How to write an undergraduate university dissertation

Writing a dissertation is a daunting task, but these tips will help you prepare for all the common challenges students face before deadline day.

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Writing a dissertation is one of the most challenging aspects of university. However, it is the chance for students to demonstrate what they have learned during their degree and to explore a topic in depth.

In this article, we look at 10 top tips for writing a successful dissertation and break down how to write each section of a dissertation in detail.

10 tips for writing an undergraduate dissertation

1. Select an engaging topic Choose a subject that aligns with your interests and allows you to showcase the skills and knowledge you have acquired through your degree.

2. Research your supervisor Undergraduate students will often be assigned a supervisor based on their research specialisms. Do some research on your supervisor and make sure that they align with your dissertation goals.

3. Understand the dissertation structure Familiarise yourself with the structure (introduction, review of existing research, methodology, findings, results and conclusion). This will vary based on your subject.

4. Write a schedule As soon as you have finalised your topic and looked over the deadline, create a rough plan of how much work you have to do and create mini-deadlines along the way to make sure don’t find yourself having to write your entire dissertation in the final few weeks.

5. Determine requirements Ensure that you know which format your dissertation should be presented in. Check the word count and the referencing style.

6. Organise references from the beginning Maintain an alphabetically arranged reference list or bibliography in the designated style as you do your reading. This will make it a lot easier to finalise your references at the end.

7. Create a detailed plan Once you have done your initial research and have an idea of the shape your dissertation will take, write a detailed essay plan outlining your research questions, SMART objectives and dissertation structure.

8. Keep a dissertation journal Track your progress, record your research and your reading, and document challenges. This will be helpful as you discuss your work with your supervisor and organise your notes.

9. Schedule regular check-ins with your supervisor Make sure you stay in touch with your supervisor throughout the process, scheduling regular meetings and keeping good notes so you can update them on your progress.

10. Employ effective proofreading techniques Ask friends and family to help you proofread your work or use different fonts to help make the text look different. This will help you check for missing sections, grammatical mistakes and typos.

What is a dissertation?

A dissertation is a long piece of academic writing or a research project that you have to write as part of your undergraduate university degree.

It’s usually a long essay in which you explore your chosen topic, present your ideas and show that you understand and can apply what you’ve learned during your studies. Informally, the terms “dissertation” and “thesis” are often used interchangeably.

How do I select a dissertation topic?

First, choose a topic that you find interesting. You will be working on your dissertation for several months, so finding a research topic that you are passionate about and that demonstrates your strength in your subject is best. You want your topic to show all the skills you have developed during your degree. It would be a bonus if you can link your work to your chosen career path, but it’s not necessary.

Second, begin by exploring relevant literature in your field, including academic journals, books and articles. This will help you identify gaps in existing knowledge and areas that may need further exploration. You may not be able to think of a truly original piece of research, but it’s always good to know what has already been written about your chosen topic.

Consider the practical aspects of your chosen topic, ensuring that it is possible within the time frame and available resources. Assess the availability of data, research materials and the overall practicality of conducting the research.

When picking a dissertation topic, you also want to try to choose something that adds new ideas or perspectives to what’s already known in your field. As you narrow your focus, remember that a more targeted approach usually leads to a dissertation that’s easier to manage and has a bigger impact. Be ready to change your plans based on feedback and new information you discover during your research.

How to work with your dissertation supervisor?

Your supervisor is there to provide guidance on your chosen topic, direct your research efforts, and offer assistance and suggestions when you have queries. It’s crucial to establish a comfortable and open line of communication with them throughout the process. Their knowledge can greatly benefit your work. Keep them informed about your progress, seek their advice, and don’t hesitate to ask questions.

1. Keep them updated Regularly tell your supervisor how your work is going and if you’re having any problems. You can do this through emails, meetings or progress reports.

2. Plan meetings Schedule regular meetings with your supervisor. These can be in person or online. These are your time to discuss your progress and ask for help.

3. Share your writing Give your supervisor parts of your writing or an outline. This helps them see what you’re thinking so they can advise you on how to develop it.

5. Ask specific questions When you need help, ask specific questions instead of general ones. This makes it easier for your supervisor to help you.

6. Listen to feedback Be open to what your supervisor says. If they suggest changes, try to make them. It makes your dissertation better and shows you can work together.

7. Talk about problems If something is hard or you’re worried, talk to your supervisor about it. They can give you advice or tell you where to find help.

8. Take charge Be responsible for your work. Let your supervisor know if your plans change, and don’t wait if you need help urgently.

Remember, talking openly with your supervisor helps you both understand each other better, improves your dissertation and ensures that you get the support you need.

How to write a successful research piece at university How to choose a topic for your dissertation Tips for writing a convincing thesis

How do I plan my dissertation?

It’s important to start with a detailed plan that will serve as your road map throughout the entire process of writing your dissertation. As Jumana Labib, a master’s student at the University of Manchester  studying digital media, culture and society, suggests: “Pace yourself – definitely don’t leave the entire thing for the last few days or weeks.”

Decide what your research question or questions will be for your chosen topic.

Break that down into smaller SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound) objectives.

Speak to your supervisor about any overlooked areas.

Create a breakdown of chapters using the structure listed below (for example, a methodology chapter).

Define objectives, key points and evidence for each chapter.

Define your research approach (qualitative, quantitative or mixed methods).

Outline your research methods and analysis techniques.

Develop a timeline with regular moments for review and feedback.

Allocate time for revision, editing and breaks.

Consider any ethical considerations related to your research.

Stay organised and add to your references and bibliography throughout the process.

Remain flexible to possible reviews or changes as you go along.

A well thought-out plan not only makes the writing process more manageable but also increases the likelihood of producing a high-quality piece of research.

How to structure a dissertation?

The structure can depend on your field of study, but this is a rough outline for science and social science dissertations:

Introduce your topic.

Complete a source or literature review.

Describe your research methodology (including the methods for gathering and filtering information, analysis techniques, materials, tools or resources used, limitations of your method, and any considerations of reliability).

Summarise your findings.

Discuss the results and what they mean.

Conclude your point and explain how your work contributes to your field.

On the other hand, humanities and arts dissertations often take the form of an extended essay. This involves constructing an argument or exploring a particular theory or analysis through the analysis of primary and secondary sources. Your essay will be structured through chapters arranged around themes or case studies.

All dissertations include a title page, an abstract and a reference list. Some may also need a table of contents at the beginning. Always check with your university department for its dissertation guidelines, and check with your supervisor as you begin to plan your structure to ensure that you have the right layout.

How long is an undergraduate dissertation?

The length of an undergraduate dissertation can vary depending on the specific guidelines provided by your university and your subject department. However, in many cases, undergraduate dissertations are typically about 8,000 to 12,000 words in length.

“Eat away at it; try to write for at least 30 minutes every day, even if it feels relatively unproductive to you in the moment,” Jumana advises.

How do I add references to my dissertation?

References are the section of your dissertation where you acknowledge the sources you have quoted or referred to in your writing. It’s a way of supporting your ideas, evidencing what research you have used and avoiding plagiarism (claiming someone else’s work as your own), and giving credit to the original authors.

Referencing typically includes in-text citations and a reference list or bibliography with full source details. Different referencing styles exist, such as Harvard, APA and MLA, each favoured in specific fields. Your university will tell you the preferred style.

Using tools and guides provided by universities can make the referencing process more manageable, but be sure they are approved by your university before using any.

How do I write a bibliography or list my references for my dissertation?

The requirement of a bibliography depends on the style of referencing you need to use. Styles such as OSCOLA or Chicago may not require a separate bibliography. In these styles, full source information is often incorporated into footnotes throughout the piece, doing away with the need for a separate bibliography section.

Typically, reference lists or bibliographies are organised alphabetically based on the author’s last name. They usually include essential details about each source, providing a quick overview for readers who want more information. Some styles ask that you include references that you didn’t use in your final piece as they were still a part of the overall research.

It is important to maintain this list as soon as you start your research. As you complete your research, you can add more sources to your bibliography to ensure that you have a comprehensive list throughout the dissertation process.

How to proofread an undergraduate dissertation?

Throughout your dissertation writing, attention to detail will be your greatest asset. The best way to avoid making mistakes is to continuously proofread and edit your work.

Proofreading is a great way to catch any missing sections, grammatical errors or typos. There are many tips to help you proofread:

Ask someone to read your piece and highlight any mistakes they find.

Change the font so you notice any mistakes.

Format your piece as you go, headings and sections will make it easier to spot any problems.

Separate editing and proofreading. Editing is your chance to rewrite sections, add more detail or change any points. Proofreading should be where you get into the final touches, really polish what you have and make sure it’s ready to be submitted.

Stick to your citation style and make sure every resource listed in your dissertation is cited in the reference list or bibliography.

How to write a conclusion for my dissertation?

Writing a dissertation conclusion is your chance to leave the reader impressed by your work.

Start by summarising your findings, highlighting your key points and the outcome of your research. Refer back to the original research question or hypotheses to provide context to your conclusion.

You can then delve into whether you achieved the goals you set at the beginning and reflect on whether your research addressed the topic as expected. Make sure you link your findings to existing literature or sources you have included throughout your work and how your own research could contribute to your field.

Be honest about any limitations or issues you faced during your research and consider any questions that went unanswered that you would consider in the future. Make sure that your conclusion is clear and concise, and sum up the overall impact and importance of your work.

Remember, keep the tone confident and authoritative, avoiding the introduction of new information. This should simply be a summary of everything you have already said throughout the dissertation.

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  • What Is a Thesis? | Ultimate Guide & Examples

What Is a Thesis? | Ultimate Guide & Examples

Published on September 14, 2022 by Tegan George . Revised on November 21, 2023.

A thesis is a type of research paper based on your original research. It is usually submitted as the final step of a master’s program or a capstone to a bachelor’s degree.

Writing a thesis can be a daunting experience. Other than a dissertation , it is one of the longest pieces of writing students typically complete. It relies on your ability to conduct research from start to finish: choosing a relevant topic , crafting a proposal , designing your research , collecting data , developing a robust analysis, drawing strong conclusions , and writing concisely .

Thesis template

You can also download our full thesis template in the format of your choice below. Our template includes a ready-made table of contents , as well as guidance for what each chapter should include. It’s easy to make it your own, and can help you get started.

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Table of contents

Thesis vs. thesis statement, how to structure a thesis, acknowledgements or preface, list of figures and tables, list of abbreviations, introduction, literature review, methodology, reference list, proofreading and editing, defending your thesis, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions about theses.

You may have heard the word thesis as a standalone term or as a component of academic writing called a thesis statement . Keep in mind that these are two very different things.

  • A thesis statement is a very common component of an essay, particularly in the humanities. It usually comprises 1 or 2 sentences in the introduction of your essay , and should clearly and concisely summarize the central points of your academic essay .
  • A thesis is a long-form piece of academic writing, often taking more than a full semester to complete. It is generally a degree requirement for Master’s programs, and is also sometimes required to complete a bachelor’s degree in liberal arts colleges.
  • In the US, a dissertation is generally written as a final step toward obtaining a PhD.
  • In other countries (particularly the UK), a dissertation is generally written at the bachelor’s or master’s level.

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The final structure of your thesis depends on a variety of components, such as:

  • Your discipline
  • Your theoretical approach

Humanities theses are often structured more like a longer-form essay . Just like in an essay, you build an argument to support a central thesis.

In both hard and social sciences, theses typically include an introduction , literature review , methodology section ,  results section , discussion section , and conclusion section . These are each presented in their own dedicated section or chapter. In some cases, you might want to add an appendix .

Thesis examples

We’ve compiled a short list of thesis examples to help you get started.

  • Example thesis #1:   “Abolition, Africans, and Abstraction: the Influence of the ‘Noble Savage’ on British and French Antislavery Thought, 1787-1807” by Suchait Kahlon.
  • Example thesis #2: “’A Starving Man Helping Another Starving Man’: UNRRA, India, and the Genesis of Global Relief, 1943-1947″ by Julian Saint Reiman.

The very first page of your thesis contains all necessary identifying information, including:

  • Your full title
  • Your full name
  • Your department
  • Your institution and degree program
  • Your submission date.

Sometimes the title page also includes your student ID, the name of your supervisor, or the university’s logo. Check out your university’s guidelines if you’re not sure.

Read more about title pages

The acknowledgements section is usually optional. Its main point is to allow you to thank everyone who helped you in your thesis journey, such as supervisors, friends, or family. You can also choose to write a preface , but it’s typically one or the other, not both.

Read more about acknowledgements Read more about prefaces

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An abstract is a short summary of your thesis. Usually a maximum of 300 words long, it’s should include brief descriptions of your research objectives , methods, results, and conclusions. Though it may seem short, it introduces your work to your audience, serving as a first impression of your thesis.

Read more about abstracts

A table of contents lists all of your sections, plus their corresponding page numbers and subheadings if you have them. This helps your reader seamlessly navigate your document.

Your table of contents should include all the major parts of your thesis. In particular, don’t forget the the appendices. If you used heading styles, it’s easy to generate an automatic table Microsoft Word.

Read more about tables of contents

While not mandatory, if you used a lot of tables and/or figures, it’s nice to include a list of them to help guide your reader. It’s also easy to generate one of these in Word: just use the “Insert Caption” feature.

Read more about lists of figures and tables

If you have used a lot of industry- or field-specific abbreviations in your thesis, you should include them in an alphabetized list of abbreviations . This way, your readers can easily look up any meanings they aren’t familiar with.

Read more about lists of abbreviations

Relatedly, if you find yourself using a lot of very specialized or field-specific terms that may not be familiar to your reader, consider including a glossary . Alphabetize the terms you want to include with a brief definition.

Read more about glossaries

An introduction sets up the topic, purpose, and relevance of your thesis, as well as expectations for your reader. This should:

  • Ground your research topic , sharing any background information your reader may need
  • Define the scope of your work
  • Introduce any existing research on your topic, situating your work within a broader problem or debate
  • State your research question(s)
  • Outline (briefly) how the remainder of your work will proceed

In other words, your introduction should clearly and concisely show your reader the “what, why, and how” of your research.

Read more about introductions

A literature review helps you gain a robust understanding of any extant academic work on your topic, encompassing:

  • Selecting relevant sources
  • Determining the credibility of your sources
  • Critically evaluating each of your sources
  • Drawing connections between sources, including any themes, patterns, conflicts, or gaps

A literature review is not merely a summary of existing work. Rather, your literature review should ultimately lead to a clear justification for your own research, perhaps via:

  • Addressing a gap in the literature
  • Building on existing knowledge to draw new conclusions
  • Exploring a new theoretical or methodological approach
  • Introducing a new solution to an unresolved problem
  • Definitively advocating for one side of a theoretical debate

Read more about literature reviews

Theoretical framework

Your literature review can often form the basis for your theoretical framework, but these are not the same thing. A theoretical framework defines and analyzes the concepts and theories that your research hinges on.

Read more about theoretical frameworks

Your methodology chapter shows your reader how you conducted your research. It should be written clearly and methodically, easily allowing your reader to critically assess the credibility of your argument. Furthermore, your methods section should convince your reader that your method was the best way to answer your research question.

