staff members may include certificated and classified personnel. Teachers refer to certificated personnel. Below is a list of characteristics which may or may not describe your school. Regardless of how you answered the previous restructuring questions, please respond to what degree each of these characteristics reflect the current condition of your school. Please consider each item independently of the others.

    Do not allow the way you mark one item to affect the way you mark another item. Thank you very much for your time in responding to this questionnaire. Please put your completed questionnaire in the white envelope attached to the form. Seal the white envelope and place it in the large brown collection envelope.

    To protect the confidentiality of your responses, the white envelopes will be opened only by the researcher. Not all of the questions are appropriate for all studies, and some of the items within chapters may vary somewhat based on the preferences of the dissertation advisor.


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