A methodology section should generally include:

  • Your overall approach ( quantitative vs. qualitative )
  • Your research methods (e.g., a longitudinal study )
  • Your data collection methods (e.g., interviews or a controlled experiment
  • Any tools or materials you used (e.g., computer software)
  • The data analysis methods you chose (e.g., statistical analysis , discourse analysis )
  • A strong, but not defensive justification of your methods

Read more about methodology sections

Your results section should highlight what your methodology discovered. These two sections work in tandem, but shouldn’t repeat each other. While your results section can include hypotheses or themes, don’t include any speculation or new arguments here.

Your results section should:

  • State each (relevant) result with any (relevant) descriptive statistics (e.g., mean , standard deviation ) and inferential statistics (e.g., test statistics , p values )
  • Explain how each result relates to the research question
  • Determine whether the hypothesis was supported

Additional data (like raw numbers or interview transcripts ) can be included as an appendix . You can include tables and figures, but only if they help the reader better understand your results.

Read more about results sections

Your discussion section is where you can interpret your results in detail. Did they meet your expectations? How well do they fit within the framework that you built? You can refer back to any relevant source material to situate your results within your field, but leave most of that analysis in your literature review.

For any unexpected results, offer explanations or alternative interpretations of your data.

Read more about discussion sections

Your thesis conclusion should concisely answer your main research question. It should leave your reader with an ultra-clear understanding of your central argument, and emphasize what your research specifically has contributed to your field.

Why does your research matter? What recommendations for future research do you have? Lastly, wrap up your work with any concluding remarks.

Read more about conclusions

In order to avoid plagiarism , don’t forget to include a full reference list at the end of your thesis, citing the sources that you used. Choose one citation style and follow it consistently throughout your thesis, taking note of the formatting requirements of each style.

Which style you choose is often set by your department or your field, but common styles include MLA , Chicago , and APA.

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In order to stay clear and concise, your thesis should include the most essential information needed to answer your research question. However, chances are you have many contributing documents, like interview transcripts or survey questions . These can be added as appendices , to save space in the main body.

Read more about appendices

Once you’re done writing, the next part of your editing process begins. Leave plenty of time for proofreading and editing prior to submission. Nothing looks worse than grammar mistakes or sloppy spelling errors!

Consider using a professional thesis editing service or grammar checker to make sure your final project is perfect.

Once you’ve submitted your final product, it’s common practice to have a thesis defense, an oral component of your finished work. This is scheduled by your advisor or committee, and usually entails a presentation and Q&A session.

After your defense , your committee will meet to determine if you deserve any departmental honors or accolades. However, keep in mind that defenses are usually just a formality. If there are any serious issues with your work, these should be resolved with your advisor way before a defense.

If you want to know more about AI for academic writing, AI tools, or research bias, make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples or go directly to our tools!

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The conclusion of your thesis or dissertation shouldn’t take up more than 5–7% of your overall word count.

If you only used a few abbreviations in your thesis or dissertation , you don’t necessarily need to include a list of abbreviations .

If your abbreviations are numerous, or if you think they won’t be known to your audience, it’s never a bad idea to add one. They can also improve readability, minimizing confusion about abbreviations unfamiliar to your reader.

When you mention different chapters within your text, it’s considered best to use Roman numerals for most citation styles. However, the most important thing here is to remain consistent whenever using numbers in your dissertation .

A thesis or dissertation outline is one of the most critical first steps in your writing process. It helps you to lay out and organize your ideas and can provide you with a roadmap for deciding what kind of research you’d like to undertake.

Generally, an outline contains information on the different sections included in your thesis or dissertation , such as:

  • Your anticipated title
  • Your abstract
  • Your chapters (sometimes subdivided into further topics like literature review , research methods , avenues for future research, etc.)

A thesis is typically written by students finishing up a bachelor’s or Master’s degree. Some educational institutions, particularly in the liberal arts, have mandatory theses, but they are often not mandatory to graduate from bachelor’s degrees. It is more common for a thesis to be a graduation requirement from a Master’s degree.

Even if not mandatory, you may want to consider writing a thesis if you:

  • Plan to attend graduate school soon
  • Have a particular topic you’d like to study more in-depth
  • Are considering a career in research
  • Would like a capstone experience to tie up your academic experience

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  • Dissertation

How to Write a Dissertation | A Guide to Structure & Content

A dissertation or thesis is a long piece of academic writing based on original research, submitted as part of an undergraduate or postgraduate degree.

The structure of a dissertation depends on your field, but it is usually divided into at least four or five chapters (including an introduction and conclusion chapter).

The most common dissertation structure in the sciences and social sciences includes:

  • An introduction to your topic
  • A literature review that surveys relevant sources
  • An explanation of your methodology
  • An overview of the results of your research
  • A discussion of the results and their implications
  • A conclusion that shows what your research has contributed

Dissertations in the humanities are often structured more like a long essay , building an argument by analysing primary and secondary sources . Instead of the standard structure outlined here, you might organise your chapters around different themes or case studies.

Other important elements of the dissertation include the title page , abstract , and reference list . If in doubt about how your dissertation should be structured, always check your department’s guidelines and consult with your supervisor.

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Table of contents

Acknowledgements, table of contents, list of figures and tables, list of abbreviations, introduction, literature review / theoretical framework, methodology, reference list.

The very first page of your document contains your dissertation’s title, your name, department, institution, degree program, and submission date. Sometimes it also includes your student number, your supervisor’s name, and the university’s logo. Many programs have strict requirements for formatting the dissertation title page .

The title page is often used as cover when printing and binding your dissertation .

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The acknowledgements section is usually optional, and gives space for you to thank everyone who helped you in writing your dissertation. This might include your supervisors, participants in your research, and friends or family who supported you.

The abstract is a short summary of your dissertation, usually about 150-300 words long. You should write it at the very end, when you’ve completed the rest of the dissertation. In the abstract, make sure to:

  • State the main topic and aims of your research
  • Describe the methods you used
  • Summarise the main results
  • State your conclusions

Although the abstract is very short, it’s the first part (and sometimes the only part) of your dissertation that people will read, so it’s important that you get it right. If you’re struggling to write a strong abstract, read our guide on how to write an abstract .

In the table of contents, list all of your chapters and subheadings and their page numbers. The dissertation contents page gives the reader an overview of your structure and helps easily navigate the document.

All parts of your dissertation should be included in the table of contents, including the appendices. You can generate a table of contents automatically in Word.

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If you have used a lot of tables and figures in your dissertation, you should itemise them in a numbered list . You can automatically generate this list using the Insert Caption feature in Word.

If you have used a lot of abbreviations in your dissertation, you can include them in an alphabetised list of abbreviations so that the reader can easily look up their meanings.

If you have used a lot of highly specialised terms that will not be familiar to your reader, it might be a good idea to include a glossary . List the terms alphabetically and explain each term with a brief description or definition.

In the introduction, you set up your dissertation’s topic, purpose, and relevance, and tell the reader what to expect in the rest of the dissertation. The introduction should:

  • Establish your research topic , giving necessary background information to contextualise your work
  • Narrow down the focus and define the scope of the research
  • Discuss the state of existing research on the topic, showing your work’s relevance to a broader problem or debate
  • Clearly state your objectives and research questions , and indicate how you will answer them
  • Give an overview of your dissertation’s structure

Everything in the introduction should be clear, engaging, and relevant to your research. By the end, the reader should understand the what , why and how of your research. Not sure how? Read our guide on how to write a dissertation introduction .

Before you start on your research, you should have conducted a literature review to gain a thorough understanding of the academic work that already exists on your topic. This means:

  • Collecting sources (e.g. books and journal articles) and selecting the most relevant ones
  • Critically evaluating and analysing each source
  • Drawing connections between them (e.g. themes, patterns, conflicts, gaps) to make an overall point

In the dissertation literature review chapter or section, you shouldn’t just summarise existing studies, but develop a coherent structure and argument that leads to a clear basis or justification for your own research. For example, it might aim to show how your research:

  • Addresses a gap in the literature
  • Takes a new theoretical or methodological approach to the topic
  • Proposes a solution to an unresolved problem
  • Advances a theoretical debate
  • Builds on and strengthens existing knowledge with new data

The literature review often becomes the basis for a theoretical framework , in which you define and analyse the key theories, concepts and models that frame your research. In this section you can answer descriptive research questions about the relationship between concepts or variables.

The methodology chapter or section describes how you conducted your research, allowing your reader to assess its validity. You should generally include:

  • The overall approach and type of research (e.g. qualitative, quantitative, experimental, ethnographic)
  • Your methods of collecting data (e.g. interviews, surveys, archives)
  • Details of where, when, and with whom the research took place
  • Your methods of analysing data (e.g. statistical analysis, discourse analysis)
  • Tools and materials you used (e.g. computer programs, lab equipment)
  • A discussion of any obstacles you faced in conducting the research and how you overcame them
  • An evaluation or justification of your methods

Your aim in the methodology is to accurately report what you did, as well as convincing the reader that this was the best approach to answering your research questions or objectives.

Next, you report the results of your research . You can structure this section around sub-questions, hypotheses, or topics. Only report results that are relevant to your objectives and research questions. In some disciplines, the results section is strictly separated from the discussion, while in others the two are combined.

For example, for qualitative methods like in-depth interviews, the presentation of the data will often be woven together with discussion and analysis, while in quantitative and experimental research, the results should be presented separately before you discuss their meaning. If you’re unsure, consult with your supervisor and look at sample dissertations to find out the best structure for your research.

In the results section it can often be helpful to include tables, graphs and charts. Think carefully about how best to present your data, and don’t include tables or figures that just repeat what you have written  –  they should provide extra information or usefully visualise the results in a way that adds value to your text.

Full versions of your data (such as interview transcripts) can be included as an appendix .

The discussion  is where you explore the meaning and implications of your results in relation to your research questions. Here you should interpret the results in detail, discussing whether they met your expectations and how well they fit with the framework that you built in earlier chapters. If any of the results were unexpected, offer explanations for why this might be. It’s a good idea to consider alternative interpretations of your data and discuss any limitations that might have influenced the results.

The discussion should reference other scholarly work to show how your results fit with existing knowledge. You can also make recommendations for future research or practical action.

The dissertation conclusion should concisely answer the main research question, leaving the reader with a clear understanding of your central argument. Wrap up your dissertation with a final reflection on what you did and how you did it. The conclusion often also includes recommendations for research or practice.

In this section, it’s important to show how your findings contribute to knowledge in the field and why your research matters. What have you added to what was already known?

You must include full details of all sources that you have cited in a reference list (sometimes also called a works cited list or bibliography). It’s important to follow a consistent reference style . Each style has strict and specific requirements for how to format your sources in the reference list.

The most common styles used in UK universities are Harvard referencing and Vancouver referencing . Your department will often specify which referencing style you should use – for example, psychology students tend to use APA style , humanities students often use MHRA , and law students always use OSCOLA . M ake sure to check the requirements, and ask your supervisor if you’re unsure.

To save time creating the reference list and make sure your citations are correctly and consistently formatted, you can use our free APA Citation Generator .

Your dissertation itself should contain only essential information that directly contributes to answering your research question. Documents you have used that do not fit into the main body of your dissertation (such as interview transcripts, survey questions or tables with full figures) can be added as appendices .

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How to find resources by format

Why use a dissertation or a thesis.

A dissertation is the final large research paper, based on original research, for many disciplines to be able to complete a PhD degree. The thesis is the same idea but for a masters degree.

They are often considered scholarly sources since they are closely supervised by a committee, are directed at an academic audience, are extensively researched, follow research methodology, and are cited in other scholarly work. Often the research is newer or answering questions that are more recent, and can help push scholarship in new directions. 

Search for dissertations and theses

Locating dissertations and theses.

The Proquest Dissertations and Theses Global database includes doctoral dissertations and selected masters theses from major universities worldwide.

  • Searchable by subject, author, advisor, title, school, date, etc.
  • More information about full text access and requesting through Interlibrary Loan

NDLTD – Networked Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations provides free online access to a over a million theses and dissertations from all over the world.

WorldCat Dissertations and Theses searches library catalogs from across the U.S. and worldwide.

Locating University of Minnesota Dissertations and Theses

Use  Libraries search  and search by title or author and add the word "thesis" in the search box. Write down the library and call number and find it on the shelf. They can be checked out.

Check the  University Digital Conservancy  for online access to dissertations and theses from 2007 to present as well as historic, scanned theses from 1887-1923.

Other Sources for Dissertations and Theses

  • Center for Research Libraries
  • DART-Europe E-Thesis Portal
  • Theses Canada
  • Ethos (Great Britain)
  • Australasian Digital Theses in Trove
  • DiVA (Sweden)
  • E-Thesis at the University of Helsinki
  • DissOnline (Germany)
  • List of libraries worldwide - to search for a thesis when you know the institution and cannot find in the larger collections

University of Minnesota Dissertations and Theses FAQs

What dissertations and theses are available.

With minor exceptions, all doctoral dissertations and all "Plan A" master's theses accepted by the University of Minnesota are available in the University Libraries system. In some cases (see below) only a non-circulating copy in University Archives exists, but for doctoral dissertations from 1940 to date, and for master's theses from 1925 to date, a circulating copy should almost always be available.

"Plan B" papers, accepted in the place of a thesis in many master's degree programs, are not received by the University Libraries and are generally not available. (The only real exceptions are a number of old library school Plan B papers on publishing history, which have been separately cataloged.) In a few cases individual departments may have maintained files of such papers.

In what libraries are U of M dissertations and theses located?

Circulating copies of doctoral dissertations:.

  • Use Libraries Search to look for the author or title of the work desired to determine location and call number of a specific dissertation. Circulating copies of U of M doctoral dissertations can be in one of several locations in the library system, depending upon the date and the department for which the dissertation was done. The following are the general rules:
  • Dissertations prior to 1940 Circulating copies of U of M dissertations prior to 1940 do not exist (with rare exceptions): for these, only the archival copy (see below) is available. Also, most dissertations prior to 1940 are not cataloged in MNCAT and can only be identified by the departmental listings described below.  
  • Dissertations from 1940-1979 Circulating copies of U of M dissertations from 1940 to 1979 will in most cases be held within the Elmer L. Andersen Library, with three major classes of exceptions: dissertations accepted by biological, medical, and related departments are housed in the Health Science Library; science/engineering dissertations from 1970 to date will be located in the Science and Engineering Library (in Walter); and dissertations accepted by agricultural and related departments are available at the Magrath Library or one of the other libraries on the St. Paul campus (the Magrath Library maintains records of locations for such dissertations).  
  • Dissertations from 1980-date Circulating copies of U of M dissertations from 1980 to date at present may be located either in Wilson Library (see below) or in storage; consult Libraries Search for location of specific items. Again, exceptions noted above apply here also; dissertations in their respective departments will instead be in Health Science Library or in one of the St. Paul campus libraries.

Circulating copies of master's theses:

  • Theses prior to 1925 Circulating copies of U of M master's theses prior to 1925 do not exist (with rare exceptions); for these, only the archival copy (see below) is available.  
  • Theses from 1925-1996 Circulating copies of U of M master's theses from 1925 to 1996 may be held in storage; consult Libraries search in specific instances. Once again, there are exceptions and theses in their respective departments will be housed in the Health Science Library or in one of the St. Paul campus libraries.  
  • Theses from 1997-date Circulating copies of U of M master's theses from 1997 to date will be located in Wilson Library (see below), except for the same exceptions for Health Science  and St. Paul theses. There is also an exception to the exception: MHA (Masters in Health Administration) theses through 1998 are in the Health Science Library, but those from 1999 on are in Wilson Library.

Archival copies (non-circulating)

Archival (non-circulating) copies of virtually all U of M doctoral dissertations from 1888-1952, and of U of M master's theses from all years up to the present, are maintained by University Archives (located in the Elmer L. Andersen Library). These copies must be consulted on the premises, and it is highly recommended for the present that users make an appointment in advance to ensure that the desired works can be retrieved for them from storage. For dissertations accepted prior to 1940 and for master's theses accepted prior to 1925, University Archives is generally the only option (e.g., there usually will be no circulating copy). Archival copies of U of M doctoral dissertations from 1953 to the present are maintained by Bell and Howell Corporation (formerly University Microfilms Inc.), which produces print or filmed copies from our originals upon request. (There are a very few post-1952 U of M dissertations not available from Bell and Howell; these include such things as music manuscripts and works with color illustrations or extremely large pages that will not photocopy well; in these few cases, our archival copy is retained in University Archives.)

Where is a specific dissertation of thesis located?

To locate a specific dissertation or thesis it is necessary to have its call number. Use Libraries Search for the author or title of the item, just as you would for any other book. Depending on date of acceptance and cataloging, a typical call number for such materials should look something like one of the following:

Dissertations: Plan"A" Theses MnU-D or 378.7M66 MnU-M or 378.7M66 78-342 ODR7617 83-67 OL6156 Libraries Search will also tell the library location (MLAC, Health Science Library, Magrath or another St. Paul campus library, Science and Engineering, Business Reference, Wilson Annex or Wilson Library). Those doctoral dissertations still in Wilson Library (which in all cases should be 1980 or later and will have "MnU-D" numbers) are located in the central section of the third floor. Those master's theses in Wilson (which in all cases will be 1997 or later and will have "MnU-M" numbers) are also located in the central section of the third floor. Both dissertations and theses circulate and can be checked out, like any other books, at the Wilson Circulation desk on the first floor.

How can dissertations and theses accepted by a specific department be located?

Wilson Library contains a series of bound and loose-leaf notebooks, arranged by department and within each department by date, listing dissertations and theses. Information given for each entry includes name of author, title, and date (but not call number, which must be looked up individually). These notebooks are no longer current, but they do cover listings by department from the nineteenth century up to approximately 1992. Many pre-1940 U of M dissertations and pre-1925 U of M master's theses are not cataloged (and exist only as archival copies). Such dissertations can be identified only with these volumes. The books and notebooks are shelved in the general collection under these call numbers: Wilson Ref LD3337 .A5 and Wilson Ref quarto LD3337 .U9x. Major departments of individual degree candidates are also listed under their names in the GRADUATE SCHOOL COMMENCEMENT programs of the U of M, available in University Archives and (for recent years) also in Wilson stacks (LD3361 .U55x).

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  • Dissertation

Requirements, deadlines, and other information on preparing and submitting a dissertation.

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PhD candidates must successfully complete and submit a dissertation to qualify for degree conferral. It is perhaps the most important and far-reaching undertaking in the entire doctoral program, having an impact that extends well beyond graduate studies. 

Requirements and Deadlines 

Each graduate program maintains specific requirements for the content and evaluation of the dissertation. Be sure to review your program’s departmental requirements prior to beginning the process. You should also review Harvard Griffin GSAS’s dissertation policies for important information about formatting, submission, and publishing and distribution options, including embargoes.  

Degrees are awarded in November, March, and May. Dissertation submission deadlines are noted in the Degree Calendar section of Policies . 

Help with the Dissertation 

Library research .

It’s never too early to start planning for your dissertation. The Harvard Library can help! The Library maintains a guide for graduate students engaged in scholarly writing titled the Writing Oasis . They also offer access to Overleaf , which is an online LaTeX and Rich Text collaborative writing and publishing tool that makes the process of academic writing, editing, and publishing quicker and easier. Overleaf has a section on Writing Your Dissertation that you may find useful.  


Students can find support with planning and preparing to write the dissertation from their academic advisors and programs. The Fellowships & Writing Center also offers workshops on various aspects of dissertation writing, holds brainstorming office hours during which students may discuss their dissertations, and provides written feedback on dissertation chapters.  

Dissertation Completion Fellowships 

Harvard Griffin GSAS provides a dissertation completion fellowship (DCF) for one academic year to eligible PhD students in the humanities and social sciences who anticipate completing their dissertations within the year. Find out more in Policies .

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Dissertation Structure & Layout 101: How to structure your dissertation, thesis or research project.

By: Derek Jansen (MBA) Reviewed By: David Phair (PhD) | July 2019

So, you’ve got a decent understanding of what a dissertation is , you’ve chosen your topic and hopefully you’ve received approval for your research proposal . Awesome! Now its time to start the actual dissertation or thesis writing journey.

To craft a high-quality document, the very first thing you need to understand is dissertation structure . In this post, we’ll walk you through the generic dissertation structure and layout, step by step. We’ll start with the big picture, and then zoom into each chapter to briefly discuss the core contents. If you’re just starting out on your research journey, you should start with this post, which covers the big-picture process of how to write a dissertation or thesis .

Dissertation structure and layout - the basics

*The Caveat *

In this post, we’ll be discussing a traditional dissertation/thesis structure and layout, which is generally used for social science research across universities, whether in the US, UK, Europe or Australia. However, some universities may have small variations on this structure (extra chapters, merged chapters, slightly different ordering, etc).

So, always check with your university if they have a prescribed structure or layout that they expect you to work with. If not, it’s safe to assume the structure we’ll discuss here is suitable. And even if they do have a prescribed structure, you’ll still get value from this post as we’ll explain the core contents of each section.  

Overview: S tructuring a dissertation or thesis

  • Acknowledgements page
  • Abstract (or executive summary)
  • Table of contents , list of figures and tables
  • Chapter 1: Introduction
  • Chapter 2: Literature review
  • Chapter 3: Methodology
  • Chapter 4: Results
  • Chapter 5: Discussion
  • Chapter 6: Conclusion
  • Reference list

As I mentioned, some universities will have slight variations on this structure. For example, they want an additional “personal reflection chapter”, or they might prefer the results and discussion chapter to be merged into one. Regardless, the overarching flow will always be the same, as this flow reflects the research process , which we discussed here – i.e.:

  • The introduction chapter presents the core research question and aims .
  • The literature review chapter assesses what the current research says about this question.
  • The methodology, results and discussion chapters go about undertaking new research about this question.
  • The conclusion chapter (attempts to) answer the core research question .

In other words, the dissertation structure and layout reflect the research process of asking a well-defined question(s), investigating, and then answering the question – see below.

A dissertation's structure reflect the research process

To restate that – the structure and layout of a dissertation reflect the flow of the overall research process . This is essential to understand, as each chapter will make a lot more sense if you “get” this concept. If you’re not familiar with the research process, read this post before going further.

Right. Now that we’ve covered the big picture, let’s dive a little deeper into the details of each section and chapter. Oh and by the way, you can also grab our free dissertation/thesis template here to help speed things up.

The title page of your dissertation is the very first impression the marker will get of your work, so it pays to invest some time thinking about your title. But what makes for a good title? A strong title needs to be 3 things:

  • Succinct (not overly lengthy or verbose)
  • Specific (not vague or ambiguous)
  • Representative of the research you’re undertaking (clearly linked to your research questions)

Typically, a good title includes mention of the following:

  • The broader area of the research (i.e. the overarching topic)
  • The specific focus of your research (i.e. your specific context)
  • Indication of research design (e.g. quantitative , qualitative , or  mixed methods ).

For example:

A quantitative investigation [research design] into the antecedents of organisational trust [broader area] in the UK retail forex trading market [specific context/area of focus].

Again, some universities may have specific requirements regarding the format and structure of the title, so it’s worth double-checking expectations with your institution (if there’s no mention in the brief or study material).

Dissertations stacked up


This page provides you with an opportunity to say thank you to those who helped you along your research journey. Generally, it’s optional (and won’t count towards your marks), but it is academic best practice to include this.

So, who do you say thanks to? Well, there’s no prescribed requirements, but it’s common to mention the following people:

  • Your dissertation supervisor or committee.
  • Any professors, lecturers or academics that helped you understand the topic or methodologies.
  • Any tutors, mentors or advisors.
  • Your family and friends, especially spouse (for adult learners studying part-time).

There’s no need for lengthy rambling. Just state who you’re thankful to and for what (e.g. thank you to my supervisor, John Doe, for his endless patience and attentiveness) – be sincere. In terms of length, you should keep this to a page or less.

Abstract or executive summary

The dissertation abstract (or executive summary for some degrees) serves to provide the first-time reader (and marker or moderator) with a big-picture view of your research project. It should give them an understanding of the key insights and findings from the research, without them needing to read the rest of the report – in other words, it should be able to stand alone .

For it to stand alone, your abstract should cover the following key points (at a minimum):

  • Your research questions and aims – what key question(s) did your research aim to answer?
  • Your methodology – how did you go about investigating the topic and finding answers to your research question(s)?
  • Your findings – following your own research, what did do you discover?
  • Your conclusions – based on your findings, what conclusions did you draw? What answers did you find to your research question(s)?

So, in much the same way the dissertation structure mimics the research process, your abstract or executive summary should reflect the research process, from the initial stage of asking the original question to the final stage of answering that question.

In practical terms, it’s a good idea to write this section up last , once all your core chapters are complete. Otherwise, you’ll end up writing and rewriting this section multiple times (just wasting time). For a step by step guide on how to write a strong executive summary, check out this post .

Need a helping hand?

uni dissertation

Table of contents

This section is straightforward. You’ll typically present your table of contents (TOC) first, followed by the two lists – figures and tables. I recommend that you use Microsoft Word’s automatic table of contents generator to generate your TOC. If you’re not familiar with this functionality, the video below explains it simply:

If you find that your table of contents is overly lengthy, consider removing one level of depth. Oftentimes, this can be done without detracting from the usefulness of the TOC.

Right, now that the “admin” sections are out of the way, its time to move on to your core chapters. These chapters are the heart of your dissertation and are where you’ll earn the marks. The first chapter is the introduction chapter – as you would expect, this is the time to introduce your research…

It’s important to understand that even though you’ve provided an overview of your research in your abstract, your introduction needs to be written as if the reader has not read that (remember, the abstract is essentially a standalone document). So, your introduction chapter needs to start from the very beginning, and should address the following questions:

  • What will you be investigating (in plain-language, big picture-level)?
  • Why is that worth investigating? How is it important to academia or business? How is it sufficiently original?
  • What are your research aims and research question(s)? Note that the research questions can sometimes be presented at the end of the literature review (next chapter).
  • What is the scope of your study? In other words, what will and won’t you cover ?
  • How will you approach your research? In other words, what methodology will you adopt?
  • How will you structure your dissertation? What are the core chapters and what will you do in each of them?

These are just the bare basic requirements for your intro chapter. Some universities will want additional bells and whistles in the intro chapter, so be sure to carefully read your brief or consult your research supervisor.

If done right, your introduction chapter will set a clear direction for the rest of your dissertation. Specifically, it will make it clear to the reader (and marker) exactly what you’ll be investigating, why that’s important, and how you’ll be going about the investigation. Conversely, if your introduction chapter leaves a first-time reader wondering what exactly you’ll be researching, you’ve still got some work to do.

Now that you’ve set a clear direction with your introduction chapter, the next step is the literature review . In this section, you will analyse the existing research (typically academic journal articles and high-quality industry publications), with a view to understanding the following questions:

  • What does the literature currently say about the topic you’re investigating?
  • Is the literature lacking or well established? Is it divided or in disagreement?
  • How does your research fit into the bigger picture?
  • How does your research contribute something original?
  • How does the methodology of previous studies help you develop your own?

Depending on the nature of your study, you may also present a conceptual framework towards the end of your literature review, which you will then test in your actual research.

Again, some universities will want you to focus on some of these areas more than others, some will have additional or fewer requirements, and so on. Therefore, as always, its important to review your brief and/or discuss with your supervisor, so that you know exactly what’s expected of your literature review chapter.

Dissertation writing

Now that you’ve investigated the current state of knowledge in your literature review chapter and are familiar with the existing key theories, models and frameworks, its time to design your own research. Enter the methodology chapter – the most “science-ey” of the chapters…

In this chapter, you need to address two critical questions:

  • Exactly HOW will you carry out your research (i.e. what is your intended research design)?
  • Exactly WHY have you chosen to do things this way (i.e. how do you justify your design)?

Remember, the dissertation part of your degree is first and foremost about developing and demonstrating research skills . Therefore, the markers want to see that you know which methods to use, can clearly articulate why you’ve chosen then, and know how to deploy them effectively.

Importantly, this chapter requires detail – don’t hold back on the specifics. State exactly what you’ll be doing, with who, when, for how long, etc. Moreover, for every design choice you make, make sure you justify it.

In practice, you will likely end up coming back to this chapter once you’ve undertaken all your data collection and analysis, and revise it based on changes you made during the analysis phase. This is perfectly fine. Its natural for you to add an additional analysis technique, scrap an old one, etc based on where your data lead you. Of course, I’m talking about small changes here – not a fundamental switch from qualitative to quantitative, which will likely send your supervisor in a spin!

You’ve now collected your data and undertaken your analysis, whether qualitative, quantitative or mixed methods. In this chapter, you’ll present the raw results of your analysis . For example, in the case of a quant study, you’ll present the demographic data, descriptive statistics, inferential statistics , etc.

Typically, Chapter 4 is simply a presentation and description of the data, not a discussion of the meaning of the data. In other words, it’s descriptive, rather than analytical – the meaning is discussed in Chapter 5. However, some universities will want you to combine chapters 4 and 5, so that you both present and interpret the meaning of the data at the same time. Check with your institution what their preference is.

Now that you’ve presented the data analysis results, its time to interpret and analyse them. In other words, its time to discuss what they mean, especially in relation to your research question(s).

What you discuss here will depend largely on your chosen methodology. For example, if you’ve gone the quantitative route, you might discuss the relationships between variables . If you’ve gone the qualitative route, you might discuss key themes and the meanings thereof. It all depends on what your research design choices were.

Most importantly, you need to discuss your results in relation to your research questions and aims, as well as the existing literature. What do the results tell you about your research questions? Are they aligned with the existing research or at odds? If so, why might this be? Dig deep into your findings and explain what the findings suggest, in plain English.

The final chapter – you’ve made it! Now that you’ve discussed your interpretation of the results, its time to bring it back to the beginning with the conclusion chapter . In other words, its time to (attempt to) answer your original research question s (from way back in chapter 1). Clearly state what your conclusions are in terms of your research questions. This might feel a bit repetitive, as you would have touched on this in the previous chapter, but its important to bring the discussion full circle and explicitly state your answer(s) to the research question(s).

Dissertation and thesis prep

Next, you’ll typically discuss the implications of your findings? In other words, you’ve answered your research questions – but what does this mean for the real world (or even for academia)? What should now be done differently, given the new insight you’ve generated?

Lastly, you should discuss the limitations of your research, as well as what this means for future research in the area. No study is perfect, especially not a Masters-level. Discuss the shortcomings of your research. Perhaps your methodology was limited, perhaps your sample size was small or not representative, etc, etc. Don’t be afraid to critique your work – the markers want to see that you can identify the limitations of your work. This is a strength, not a weakness. Be brutal!

This marks the end of your core chapters – woohoo! From here on out, it’s pretty smooth sailing.

The reference list is straightforward. It should contain a list of all resources cited in your dissertation, in the required format, e.g. APA , Harvard, etc.

It’s essential that you use reference management software for your dissertation. Do NOT try handle your referencing manually – its far too error prone. On a reference list of multiple pages, you’re going to make mistake. To this end, I suggest considering either Mendeley or Zotero. Both are free and provide a very straightforward interface to ensure that your referencing is 100% on point. I’ve included a simple how-to video for the Mendeley software (my personal favourite) below:

Some universities may ask you to include a bibliography, as opposed to a reference list. These two things are not the same . A bibliography is similar to a reference list, except that it also includes resources which informed your thinking but were not directly cited in your dissertation. So, double-check your brief and make sure you use the right one.

The very last piece of the puzzle is the appendix or set of appendices. This is where you’ll include any supporting data and evidence. Importantly, supporting is the keyword here.

Your appendices should provide additional “nice to know”, depth-adding information, which is not critical to the core analysis. Appendices should not be used as a way to cut down word count (see this post which covers how to reduce word count ). In other words, don’t place content that is critical to the core analysis here, just to save word count. You will not earn marks on any content in the appendices, so don’t try to play the system!

Time to recap…

And there you have it – the traditional dissertation structure and layout, from A-Z. To recap, the core structure for a dissertation or thesis is (typically) as follows:

  • Acknowledgments page

Most importantly, the core chapters should reflect the research process (asking, investigating and answering your research question). Moreover, the research question(s) should form the golden thread throughout your dissertation structure. Everything should revolve around the research questions, and as you’ve seen, they should form both the start point (i.e. introduction chapter) and the endpoint (i.e. conclusion chapter).

I hope this post has provided you with clarity about the traditional dissertation/thesis structure and layout. If you have any questions or comments, please leave a comment below, or feel free to get in touch with us. Also, be sure to check out the rest of the  Grad Coach Blog .

uni dissertation

Psst… there’s more (for free)

This post is part of our dissertation mini-course, which covers everything you need to get started with your dissertation, thesis or research project. 

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Dissertation and thesis defense 101



many thanks i found it very useful

Derek Jansen

Glad to hear that, Arun. Good luck writing your dissertation.


Such clear practical logical advice. I very much needed to read this to keep me focused in stead of fretting.. Perfect now ready to start my research!


what about scientific fields like computer or engineering thesis what is the difference in the structure? thank you very much


Thanks so much this helped me a lot!

Ade Adeniyi

Very helpful and accessible. What I like most is how practical the advice is along with helpful tools/ links.

Thanks Ade!


Thank you so much sir.. It was really helpful..

You’re welcome!

Jp Raimundo

Hi! How many words maximum should contain the abstract?

Karmelia Renatee

Thank you so much 😊 Find this at the right moment

You’re most welcome. Good luck with your dissertation.


best ever benefit i got on right time thank you

Krishnan iyer

Many times Clarity and vision of destination of dissertation is what makes the difference between good ,average and great researchers the same way a great automobile driver is fast with clarity of address and Clear weather conditions .

I guess Great researcher = great ideas + knowledge + great and fast data collection and modeling + great writing + high clarity on all these

You have given immense clarity from start to end.

Alwyn Malan

Morning. Where will I write the definitions of what I’m referring to in my report?


Thank you so much Derek, I was almost lost! Thanks a tonnnn! Have a great day!

yemi Amos

Thanks ! so concise and valuable

Kgomotso Siwelane

This was very helpful. Clear and concise. I know exactly what to do now.

dauda sesay

Thank you for allowing me to go through briefly. I hope to find time to continue.

Patrick Mwathi

Really useful to me. Thanks a thousand times

Adao Bundi

Very interesting! It will definitely set me and many more for success. highly recommended.


Thank you soo much sir, for the opportunity to express my skills

mwepu Ilunga

Usefull, thanks a lot. Really clear


Very nice and easy to understand. Thank you .

Chrisogonas Odhiambo

That was incredibly useful. Thanks Grad Coach Crew!


My stress level just dropped at least 15 points after watching this. Just starting my thesis for my grad program and I feel a lot more capable now! Thanks for such a clear and helpful video, Emma and the GradCoach team!


Do we need to mention the number of words the dissertation contains in the main document?

It depends on your university’s requirements, so it would be best to check with them 🙂


Such a helpful post to help me get started with structuring my masters dissertation, thank you!

Simon Le

Great video; I appreciate that helpful information

Brhane Kidane

It is so necessary or avital course


This blog is very informative for my research. Thank you


Doctoral students are required to fill out the National Research Council’s Survey of Earned Doctorates

Emmanuel Manjolo

wow this is an amazing gain in my life

Paul I Thoronka

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How can i arrange my specific objectives in my dissertation?


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7 steps to writing a dissertation

While you may be experienced in revising and writing essays, your dissertation requires careful planning, extensive research, and time management to succeed

Your dissertation is a key part of your degree course and a testament to your ability to conduct research, analyse data, and write a clear argument. Dissertations can be challenging, but they are also rewarding experiences that allow you to explore a topic in-depth and make a significant contribution to your field of study.

To achieve your academic goals, it is important to act on feedback, use your supervision time to your advantage, and demonstrate a strong knowledge of your subject. Whether you're writing an undergraduate, Masters , or PhD dissertation, these seven steps can help you stay on track.

1. Choose your topic wisely

Selecting the right topic is the foundation of a successful dissertation. It is important to choose a topic that is:

  • Relevant to your academic discipline and interests. This will ensure that you are passionate about your topic and have the necessary background knowledge to conduct meaningful research.
  • Intriguing and thought-provoking . A well-chosen topic will inspire you to ask interesting questions and develop original insights.
  • Specific enough to allow for in-depth analysis, yet broad enough to provide enough research material. A topic that is too narrow may be difficult to research or produce meaningful findings, while a topic that is too broad may be difficult to cover in the allowed time and word count.

Consider your career goals and what topics are relevant to the field you hope to work in after graduation. It's also important to be open to change, as it's common for students to modify their dissertation topic as they explore the subject more.

Once you have identified a potential topic, seek guidance from your supervisor. They can help you to refine your choice, identify relevant sources, and develop a research plan.

2. Check what's required of you

Read your marking criteria carefully. It is also important to consult the module guidelines and follow the instructions on any additional parts to your main assignment, such as a project plan, literature review or a critical reflection.

Neal Bamford, associate lecturer at London Metropolitan University, reports that his marking process always begins by 'distilling criteria to what students need to provide and how many marks this is worth.'

'Several dissertations I mark don't include a project plan in their submission. This is worth 20% of the overall mark, so students lose out on a significant portion of their grade'.

Before you begin to plan, make sure you understand what's expected of you. Find out:

  • what academic writing looks like in your discipline
  • the word count
  • when and where you must submit your dissertation.

3. Conduct in-depth research

Research at this stage in the process is often referred to as a literature review. This is where you are expected to gather relevant sources, articles, and studies from libraries, and online academic resources to identify the existing research on your topic and to develop your own research questions.

'Form your own opinion and argue for it using research. A history of the topic is always helpful, as it shows that you understand how things got to this point in time,' says Neal.

Be sure to take careful notes on each source and organise them for easy reference. You need to critically evaluate and analyse the sources to ensure their credibility and relevance to your research. This will be helpful when citing your sources in the writing stage.

Don't forget to seek guidance from your advisor throughout the research process. They can provide you with valuable feedback, relevant sources, and support.

4. Develop a strong thesis statement

A well-defined thesis statement is a roadmap for your dissertation. It should concisely state your main argument or research question and provide a clear direction for your paper. Your thesis statement will guide your entire writing process, so take the time to fully understand it before you begin to write.

When writing a thesis statement:

  • Be specific and focused - avoid broad or vague statements.
  • Remember that your thesis needs to be arguable - it should be a statement that can be supported or proved false with evidence.
  • Make sure your thesis is realistic - you need to be able to research and write about it in the allotted time and space.

Once you have a draft of your thesis statement, share it with your supervisor and other trusted peers. They can provide you with feedback and help you to refine your statement.

If your research disproves your original statement, it can be a disappointing experience. However, it is important to remember that this is a normal part of the research process.

'Many of my students believe that if they don't find the answer they're expecting, then their work is worthless,' says Neal.

'This is not the case. You don't have to find the answer to produce valuable research. Documenting your process and conclusions, even if they are inconclusive, can help others to avoid repeating your work and may lead to new approaches.'

5. Proofread and edit

After working on your dissertation for such a long time, it can be tempting to end the process once you have finished writing, but proofreading is an essential step in ensuring that it is polished and error-free.

To help with the proofreading process:

  • Read your dissertation aloud . This can help you to catch errors that you might miss when reading silently.
  • Change your environment to see your work with fresh eyes.
  • Focus on one thing at a time such as grammar, spelling, or punctuation to avoid getting overwhelmed.

To edit your dissertation, begin by reviewing its overall structure and flow. Make sure that your arguments are well-organised and that your ideas are presented in a logical order.

Next, check your grammar, spelling, and punctuation carefully. You can use a grammar checker, but it is important to proofread your work yourself to identify stylistic or subject-specific errors.

'Make sure you understand the reference style your university prefers. Formatting and labelling of images, tables etc. is vitally important and will be marked,' says Neal.

You should also ensure that your dissertation is formatted using the correct font, font size, margins, and line spacing.

6. Seek feedback and finalise

Once you have made your final revisions, seek feedback from your advisor or board members.

To get the most out of your feedback, be specific about what you are looking for. For example, you might ask for feedback on the overall structure and flow of your dissertation, the strength of your arguments, or the clarity of your writing.

Be open to feedback, even if it's negative. Remember that your advisor is there to help you improve your work, so it's important to take the time to understand and implement the feedback you receive.

Once you have addressed all the feedback, you can prepare your final submission. It's important to follow the guidelines carefully before submitting. Be sure to hand in your dissertation on time, as late submissions may be penalised or even rejected.

Online hand in is the most common method of dissertation submission, and you will typically need to upload a PDF file to an online portal. Follow the instructions carefully - you may need to provide additional information, such as your student ID number or the title of your dissertation.

Some institutions still require dissertations to be submitted in hard copy. If this is the case, you will need to submit a bound copy of your dissertation to your department office. You may also need to pay the binding fee.

Be sure to check with your advisor or department office for specific instructions on how to submit your dissertation in hard copy. You may have to submit multiple copies of your dissertation, and you be required to to include a title page, abstract, and table of contents.

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UNI ScholarWorks

Home > Graduate College > Student Work > Dissertations

Dissertations Only

Dissertations Only

This is a collection of Dissertations Only written by graduate students at the University of Northern Iowa. To go to the collection of all Dissertations & Theses @ UNI collection, click here . To go to the collection of Specialist in Education works, click here .

Theses/Dissertations from 2023 2023

Anchored to a Community: Middle School Students’ Experience of Belonging in the Classroom: A Qualitative Phenomenological Study , Angela Thera Butler Open Access Dissertation

Stakeholder Impact on Individual Development Within a Transition Worksite Program: A Case Study , Kong Chen Open Access Dissertation

“I Can’t Do This Anymore, But I Have 1000 More Kids to Serve”: A Qualitative Study of Full-Time Residential Summer Camp Staff Burnout , Sarah Cohen Open Access Dissertation

No Need to Set the Alarm, I’ve Been Up Since 2:30am! Why My Teaching Job Keeps Me Up at Night: A Phenomenological Research Study on Empathic Strain of Iowa Educators , Lindsey Cornwell Open Access Dissertation

Preparing students for life after college: A mixed-methods analysis , Nichole Zumbach Harken Open Access Dissertation

Non-Traditional Learning in STEM: How Students Autonomy and the Impact of Teacher Delivery Develops Deeper Conceptual Understanding at the Middle School Level , Sarah Kelly Open Access Dissertation

Understanding Student Perceptions of Supplemental Instruction: Student Perceptions of Supplemental Instruction Implemented in Order to Overcome Perceived Skill Deficits , Andrew Miehe Open Access Dissertation

The critical role of happiness in education: Resilience, retention, and what happy teachers do differently , Jill Marie Hayes White Open Access Dissertation

OUT in Education: A Qualitative Study Examining the Intersectionality and the Lived OUT Experiences of PreK–12 LGBTQ+ Educators , Landon Wood Open Access Dissertation

The Flow Experience of Adults Age 50 and Older in Recreational Doubles Pickleball , Glynis Worthington Open Access Dissertation

Theses/Dissertations from 2022 2022

The impacts of adolescents' leisure activity types on psychological well-being, academic self-efficacy, self esteem, and stress , Dongyub Back Open Access Dissertation

Leading early childhood education in Iowa schools , Alaina T. Daters Open Access Dissertation

Teacher hiring and selection processes in Iowa schools , Michael C. Fisher Open Access Dissertation 2023 Award

Educational experiences of first generation Black African students with and without dis/abilities , Shehreen Iqtadar Open Access Dissertation

The writing identity of a Hip Hop lyricist and educator: An autoethnography , Lamont Muhammad Open Access Dissertation

Unstacking the matryoshka nesting doll: A self-study of playful language instruction for adult second language learners , Marine Pepanyan Open Access Dissertation

Students vs. suspects: A qualitative examination of stereotype threat and the impact on behavior of Black males , Ryan J. Williamson Open Access Dissertation

Theses/Dissertations from 2021 2021

Recommender systems in higher education: The effectiveness of meta-data analysis in predicting academic success , Michael J. Holmes Open Access Dissertation

Activity recognition based on thermopile imaging array sensors , Qingshan Liang Open Access Dissertation

Understanding the use of crisis communication in Clery Act compliance , Allyson L. Rafanello Open Access Dissertation

Exploring the experiences of one team of teachers: Well-being and navigating the demands of the education profession , Abby Weiland Open Access Dissertation 2023 Award

Model evidence links (MELs) and the impact of critical thinking on open ended responses , James Gregory Zabel Open Access Dissertation

Theses/Dissertations from 2020 2020

3D printing technology on spare parts business supply chain management: A case study in appliance industry , Salih Boysan Open Access Dissertation

Impact of positive psychology in PK-12 settings , Daniel Paul Butler Open Access Dissertation 2022 Award

Grading and equity: Inflation/deflation based on race, gender, socio-economic and disability statuses when homework and employability scores are included , Robert Thomas Griffin Open Access Dissertation 2020 Award

Prompted reflective thinking and implications for mathematics teacher efficacy in an elementary mathematics methods course , Brooke Krejci Open Access Dissertation

Examining African American male mentors relationships with African American boys: Benefits, barriers, recruitment, and retention , Quenton Angelo Richardson Open Access Dissertation

Theses/Dissertations from 2019 2019

A study of non-profit leaders' risk-taking propensity and managerial leadership styles , Younis Q. Al Hassan Open Access Dissertation

Seeing the forest for the trees: Elementary STEM environments that nurture creativity and innovation , Lisa Jo Chizek Open Access Dissertation

The relationship of walkability, social capital and the built environment in a Blue Zones® demonstration site community , Thomas Manford Flack Open Access Dissertation

Understanding ESL undergraduate students' beliefs about learner-centered instruction , Mahjabeen Hussain Open Access Dissertation 2020 Award

Cultural practices and the transmission of Ebola in Sierra Leone: Lessons learned from a medical anthropology perspective , Abubakarr Jalloh Open Access Dissertation

Writing workshop and creativity despite standardization: An exploration of elementary teachers' practices , Darcie Kay Kress Open Access Dissertation

Trainers' perspectives of teacher professional development , Harun Parpucu Open Access Dissertation

Investigation of the changes of preservice teachers' efficacy beliefs in teaching students with special needs , Pujaningsih Pujaningsih Open Access Dissertation

Preschool teachers' beliefs and actions concerning creativity in the classroom , Latisha Lynn Smith Open Access Dissertation

Influence of external and internal factors on financial advisors' guidance of clients in the area of charitable giving , Angela J. Gorsuch Widner Open Access Dissertation 2019 Award

Theses/Dissertations from 2018 2018

Voltage regulation of unbalanced distribution network with distributed generators through genetic algorithm , Islam Ali Open Access Dissertation

The effectiveness of a "patient discharge information" booklet in patient education programs in Saudi Arabia , Amani Mohammed Al Rebeh Open Access Dissertation

Exploring the academic, social, and cultural experiences of English language learners from Saudi Arabia at a Midwest university in the U.S. , Sukainah A. Al Subia Open Access Dissertation

Faculty to faculty incivility in Iowa nursing education programs , Candace Chihak Open Access Dissertation

Student engagement in higher education: Measuring the differences in community engagement , Stanley S. Ebede Open Access Dissertation 2019 Award

Pedagogical contraband: A phenomenological approach to understanding student engagement during simulations , Stephen Austin Henderson Open Access Dissertation

Adult- and peer-created motivational climates in sport and injury rehabilitation , Rachel Majewski Open Access Dissertation

Perceived causes and methods of examination malpractice in the Malawian education system: A case study of secondary schools in South East Education Division (SEED) , Fiddelis Blessings Makaula Open Access Dissertation

Exploring the experiences of adolescent students attending a virtual school , Allan G. Nelson Open Access Dissertation 2019 Award

Teachers' pedagogical practices, shift, and professional growth in online courses , Maryam Rod Szabo Open Access Dissertation

An exploration of teacher dispositions: Expectation of potential , Kathleen Louise Saleh Open Access Dissertation

Study of low dose nitrite stress on human mononuclear cells: An in-vitro case-control study on osteoarthritis , Junu Shrestha Open Access Dissertation 2019 Award

An investigation of early childhood outdoor play areas and social and emotional play , Brandy A. Smith Open Access Dissertation

Analysis of the relationship between religion and forgiveness , Desislava S. Stoycheva Open Access Dissertation

Theses/Dissertations from 2017 2017

Examining the supportive employment practices used by Project SEARCH: A descriptive study , Saeed A. Almalki Open Access Dissertation

Current practices of co-teaching in an elementary inclusive school: Moving toward effective co-teaching relationship , Mona Nassir Al Nassir Open Access Dissertation

An experimental study of non-metallic inclusions precipitation and its effect on impact toughness variations in low alloy steel subjected to complex deoxidation , Pavel Bizyukov Open Access Dissertation

Food insecurity and the elder male: exploring the gap from needing food to the utilization of assistance programs , Gale Carlson Open Access Dissertation

Living and teaching for social justice: teacher educators' stories and experiences , Courtney Kay Clausen Open Access Dissertation

Intergenerational conversation: Authentic learning through critical reflection of a community engagement learning experience , Amy Davison Open Access Dissertation

The power of team in IEP meetings , Caroline Elser Open Access Dissertation

Association of various concentrations of cat's claw herb (Uncaria tomentosa) on lymphocyte proliferation and nitric oxide expression: An in-vitro study of osteoarthritis , Noha Fadlalddin Open Access Dissertation

Improving learning center usage verification processes using Six Sigma , Latricia C. Hylton Open Access Dissertation

Smartphone based ubiquitous sensing platform leveraging audio jack for power and communication , Ranjana Joshi Open Access Dissertation

Using blended learning to improve undergraduate introduction to literature courses: A mixed methods approach , Julie Leigh Klein Open Access Dissertation

The impact of content knowledge, specialized content knowledge, peer analysis and self-analysis on pre-service physical education teachers' error detection abilities , Debra S. Sazama Open Access Dissertation

A case study analyzing the traits, programs, actions, and beliefs necessary to overcome the correlative relationship between high free and reduced lunch rates and low standardized test scores , John Speer Open Access Dissertation

Outcomes, perceptions, and experiences in one CPED-aligned educational doctorate (EdD) program , Jolene Kay Farley Teske Open Access Dissertation

Local health departments in Iowa: Are they keeping up with the shift from communicable to chronic disease? , Jeremy M. Whitaker Open Access Dissertation

Theses/Dissertations from 2016 2016

Using Contents and Containers to investigate problem solving strategies among toddlers , Zaid Alkouri Open Access Dissertation

Using one-to-one computing for differentiated instruction in Iowa: An investigation of the impact of teachers' perceptions of teaching and learning , Jodi A. Bermel Open Access Dissertation

Examining aided input intervention in a classroom setting for children labeled with significant disabilities , Jennifer L. Flores Open Access Dissertation

A follow-up of patient reported outcomes in chronic plantar heel pain participants treated with Graston Technique: A mixed methods approach , Troy Richard Garrett Open Access Dissertation

A qualitative study of the perceptions of public school teachers and administrators on the teachers' association and the collective bargaining process in an Iowa urban school setting , Eric J. Gjerde Open Access Dissertation

An examination of the perceptions of the IEP process as a team plans for the potential reintegration of a student from an alternative setting to the resident district , Sarah J. Knudsen Open Access Dissertation

Preservice and practicing teacher science inquiry projects: An analysis of their understanding of the inquiry process , Benjamin D. Olsen Open Access Dissertation

Corn stover biochar in gypsum board: Empirical analysis of thermal conductivity and flexural strength , Albena Yordanova Open Access Dissertation

"Joy for what it is": Narratives of two mothers on raising their children with disabilities , Zeina H. Yousof Open Access Dissertation

Theses/Dissertations from 2015 2015

Implementation of the environmental issues instruction model by elementary teachers , Barbara Ann Ehlers Open Access Dissertation

Do teacher judgment accuracy and teacher feedback predict student achievement in elementary and middle-school science? , Mason Albert Kuhn Open Access Dissertation 2017 Award

Perceived effects of family status changes on male collegiate outdoor recreation coordinators , Andrew K. Martin Open Access Dissertation

The ongoing faculty development system: A case study exploring content methods teacher education faculty technological, pedagogical, content knowledge development , Daniel James Mourlam Open Access Dissertation

Collegiate athletes' perceptions of social support and athletic trainer-coach conflict , Nathan Newman Open Access Dissertation

Pedagogical reasoning of pre-service teachers: Juggling priorities and managing resources , Jennifer Lynn Rasmussen Open Access Dissertation

The early implementation of a teacher leadership and compensation system in a select Iowa public school as codified by House File 215 , Anthony Dale Voss Open Access Dissertation

Theses/Dissertations from 2014 2014

Development of a multi-mode self-adaptive algorithm to create an efficient wireless network on a university campus , Melanie L. Abbas Open Access Dissertation

A clustering based matrix for selecting optimal tools and techniques in quality management , Hassan A. Alsultan Open Access Dissertation

Examining the effectiveness of using an iPad-based video modeling plus video prompting package to teach conversation skills to children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) , Mohammed M. Alzayer Open Access Dissertation

They, those, and other pronouns used to describe them: A qualitative study of the lived experiences of the African American girls in the Girls to Women group , Amber Nicole Boyd Open Access Dissertation

Outcomes of global service-learning: A content analysis of student reflection essays in Camp Adventure child and youth services , Kasee Fuller Open Access Dissertation

Doorways and walls: Peer coaching as a means to change instructional practice , Chad Garber Open Access Dissertation

Hero to zero: Stress perceptions of the public school administrator and his spouse , Steven L. Gray Open Access Dissertation

Secondary teachers as early childhood principals: A qualitative case study , Brian Dale Kingrey Open Access Dissertation

Superintendent leadership: Comparing superintendent and school board president perceptions of essential leadership characteristics and capabilities of the superintendent in today's complex and ever-changing educational environment according to MCREL's superintendent responsibilities and the Iowa standards for school leaders , Daniel J. Peterson Open Access Dissertation

Professional Educators of Iowa member perspectives about Iowa State Education Association and National Education Association membership and political activities , Melissa Kay Reade Open Access Dissertation

Graphic communications industry trends and their impact on the required competencies of personnel , Sara B. Smith Open Access Dissertation

The impact of digital organization on retention in college algebra , Mary Benac Staniger Open Access Dissertation

A study of college student attitudes and behaviors related to recycling , Mark Allen Wilcox Open Access Dissertation

Theses/Dissertations from 2013 2013

The effects of one-to-one computing for students with disabilities in an inclusive language arts class , Billie Jo Cowley Open Access Dissertation

Analysis of wind power generation with application of wind tunnel attachment , Ulan Dakeev Open Access Dissertation

Perceptions of dimensions of service quality and recreational benefits in collegiate recreational sports programs , Christopher Berne Denison Open Access Dissertation

Aquatic strategies and techniques and their benefit on children with autism , James G. Hall Open Access Dissertation

Leading through change: A study of the role of central office leadership in the process of secondary change , Dirk A. Halupnik Open Access Dissertation

Nurturing resiliency among adolescents with emotional and behavioral disturbances (EBD) in a special education setting , Rimaz Herz Open Access Dissertation

An analysis of the effect of a 21st-century-designed middle school on student achievement , Gary David Schwartz Open Access Dissertation

Evaluating the effects of increasing mathematics graduation requirements: A survey of the effects of state policy change in Illinois , Corey Tafoya Open Access Dissertation

Teachers' perceptions of professional development for the use of interactive white boards in Turkey , Erkan Taskin Open Access Dissertation

Theses/Dissertations from 2012 2012

Incorporating the Delphi Technique to investigate renewable energy technology transfer in Saudi Arabia , Nasir K. Al-Otaibi Open Access Dissertation

Development of a modular dual engine hybrid electric vehicle simulation model , Kenan Baltaci Open Access Dissertation 2005 Award

Destination attractiveness of the Silos and Smokestacks National Heritage Area , Puyong Choi Open Access Dissertation 2007 Award

Intensive mentoring : stimulators of and barriers to coaching, spiritual guiding and discipling relationships , David Alan De Jong Open Access Dissertation

A qualitative study of new secondary teacher attrition in an Iowa urban school setting , James E. Dostal Open Access Dissertation

Case study on the journey of an elementary school labeled as a Persistently Low-Achieving School , Annette Duncan Open Access Dissertation 2006 Award

Comparing middle school students' learning and attitudes in face-to-face and online mathematics lessons , Clayton M. Edwards Open Access Dissertation 2014 Award

Limited assessment of a selected particulate matter sensor technology in emission measurement applications on diesel vehicles , Svetlana Korotkova Espinosa Open Access Dissertation

Instructional coaching : a look at teaching practices and impact on student achievement , Sharon Sue Ingebrand Open Access Dissertation

Assistive technology for students with disabilities: Resources and challenges encountered by teachers , Dawn LaRae Jacobsen Open Access Dissertation

Being in the world : an existential inquiry of knowing one's self through a personal project : in the context of dissertation survival , Tomoe Kitajima Open Access Dissertation

Exploring new roles of classroom teachers in Iowa communities experiencing rapid ethnic diversification , Cindy R. Lewis Open Access Dissertation 2010 Award

The design and evaluation of Wireless Sensor Networks for applications in industrial locations , Hameed Madwar Open Access Dissertation 2002 Award

Learning transfer of geospatial technologies in secondary science and mathematics core areas , Curtis P. Nielsen Open Access Dissertation

Career Cruising impact on the self efficacy of deciding majors , Anthony William Smothers Open Access Dissertation

Development of an ankle function model , Kelli R. Snyder Open Access Dissertation 2001 Award

Using metarules to integrate knowledge in knowledge based systems. An application in the woodworking industry , Alvaro Villavicencio Open Access Dissertation 2009 Award

Student-centered literacy instruction: An examination of an elementary teacher's experience , Carolyn Marie Wiezorek Open Access Dissertation

A study of cultural orientation and attitudes and meaning toward play: A cross cultural investigation among emerging adulthood in the People Republic of China, Hong Kong, and United States , Winnie Wing-Sze Wong Open Access Dissertation 2011 Award

Theses/Dissertations from 2011 2011

Disrupting the discussion : the story of disruptive students in the online classroom , Belle Doyle Cowden Open Access Dissertation

Cylinders and spheres : toddlers engage in problem solving , Rosemary Geiken Open Access Dissertation 2012 Award

Shared superintendency in Iowa: An investigation of organizational perceptions of leaders in districts that employ a shared superintendent , Roark Ronald Horn Open Access Dissertation

The value of leisure in coping with natural disaster: A case study in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina , Germaine Jackson Open Access Dissertation

Digging deeper: Enriching transition to adult life outcome research through life-histories , Jennifer Johnson Open Access Dissertation

A comparison of bullying in public and private schools in a small Midwestern community , Daniel J. Ryan Open Access Dissertation 2008 Award

Resident assistant use of student development theory and its relation to supervisor knowledge and use , David Michael Schmid Open Access Dissertation 2009 Award

Maggie and her students: Talking and reasoning in a reform-based mathematics classroom , Debra Louise Semm Rich Open Access Dissertation 2013 Award

A comparison of face-to-face and online instructional delivery methods in large-group settings in a university undergraduate wellness course , Lea Ann Shaddox Open Access Dissertation 2010 Award

Our voices: A descriptive account of African American parental involvement in an urban elementary school , Charletta D. Sudduth Open Access Dissertation

Wash water in the mix: Effects on the compressive strength of concrete , Brian Wasserman Open Access Dissertation

Master students' perception of informal faculty mentoring : an explorative investigation , Nangai Yang Open Access Dissertation

Theses/Dissertations from 2010 2010

First-year college student beliefs about writing embedded in online discourse: An analysis and its implications for literacy learning , Gina Burkart Open Access Dissertation

A study of the adjunct faculty experiences in the creation of a teacher work sample , Anna L. Conway Open Access Dissertation

The student achievement decline at sixth grade and the practices impacting achievement , Mary Cooksley Open Access Dissertation

A case study of the perceptions of stakeholders from a school district in Iowa on the impact of No Child Left Behind on the comprehensive high school , Brian Coppess Open Access Dissertation

A comparative study of the organizational culture of CAPRA accredited and non-accredited municipal park and recreation agencies , John E. Farland Open Access Dissertation

A glance backwards: An analysis of youth resiliency through autoethnographical and life history lenses , Toney Bissett Ford Open Access Dissertation

Baby boomer and Genx elementary principals : differing perspectives on schooling , Lisa M. Fry Open Access Dissertation

Understanding environmental health disparities of Roma populations in Romania , Jennifer L. Hall Open Access Dissertation

Teachers' perspectives on changes in general and special education: Examining the pieces of the puzzle , Janine Kane Open Access Dissertation

The impact of mathematics professional development on elementary teachers' mathematics content knowledge for teaching and implementation of innovative pedagogical practices , Vicki Oleson Open Access Dissertation

Motivation factors as indicators of academic achievement: A comparative study of student-athletes and non-athletes academic and social motivation , Jonell Pedescleaux Open Access Dissertation

Is the coach ready for the game? A self-study of literacy coaching in a secondary school , Barbara J. Perry Open Access Dissertation

Struggling learners of mathematics: An investigation of their learning through reform-based instruction , Jennifer Pothast Open Access Dissertation

Leisure and aging: A content analysis of leisure textbooks and leisure academic journal articles , Leila Rod-Welch Open Access Dissertation

Risk-taking propensity and its relationship to achievement motivation among selected municipal parks and recreation directors in the state of Iowa , Jiangong (Brad) Tan Open Access Dissertation

Theses/Dissertations from 2009 2009

The impact of an international healthcare mission experience on healthcare professional students at the University of Northern Iowa , Evelyn Adom-Boateng Open Access Dissertation

The effect of learning styles and attitude on preservice elementary teachers' conceptual understanding of chemistry and the nature of matter in a simulation-based learning environment , Mo H. Al-Jaroudi Open Access Dissertation

The effectiveness of colored overlays on reading achievement and attitudes toward reading for students with Scotopic Sensitive Syndrome , Hanan Ali Bagabas Open Access Dissertation

An analysis of the effect of supply chain and manufacturing parameters on inventory cost reduction for push type manufacturing systems , Mehmet Emre Bahadir Open Access Dissertation

How do beginning administrators navigate through their first year of the middle school principalship? , James D. Cryer Open Access Dissertation

The effect of self-efficacy and psychosocial development on the factors that influence major changing behavior , Karen Cunningham Open Access Dissertation

Technology integration: A study on the impact of increased technology access , Gina Kuker Open Access Dissertation

An exploratory case study of students' perceptions of online graduate education , Hou Chun Kuong Open Access Dissertation

The effect of weekly teacher collaboration on instructional practices in the classroom , Laurene A. Lanich Open Access Dissertation

The thought processes of administrators as they review and make evaluative judgment of a second-year teacher portfolio: A qualitative study , Terri Anne Lasswell Open Access Dissertation

Taiwan's language curriculum and policy: A rhetorical analysis of the DPP's claims-making , Yi-Hsuan Lee Open Access Dissertation

The third space: The use of self-study to examine the culture of a science classroom , Dashia M. Magee Open Access Dissertation

Administrative mentoring: An investigation of practicing principals' perceptions of the role mentors played in their professional development and job satisfaction , Lisa M. Remy Open Access Dissertation

Secondary preservice teachers' understanding of Euclidean geometry , Karen Sabey Open Access Dissertation

Characteristics of highly effective teachers: A perspective from students with disabilities , David J. Smith Open Access Dissertation

Detecting the process' 1.5 sigma shift: A quantitative study , James R. Stevenson Open Access Dissertation

Teacher learning in a Tibetan school in exile: A community of practice perspective , Pema Yangchen Open Access Dissertation 2011 Award

Theses/Dissertations from 2008 2008

“She called me a Mexican!”: a study of ethnic identity , Simona Florentina Boroianu Open Access Dissertation

Does content knowledge matter in scoring teacher work samples?: A study of rater differences , Yana A. Cornish Open Access Dissertation

Women chief information officers in higher education: Voices from the field , Marilyn J. Ziesman Drury Open Access Dissertation

Thriving, coping, surviving, hoping: Negotiating the first year of teaching , Debrah Jean Fordice Open Access Dissertation

Deliberative democratic practices in tourism planning: Towards a model of participatory community tourism planning , Oksana Grybovych Open Access Dissertation

The reflexivity of pain and privilege: An autoethnography of (Mestizo) identity and other Mestizo voices , Ellis Hurd Open Access Dissertation

Reframed teacher leadership: A narrative inquiry , Cynthia L. Kenyon Open Access Dissertation

A case study of a rural Iowa school preparing to meet new state guidelines for school libraries [dissertation] , Karla Steege Krueger Open Access Dissertation

Disability and difference: Adolescents' interpretations based on television viewing , Paula Anne Schmidt Open Access Dissertation

A journey of advising: Experiences of doctoral international students and faculty advisors in the College of Education at a Midwestern university , Madalina Florentina Tincu Open Access Dissertation

Now have we gotten it right?: Exploring the special education referral process , Janine Sue Wahl Open Access Dissertation

Perspectives of change: Municipal park and recreation directors perceptions of the importance of specified organizational goals 1983–2008 , Daniel Archie Wheeler Open Access Dissertation

Low power energy harvesting and storage techniques from ambient human powered energy sources , Faruk Yildiz Open Access Dissertation 2009 Award

Theses/Dissertations from 2007 2007

Guess who's not coming to dinner: A review of the policies and practices in three urban Iowa school districts to recruit teachers from underrepresented backgrounds , Willie B. Barney Open Access Dissertation

Approaches to studying and study tactics of baccalaureate nursing students , Lisa D. Brodersen Open Access Dissertation

Estimating the economic impact of tourism: A comparative analysis of Albania, Croatia, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Greece , Arjana Çela Open Access Dissertation

What happens when veteran and beginner teachers' life histories intersect with high-stakes testing and what does it mean for learners and teaching practice: The making of a culture of fear , Shelly L. Counsell Open Access Dissertation

Pieces to the puzzle , Ann L. Cracco Open Access Dissertation

Identifying behavioral characteristics of high school principals providing leadership in reforming Iowa high schools , Nadene E. Davidson Open Access Dissertation

How the clinical settings of radiography programs affect learning perceptions , Peggy Fortsch Open Access Dissertation

The role of spirituality in women's leadership at community colleges , Carol L. Hedberg Open Access Dissertation

An analysis of coaching efficacy in volunteer soccer coaches , Christopher Lee Kowalski Open Access Dissertation

Considerations for delivery of online professional development courses for childcare professionals , Heather Marie Bauer Olsen Open Access Dissertation

A study of elementary instructors' teaching of forearm passing as a part of volleyball instruction , Tsui-Feng Tiffany Yeh Open Access Dissertation

Theses/Dissertations from 2006 2006

The relationship of the co-curriculum with student faith development: Challenge and support at a college of the church , Eric Bradley Braun Open Access Dissertation

IEP meetings: What are the strategies that make an IEP meeting successful? , Maria T. Cashman Open Access Dissertation

Students at a Chinese radio and television university: Reasons for participation, and perceptions of their status as students and the quality of their learning , Huiping Ding Open Access Dissertation

The relationship of undergraduate cognitive development and academic advising preference at two small, private, liberal arts colleges , Vicki Van Vark Edelnant Open Access Dissertation

Alternative high schools: what types of programs lead to the greatest level of effectiveness? , Timothy W. Gilson Open Access Dissertation

IEP team decision-making process in the reintegration of special education students: A qualitative analysis of exiting decisions , Kenneth G. Hayes Open Access Dissertation

United States American students' experience with and orientation toward international diversity in a Midwestern comprehensive university setting , Olga V. Kostareva Open Access Dissertation

Exploring the relationship between mathematics content knowledge and pedagogical content knowledge among pre-service teachers , Hsueh-I Martin Lo Open Access Dissertation

Family, child, teacher perceptions of what African American adult family members think and do to assist their elementary school-aged children to become better readers , Shadrack Gabriel Msengi Open Access Dissertation

Exploring intersectionality in education: The intersection of gender, race, disability, and class , Amy J. Petersen Open Access Dissertation 2008 Award

There are no winners here: Teacher thinking and student underachievement in the 6th grade , Sue L. Pettit Open Access Dissertation

Addressing diversity: A case study of teacher educators' views and instructional practices at a Midwestern university , Alina Slapac Open Access Dissertation

Job satisfaction of Iowa public school principals , Boris Sodoma Open Access Dissertation

Speech recognition: The interpretation of training and using speech recognition software from the perspectives of postsecondary students with learning challenges , Delann Soenksen Open Access Dissertation

Theses/Dissertations from 2005 2005

The mind is the tabernacle of the consciousness soul: A journey visiting the roles of consciousness, communication, education, and technology in human and curriculum development by integrating Dewey, Gebser, and Steiner: Past, present, future , Daniel Joseph Kazim Bardy Open Access Dissertation

Inter-institutional collaboration: A case study of factors contributing to the viability of the Iowa Community College Online Consortium , Kent Johnson Open Access Dissertation

A qualitative investigation of student interactions in a learning activity center: Defining success, at-risk factors, and resiliency for developmental programs in community colleges , John L. Kalkwarf Open Access Dissertation

Teacher perceptions of cross-cultural adaptability and instructional practices in international locations , Debra S. Lee Open Access Dissertation

Administrative strategies that foster self-reflective practice in Iowa educators as perceived by middle level principals and teachers , Jane Brandt Lindaman Open Access Dissertation

Opportunity and access for children with disabilities in the inclusive preschool classroom , Jodi Meyer-Mork Open Access Dissertation 2007 Award

Modeling and simulation to investigate effects of static mixer, carrier gas, temperature and pressure on the mixing ratio of carbon nanotubes growth reactors , David Addie Noye Open Access Dissertation

The efficacy of writing course placement at an Iowa community college , Kristine D. Owens Open Access Dissertation

Come out, stay out, stand out: Eight stories of gay and lesbian high school students , Nicholas J. Pace Open Access Dissertation

The impact of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) legislation on school leadership of two school buildings designated in need of improvement: An agency theory perspective , Susan Pecinovsky Open Access Dissertation 2006 Award

Perceived importance of national occupational CADD skill standards among faculty of NAIT accredited institutions , Ronald Shava Open Access Dissertation

Namibia principals' knowledge and attitudes towards HIV/AIDS and their compliance with the ministry's national policy , Shamani-Jeffrey Shikwambi Open Access Dissertation

Inventory simulation and optimization using system dynamics, structural modeling equations and genetic algorithms in the drivetrain division of an automotive manufacturer , Marco Sisfontes-Monge Open Access Dissertation

An exploration of academic advising care groups at an Iowa private college , Kendra Williams-Perez Open Access Dissertation

Theses/Dissertations from 2004 2004

Educational change process: A case study of a rural school district's reading reform , Barbara M. Havel Bohach Open Access Dissertation

A case study of senior students' perceptions of factors that shape aspirations in one low-income rural Iowa high school , Louise Elizabeth Esveld Open Access Dissertation

Students' views of classroom management strategies in assertive discipline and constructivist classroom settings , Joan Carolyn Gerbo Open Access Dissertation

Application of case study methodology in the context of undergraduate critical care nursing education , James A. Hauschildt Open Access Dissertation

The impact of the Iowa Children's Water Festival on the children's attitudes and behaviors toward the environment , Sang-Min Kim Open Access Dissertation

Building a comprehensive energy model for off-highway vehicles with emphasis on vehicle thermal control systems , Ayhan Zora Open Access Dissertation

Theses/Dissertations from 2003 2003

Preparation for the role of baccalaureate nurse educator: Implications for development of nurse educator curriculum , Vickie R. Barth Open Access Dissertation

Student perceptions of ethics and professionalism in computer science: Does age, gender, or experience matter? , James Stuart Bohy Open Access Dissertation

Development and implementation of the University of Northern Iowa's “Students First” capital campaign: A case study , Cornelius Anthony Castain Open Access Dissertation

An investigation of the concept of balance in children ages 6–9: Logic and protologic identifiable in making mobiles , Seon Chun Open Access Dissertation

The design and evaluation of a PLC-based model predictive controller for application in industrial food processes , Bryan T. Griffen Open Access Dissertation

Factors associated with the decision not to become 7–12 principals by those holding the license , Gail Moorman Behrens Open Access Dissertation

Predicting Ghanaian pre-service teachers' intention to teach high-risk sexual behavior prevention from teaching efficacy and prevention approach , Joseph Kwesi Ogah Open Access Dissertation 2005 Award

Social experiences of African-American female students on a predominantly white campus , Guy Alexander Sims Open Access Dissertation

Design and evaluation of a PDF print estimating system , Mengtsung Tai Open Access Dissertation

Internationalizing higher education: A case study of a Midwest comprehensive university , Irene Tan Ai Lian Open Access Dissertation

Teachers' perceptions of the application of instructional design elements in the distance teaching process , Lihua Zheng Open Access Dissertation

Theses/Dissertations from 2002 2002

Integrating New Technologies Into the Methods of Education (INTIME): Its impact on the professional practice of participating teacher educators , Marius Boboc Open Access Dissertation

A qualitative inquiry into why and how special educators leave the field , Jane E. Caraway Open Access Dissertation 2003 Award

A simulation program for electronics skill knowledge instruction at a selected community college in Taiwan , Hung-Jen Chen Open Access Dissertation

Student perceptions of satisfaction with school climate in relationship to their involvement in an extracurricular activity program for the promotion of intercultural harmony , Dana Charles Deines Open Access Dissertation

Perceptions of high school principals on instructional leadership and implications for practice and professional development , Dianna K. Engelbrecht Open Access Dissertation

The educational thought and practices of Padre Luís Alberto Hurtado Cruchaga S. J. , Justo Gallardo Open Access Dissertation

An investigation of the types of support identified as necessary by secondary classroom teachers in Iowa school districts for the inclusion of students identified as behaviorally disabled , Rick Alan Ironside Open Access Dissertation

A study of the multiple perspective approach to leadership used by elementary and secondary public school principals in urban Iowa , Tracy E. Johns Open Access Dissertation

Job satisfaction among nurse educators of private colleges and universities , Jacqueline Kay Kuennen Open Access Dissertation

A national survey of elementary principals' response to the events of September 11, 2001 , Diane Mary McCarty Open Access Dissertation

The effects of an interactive computerized multimedia tutorial on knowledge gain in modular fixturing design concepts , Veekit O'Charoen Open Access Dissertation

The effects of the Comprehensive School Improvement Process on gifted and talented programming in Iowa as perceived by middle level principals and teachers , Jean Suchsland Schneider Open Access Dissertation

Web-based distance instructional partnership for maritime technology of Pacific Rim countries , Chun-mei Shieh Open Access Dissertation

In their footsteps: Women faculty of Wartburg College 1914–1945 , Susan Kosche Vallem Open Access Dissertation

Parental perceptions on maintaining heritage languages of CLD students , Ruth Lingxin Yan Open Access Dissertation

Theses/Dissertations from 2001 2001

An analysis of a radio frequency sensor as a means to remotely sense selected surface topographies in an agriculture environment , Barry Michael Alexia Open Access Dissertation

Use and effectiveness of decision support systems (DSS): Study of the Saudi private sector , Ibrahim A. Alhunaishel Open Access Dissertation

Attitudes and perceptions regarding Internet-based electronic data interchange in a public organization in Saudi Arabia , Abdulrahman S. Al-zumaia Open Access Dissertation

A study of important content for undergraduate graphic communications programs , Tsung-Yu Hao Open Access Dissertation

An investigation to measure the performance of commercial printing firms for conducting business-to-customer activities on the Web , Devang Pranlal Mehta Open Access Dissertation

Authentic assessment in physical education: Prevalence of use and perceived impact on students' self-concept, motivation, and skill achievement , Joseph Kwame Mintah Open Access Dissertation

An investigation of eddy current analysis for laser surface treatment of steel , Ronald Edward O'Meara Open Access Dissertation

An investigation of cooperative consciousness-raising as an innovative teaching practice, and of reactions to its introduction into a high school , Sahoby Solo Raharinirina Open Access Dissertation 2002 Award

A study of attitudes and beliefs of teachers and site council members toward parental involvement within the framework of four models of home-school relations , Beverly Ann Smith Open Access Dissertation

Theses/Dissertations from 2000 2000

A comparison of Web-based and conventional-based training methods in a leading Midwestern company , Hani Aljadaani Open Access Dissertation

The factors that affect the implementation of enterprise resource planning (ERP) in the international Arab Gulf States and United States companies with special emphasis on SAP software , Saud Al-Sehali Open Access Dissertation

Examining the impact of Internet electronic commerce on commercial organizations in Saudi Arabia , Fahad Abdullah Alyabis Open Access Dissertation

The effects of a rational emotive behavior therapy intervention on irrational beliefs and burnout among middle school teachers in the state of Iowa , Shirley Anderson Open Access Dissertation

An analysis of current instructional practices at selected universities utilizing interactive television technology , Richard Shengmao Chang Open Access Dissertation

A model for production scheduling and sequencing using constraints management and genetic algorithm , Ahmad Nadeem Choudhry Open Access Dissertation

The effect of heat on fingertip sensitivity of meat processing workers , Brian James Finder Open Access Dissertation

A leadership model and supervisory skills perceived by production employees, supervisors, and managers as important to the improvement of employee performance in manufacturing , Douglas R. Hotek Open Access Dissertation

Principal succession: Realities encountered by successor principals during the succession process , Kenneth Lester Rigdon Open Access Dissertation

An analysis of manufacturing facility characteristics and four-year manufacturing engineering technology competencies for ABET accredited programs in North Carolina , Richard Eugene Temple Open Access Dissertation

Hong Kong higher education in transition: The academic community's perception at the time of 1997 retrocession , Jiyu Yang Open Access Dissertation

Theses/Dissertations from 1999 1999

Perceptions of Iowa high school principals on the relationship of leadership, school size, and socioeconomic level to school culture , Kevin Wayne Fiene Open Access Dissertation 2001 Award

Simulation of Optimal Drive Systems Consisting of Gear-Cam Mechanisms With Brushless DC Servomotors , Norbert Fritz Open Access Dissertation 2000 Award

A study of factors affecting the implementation of ISO 9000 in Taiwan's construction industry , Chuan-Chen Hung Open Access Dissertation

Dimensions of roles, responsibilities, training background and needs, policies, and procedures for paraeducators dealing with students with special needs , Beverly Anne Plagge Open Access Dissertation

A study of the motives, barriers, and enablers affecting participation in adult distance education classes in an Iowa community college , Roger Joseph Rezabek Open Access Dissertation

The impact of IDEA 1997 on teachers' beliefs and collaborative practices as participants on IEP teams at one middle school , Mary Ann Walsh Schroeder Open Access Dissertation

Social class depiction in selected award-winning children's narrative fiction , Edward L. Starkenburg Open Access Dissertation

Theses/Dissertations from 1998 1998

Factors affecting the self-perceived continuing education needs of certified athletic trainers , Marchell Cupett Austin Open Access Dissertation

Oil consumption measurements of a production engine using the sulfur-trace method , Verlyn Royal Benson Open Access Dissertation

Analysis of violence prevention perceptions among teachers and principals in Iowa public secondary schools , Elizabeth Fischer-Jurgensen Open Access Dissertation

Student self-assessment, portfolios, and the context of the classroom , Colleen Goodenbour Open Access Dissertation

Perceptions of writing in a community college composition course , Rebecca Ann Kamm Open Access Dissertation

A case study of one Iowa public school superintendent's evaluation process , Gail Vanous Moon Open Access Dissertation

An evaluation of the AWS Entry Level Welder Training Program , John R. Rice Open Access Dissertation

Theses/Dissertations from 1997 1997

Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder: Perspectives of participants involved in the identification and treatment process , Judy Davison Open Access Dissertation

An investigation and analysis of environmental stress factors experienced by K-12 music teachers , Debra G. Gordon Open Access Dissertation

Constructing family health histories: Connecting theory and practice in the health education classroom , Ragene Dalton Gwin Open Access Dissertation

A design of a marine radar mast system for minimum vibration , Suey-Yueh Hu Open Access Dissertation

The student views the teacher: Investigating student perception in assessment of high school teachers , Richard N. Johns Open Access Dissertation

Iowa teachers' perceptions about involvement in decision-making , Michael S. Jurgensen Open Access Dissertation

A middle school student-centered conflict management program: Impact on student managers' self-esteem, communication skills, and approaches to conflict resolution , Thomas J. Keller Open Access Dissertation

Student perceptions of general education at a comprehensive university and implications , Kenneth E. Nuss Open Access Dissertation

An exploratory study: Reading and spatial visualization ability as predictors of success for technical drawing , Eldon Bruce Swanson Open Access Dissertation

The use of solid waste materials as alternative compositions in the development of wood/cement blocks , Haig Mamas Vahradian Open Access Dissertation

Theses/Dissertations from 1996 1996

Maintenance conditions and occupant behavior in government provided housing in Lagos, Nigeria , Paul Abayomi Bajere Open Access Dissertation

An investigation of the energy and transportation component for junior high school technology education programs in Taiwan , Chang-Cheng Chen Open Access Dissertation

Early childhood teachers' beliefs and practices related to promoting children's conflict resolution in constructivist classrooms: A study of two teachers , Yuko Hashimoto Open Access Dissertation 1997 Award

Computer mediated communication: Elements impacting sustained usage by Iowa elementary and middle school teachers , Philip M. Hibbard Open Access Dissertation

A sociometric analysis of the informal networking patterns of Iowa's public school superintendents , Thomas M. Hoover Open Access Dissertation

An investigation on the processing and characterization of (thallium(0.5-x) lead(0.5-x) europium(2x)) strontium(2-y) barium(y) calcium(2) copper(3) oxygen(z) high-temperature superconductor to determine the optimum barium concentration and study the effects of doping europium in thallium and lead sites , Zifan Ju Open Access Dissertation

Expertise in clinical nursing educators: An exploratory study , Nancy Ann Kramer Open Access Dissertation

Effect of light source on the sorting performance of a vision-based robot system , Johnny T. Li Open Access Dissertation

An investigation of diameter measurement repeatability using a coordinate measuring machine and a multi-baseline repeatability assessment methodology , Bruce Marsh Open Access Dissertation

Direct and television-mediated observation of verbal interaction in the classroom , Terri McDonald Open Access Dissertation

The effects of telephone technology on Saudi Arabian society , Khalid I. Otibi Open Access Dissertation

Passages: A case study of an Iowa female secondary principal , Victoria L. Robinson Open Access Dissertation

The women superintendents of Iowa: A 1990's analysis , Joen M. Rottler Open Access Dissertation

A comparison of measurement reliability between a sonic digitizer and a tape measure on a complex three-dimensional object , Diane Darlene (Wheeler) Schou Open Access Dissertation

An investigation on using solid waste materials as aggregate substitute in cementitious concrete composites , Ibrahim Hussein Shehata Open Access Dissertation

Theses/Dissertations from 1995 1995

The impact of follow-up discussion on student learning from Channel One , Gary Arthur Borlaug Open Access Dissertation

A comparative study of the perceived educational needs of Iowa Merged Area VII manufacturers and Iowa technical educators , David D. Bradney Open Access Dissertation

Effect of agricultural fiber reinforcement on the mechanical properties of a recycled polyethylene plastic composite material , Michael E. Courbat Open Access Dissertation

Process of educational innovation: A micropolitical study of the implementation of a team teaching model , Bruce Steven Frana Open Access Dissertation 1996 Award

The identification and analysis of factors perceived as important to the success of interactive distance education , Terry Dean Goro Open Access Dissertation

Investigation of the relationship between fuel injection nozzle roto flow and hydra flow and the engine torque of a diesel engine , Guang Jin Open Access Dissertation

Science in a constructivist classroom: Progress in a five-year-old child's reasoning about water dynamics , Hyang-Lim Kwak Open Access Dissertation

Perceived importance of ISO 9000 factors as indicators of quality in industrial technology related programs at four-year state regional universities , Floyd L. Olson Open Access Dissertation

An analysis of the use of programmable controllers to control an in situ leach mine wellfield , Jimmy W. Stokey Open Access Dissertation

Participative leadership: A study of faculty and administrators in a Lutheran liberal arts college , Tekeste Teclu Open Access Dissertation

Present status and perceived importance of computer skills in a Taiwanese service industry , En-Ming Tseng Open Access Dissertation

An investigation of changing concerns toward instructional computer use during student teaching , Roderick E. Winters Open Access Dissertation

Theses/Dissertations from 1994 1994

The corrosive effects of salt spray on electrolytic zinc plated mechanical fasteners: The case of clear chromate and yellow dichromate coatings on medium carbon plated bolts , Souleymane Boukari Open Access Dissertation

The characteristics of motion and time study in Taiwan's electronics industry and their relationship to business size , Betty Chang Open Access Dissertation

Conceptual representation of the Newtonian model of motion in university physics students , Yannis Hadzigeorgiou Open Access Dissertation

AIDS education: The effect of three instructional methods on retention of changes in knowledge, attitudes, and intention to act , Denise Kerns Schares Open Access Dissertation

Global education attitudes and practices in Iowa high schools , Keith L. Stamp Open Access Dissertation

An examination of the relationships among learning style, attitudes, and outcomes of computer-assisted instruction , Daniel Glen Wilson Open Access Dissertation

Manufacturing curriculum issues of two-year mechanical engineering technology program in Taiwan, R.O.C. , Chuan-Chun Wu Open Access Dissertation

Theses/Dissertations from 1993 1993

The relationship between middle school students' knowledge of the concept of variable and the use of concrete manipulatives , Maureen E. Busta Open Access Dissertation

The relationship of teachers' job satisfaction and their perceptions of principals' leadership styles in private vocational high schools in a selected metropolitan area of Taiwan , Ining Yuan-Hsiang Chu Open Access Dissertation

Educational aspirations and perceptions of health occupation graduates from community colleges , Lawrence A. Dahl Open Access Dissertation

The part-time employment of high school students: Relationship to school-related variables , Larry G. Eggink Open Access Dissertation

A survey of elementary principals, kindergarten teachers, and kindergarten parents focusing on preferences for academic or developmental programming at the kindergarten level , Dudley L. Humphrey Open Access Dissertation

Self-concept of visually impaired adolescents: A comparative study of educational placement in public and residential schools , Shiela D. Kielly Open Access Dissertation

The relationship of leadership, socioeconomic status, and school size in developing school culture: A study of elementary school principals , Janice Marie Ott Open Access Dissertation

A meeting of cultures: Faculty and part-time doctoral students in an EdD program , Paul R. Smith Open Access Dissertation

Secondary and postsecondary vocational education curriculum articulation as perceived by community college and high school administrators , John W. Sorenson Open Access Dissertation

Cooperative teaching as a method of collaboration between regular and special educators in an integrated setting , Mary J. Takes Open Access Dissertation

Verbal rehearsal methods and their effects on expressive music performance: A comparison of verbal explanation and transformational verbal imagery , Leonard M. Upham Open Access Dissertation

A study to identify selected factors affecting the implementation of computer-aided design and drafting in industrial technology baccalaureate programs , Tsung-Juang Wang Open Access Dissertation

An investigation of the practices and perceptions of three regular elementary teachers regarding the integration of students with severe disabilities , Beth L. Wright Open Access Dissertation

Theses/Dissertations from 1992 1992

An investigation of selected at risk factors in rural high schools in the Midwest , Kevin M. Anderson Open Access Dissertation

Reader-text match: The interactive effect of reader ability and text difficulty on comprehension monitoring , Kathryn Maelou Baxter Open Access Dissertation

Development of an automated ultrasonic inspection cell for detecting subsurface discontinuities in cast iron , John Scott Burningham Open Access Dissertation

An investigation of the types of support perceived necessary by Iowa elementary classroom teachers for the integration of students identified as severely disabled , Katheryn Ann Kinnard East Open Access Dissertation

An investigation of the responsibilities of secondary principals serving shared and nonshared superintendents , Dale E. Greimann Open Access Dissertation

Predicting adolescent AIDS-related risk behavior from psychosocial factors: A path analysis , Sharon M. Hays Open Access Dissertation

Sustaining and impinging factors on teaching satisfaction of effective middle level teachers , Cheryl D. Hoversten Open Access Dissertation

Professional development and the police: A study of institutional change , Gehrig Kenneth La Velle Open Access Dissertation

The relationships between technical operator turnover rate and selected working condition factors in Taiwan's printing industry , Ling-Hsiao Lee Open Access Dissertation

Effects of electronic mail on staff communication satisfaction and computer anxiety , Donald D. Luck Open Access Dissertation

Industrial technology faculty's valuation of consulting and professional performance , Daniel Richard Meyer Open Access Dissertation

Job characteristics of construction craftsmen and their relationships to affective work outcomes , Musibau Adeola Shofoluwe Open Access Dissertation

A wear analysis study of selected alternative foundry tooling materials using impact abrasion testing , L. Fred Vondra Open Access Dissertation

Theses/Dissertations from 1991 1991

A descriptive study of perceived-effective rural superintendents in the state of Iowa , Bonnie Korver Baum Open Access Dissertation

Aggressive and non-aggressive black female students: A comparative study of selected high school characteristics , Walter Cunningham Open Access Dissertation

Factors influencing preparation needed of future industrial technology department leaders in higher education , Rajendra L. Desai Open Access Dissertation

Toward the optimization of cell operator productivity in computer integrated manufacturing , David Leonard Gobeski Open Access Dissertation

An investigation of the instructional management behaviors of principals in mid-sized public high schools in Iowa , Marcus J. Haack Open Access Dissertation

A study of peer involvement in the formative evaluation of instruction in higher education , Larry W. Keig Open Access Dissertation

Effective secondary special education programs: Administrative and instructional practices in identified Iowa schools , Robyn Lynn Moen Kramer Open Access Dissertation

The effects of the use of a color code in graphic presentation and assessment on the reader's immediate recall and delayed retention , Peggy Ann Posekany Pruisner Open Access Dissertation

Surface treatment of cast iron by adding different alloying elements to form metallic glass structure layer using an industrial carbon dioxide laser , Mohammad Riahi Open Access Dissertation

Perceived importance of identified duties and tasks in the area of design/drafting management , John Edward Shultz Open Access Dissertation

Determining an alternative organizational structure within two small/rural Iowa school districts: A case study of an innovative decision making process , David Wayne Stoakes Open Access Dissertation

An analysis of reinforced concrete composites utilizing recycled polyethylene terephthalate thermoplastic , Jaroslav V. Vaverka Open Access Dissertation

Theses/Dissertations from 1990 1990

Curricular trends in four-year baccalaureate degree industrial technology programs , Clayton Ray Diez Open Access Dissertation

Prediction of maximal oxygen consumption in boys, ages 11 to 14 years: An investigation of field measurements for use in schools , Loran D. Erdmann Open Access Dissertation

A Foundation model for the practice of school psychology , George Michael Harper Open Access Dissertation 1991 Award

The importance of technology assessment procedures for missionary trainees , James Michael Hoeksema Open Access Dissertation

Development and validation of a model for training maintenance supervisors for productivity improvements in manufacturing operations , Robert Reed Johnson Open Access Dissertation

Principal and teacher views on cooperative action in the administration of Iowa's secondary schools , Stephen R. Nicholson Open Access Dissertation

ACT scores of Iowa public high school students: School, student, and family variables , Anthony W. Pappas Open Access Dissertation

Principals' perceptions about regular education teachers' attitudes toward integration of students with handicaps , Susan Kay Posekany Sherwood Open Access Dissertation

A study of teaching about religions in selected Iowa public high schools , Douglas W. Sprague Open Access Dissertation

The effects of a microteaching program upon the critical thinking skills of preservice teachers , Vickie Trent-Wilson Open Access Dissertation

Theses/Dissertations from 1989 1989

Relationships between chemistry variations and the morphology and nodular formation of carbon nodules in ductile cast iron , Donald Francis Cassel Open Access Dissertation

An analysis of selected initial Phase III plans developed from Iowa's Educational Excellence Program H.F. 499 , Randall B. Clegg Open Access Dissertation

The relationship among principal power tactic usage, leadership style and school climate in selected Iowa elementary schools , Steven R. Decker Open Access Dissertation

Employment needs of the graphic arts industry in Iowa as perceived by Iowa graphic arts manufacturers and Iowa graphic arts educators , John Frank Gindele Open Access Dissertation

Recruitment practices influencing enrollment of four-year undergraduate students who specialize in graphic arts , Joseph George Gindele Open Access Dissertation

Teacher beliefs and attitudes toward students at risk , Marlyce K. Holbach Open Access Dissertation

The impact of a model inservice program on the components of comprehensive school health education , Susan J. Koch Open Access Dissertation

Teacher-initiated whole language reading instruction in a skills-based school district: A self-report case study , Vicky Mashek-Smith Open Access Dissertation

An analysis of the importance of selected applied physics concepts as prerequisites to training in automotive technology , Patrick Michael McCleskey Open Access Dissertation

The status of field implementation of clinical supervision , Kathleen Sullivan Mulholland Open Access Dissertation

Factors influencing minority enrollment in postsecondary vocational-technical education programs in the state of Iowa , Samuel Chukuemeka Obi Open Access Dissertation

Theses/Dissertations from 1988 1988

The characteristics of elementary teachers perceived and identified as curricular leaders , Celia R. Burger Open Access Dissertation

An experimental cost model for the analysis of quality cost in a manufacturing enterprise , Wallace Charles Carlson Jr. Open Access Dissertation

The system design and evaluation of a microprocessor controlled dispenser using a radar ground-speed sensor , Yu-Charn Chen Open Access Dissertation

The importance of computer-based subject matter topics for graduates of an undergraduate manufacturing technology program as perceived by practicing manufacturing engineers , Anthony Cecil Favre Open Access Dissertation

Fundamental concepts required by electromechanical technology graduates for entry-level employment in related industry , Julio R. Garcia Open Access Dissertation

An analysis of historical studies of literacy standards from three epochs in American elementary education , Karen Elizabeth Stinson Hanus Open Access Dissertation

Iowa middle level schools: Grade level groupings, titles, instructional patterns, and pupil control orientations , Patricia Mary Holthaus Open Access Dissertation

The development and evaluation of a model for implementing restitution into the disciplinary procedures of secondary public schools , Garry Leroy Jensen Open Access Dissertation

An analysis of the abaca natural fiber in reinforcing concrete composites as a construction material in developing countries , Rolando V. Magdamo Open Access Dissertation

Early identifiers of learning disabilities in preschool children , Richard Alan Rebouché Open Access Dissertation

The influence of students' social class status upon secondary school counselors' judgments about students' potential for college attendance , Judith Ann Schindler Open Access Dissertation

A survey of interdisciplinary teaming in Iowa middle level public schools , Fred A. Willis Jr. Open Access Dissertation

Theses/Dissertations from 1987 1987

The role of the Iowa elementary school principal in the school's reading program , Roberta L. Bodensteiner Open Access Dissertation

Manual training: Its role in the development of the Seventh-Day Adventist educational system , Gerald Wayne Coy Open Access Dissertation

A comparison of principals' and teachers' perceptions of administrative performance in Iowa senior high schools , Darrell D. Druvenga Open Access Dissertation

Role of the registered nurse as perceived by nurses, physicians, and health care administrators , Jane Ellen Hasek Open Access Dissertation

A status study and critical analysis of present and future program goals for industrial arts in the state of Nebraska , Kennard G. Larson Open Access Dissertation

A comparison of present and future tasks performed by quality engineers of leading and nonleading American manufacturing firms , Zenon Theodore Smolarek Open Access Dissertation

Participative management: A critical analysis , Adrian Talbot Open Access Dissertation

Theses/Dissertations from 1986 1986

Elements in an educational preparation for middle school teachers , Cheryl Wogens Budlong Open Access Dissertation

Relationships between casting features and cavity fill time, gate velocity, and gate area for aluminum die castings , Hsin-Yen Chen Open Access Dissertation

An experimental cost index model for the analysis of service cost differentials of Iowa school districts , Dean W. Meier Open Access Dissertation

Utilization of a carbon-dioxide laser to form an amorphous metallic layer on gray cast iron with various amount of boron , Majid Torkzadeh Tabrizi Open Access Dissertation

Theses/Dissertations from 1984 1984

The role of multinational corporations in the transfer of management technology to Nigeria , Liwhu Undiandeye Open Access Dissertation

Theses/Dissertations from 1983 1983

Relationships between selected features of helical or spur gears and size distortions due to heat treatment , Abolghassem Tolu Honary Open Access Dissertation

Theses/Dissertations from 1982 1982

Industrial safety and technologicalization: An analysis of the management of industrial safety programs in Saudi Arabia , Abdulla Rashad Jastaniah Open Access Dissertation

Theses/Dissertations from 1981 1981

A feasibility study of a system for computer-aided selection of materials for industrial production , Seth Pardee Bates Open Access Dissertation

Theses/Dissertations from 1980 1980

The effect of shielded metal arc welding process variables on delta ferrite control in austenitic stainless steel weld metal , Ralph Eldon Long Open Access Dissertation

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Purdue Online Writing Lab Purdue OWL® College of Liberal Arts

Thesis and Dissertation: Getting Started

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Welcome to the Purdue OWL

This page is brought to you by the OWL at Purdue University. When printing this page, you must include the entire legal notice.

Copyright ©1995-2018 by The Writing Lab & The OWL at Purdue and Purdue University. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, reproduced, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our terms and conditions of fair use.

The resources in this section are designed to provide guidance for the first steps of the thesis or dissertation writing process. They offer tools to support the planning and managing of your project, including writing out your weekly schedule, outlining your goals, and organzing the various working elements of your project.

Weekly Goals Sheet (a.k.a. Life Map) [Word Doc]

This editable handout provides a place for you to fill in available time blocks on a weekly chart that will help you visualize the amount of time you have available to write. By using this chart, you will be able to work your writing goals into your schedule and put these goals into perspective with your day-to-day plans and responsibilities each week. This handout also contains a formula to help you determine the minimum number of pages you would need to write per day in order to complete your writing on time.

Setting a Production Schedule (Word Doc)

This editable handout can help you make sense of the various steps involved in the production of your thesis or dissertation and determine how long each step might take. A large part of this process involves (1) seeking out the most accurate and up-to-date information regarding specific document formatting requirements, (2) understanding research protocol limitations, (3) making note of deadlines, and (4) understanding your personal writing habits.

Creating a Roadmap (PDF)

Part of organizing your writing involves having a clear sense of how the different working parts relate to one another. Creating a roadmap for your dissertation early on can help you determine what the final document will include and how all the pieces are connected. This resource offers guidance on several approaches to creating a roadmap, including creating lists, maps, nut-shells, visuals, and different methods for outlining. It is important to remember that you can create more than one roadmap (or more than one type of roadmap) depending on how the different approaches discussed here meet your needs.

Harvard University Theses, Dissertations, and Prize Papers

The Harvard University Archives ’ collection of theses, dissertations, and prize papers document the wide range of academic research undertaken by Harvard students over the course of the University’s history.

Beyond their value as pieces of original research, these collections document the history of American higher education, chronicling both the growth of Harvard as a major research institution as well as the development of numerous academic fields. They are also an important source of biographical information, offering insight into the academic careers of the authors.

Printed list of works awarded the Bowdoin prize in 1889-1890.

Spanning from the ‘theses and quaestiones’ of the 17th and 18th centuries to the current yearly output of student research, they include both the first Harvard Ph.D. dissertation (by William Byerly, Ph.D . 1873) and the dissertation of the first woman to earn a doctorate from Harvard ( Lorna Myrtle Hodgkinson , Ed.D. 1922).

Other highlights include:

  • The collection of Mathematical theses, 1782-1839
  • The 1895 Ph.D. dissertation of W.E.B. Du Bois, The suppression of the African slave trade in the United States, 1638-1871
  • Ph.D. dissertations of astronomer Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin (Ph.D. 1925) and physicist John Hasbrouck Van Vleck (Ph.D. 1922)
  • Undergraduate honors theses of novelist John Updike (A.B. 1954), filmmaker Terrence Malick (A.B. 1966),  and U.S. poet laureate Tracy Smith (A.B. 1994)
  • Undergraduate prize papers and dissertations of philosophers Ralph Waldo Emerson (A.B. 1821), George Santayana (Ph.D. 1889), and W.V. Quine (Ph.D. 1932)
  • Undergraduate honors theses of U.S. President John F. Kennedy (A.B. 1940) and Chief Justice John Roberts (A.B. 1976)

What does a prize-winning thesis look like?

If you're a Harvard undergraduate writing your own thesis, it can be helpful to review recent prize-winning theses. The Harvard University Archives has made available for digital lending all of the Thomas Hoopes Prize winners from the 2019-2021 academic years.

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Dissertation examples

Listed below are some of the best examples of research projects and dissertations from undergraduate and taught postgraduate students at the University of Leeds We have not been able to gather examples from all schools. The module requirements for research projects may have changed since these examples were written. Refer to your module guidelines to make sure that you address all of the current assessment criteria. Some of the examples below are only available to access on campus.

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What is a dissertation?

October 31, 2019

A dissertation is a written document that summarizes research.

It is the final step of a PhD program, and the culmination of a student’s doctoral studies.

“The dissertation is a source of pride for doctoral students,” Dinah Manns, PhD, faculty chair at Capella University, says. “The dissertation is often a compilation of academic and practical knowledge, and in many cases, it can be the student’s first publication.”

Here, Manns explains the content and format of this important piece of scholarship.

From student to scholar

The major objective of any doctoral program is to assist a student in becoming an independent researcher, and a dissertation is a large part of that. “Not all doctoral programs require a dissertation, but all PhD programs do,” Manns notes. “Dissertation work varies by program.”

Initial coursework helps narrow down the research topic and develop it into something that will add to the body of knowledge in the chosen field. Sometimes the research contributes something entirely new to the field, and other times it expands or deepens previous studies.

By the time the doctoral coursework is finished, the topic should be selected and ready for formal research. At this point the student develops a proposal, which encompasses the research plan and methodology as it pertains to the selected topic.

At Capella, once the proposal has been approved by the student’s mentor, committee, and the Institutional Review Board (IRB), the research and analysis begin. The dissertation is largely an independent project that essentially turns the student into a scholar; they’ll dive more deeply into research and writing then they have done before.

“Capella PhD candidates will be prepared for this step through their coursework and residency,” says Manns, noting that they will have learned how to approach this critical phase as part of their pre-dissertation learning.

Format of the dissertation

The dissertation is a much deeper exploration of a research topic than a traditional essay would be. It’s in the form of a book, with at least five chapters (some universities require a sixth chapter in the form of a recap of the previous chapters). Manns outlines the chapters this way:

  • Overview. This is a brief look at the research question, containing a preview of the subsequent chapters.
  • Literature review. The literature review is an extensive critique and synthesis of the current literature in the field.
  • Methodology. This section contains details of the procedures and methods used to collect and analyze data.
  • Analysis. The PhD candidate details how the data analysis applies to the collected data.
  • Findings. This section provides interpretation of the data and comparison to existing literature, as well as future research possibilities.

The order of the chapters follows a logical progression in which PhD candidates build on their theories and explain research choices in detail before coming to the final chapter that gives weight to the value of the study itself.

Manns recommends that pre-dissertation students review completed dissertations in the field and research various types of methodology and design in the field as well. “That will help give them a feel for the depth of research and discussion, and see how the chapters work together,” Manns explains. “And remember—someday, it may be your dissertation being read!”

Capella University offers PhD and professional doctoral degrees in programs ranging from business to education and health to technology. Learn more about Capella’s doctoral programs.

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Ten things I wish I'd known before starting my dissertation

The sun is shining but many students won't see the daylight. Because it's that time of year again – dissertation time.

Luckily for me, my D-Day (dissertation hand-in day) has already been and gone. But I remember it well.

The 10,000-word spiral-bound paper squatted on my desk in various forms of completion was my Allied forces; the history department in-tray was my Normandy. And when Eisenhower talked about a "great crusade toward which we have striven these many months", he was bang on.

I remember first encountering the Undergraduate Dissertation Handbook, feeling my heart sink at how long the massive file took to download, and began to think about possible (but in hindsight, wildly over-ambitious) topics. Here's what I've learned since, and wish I'd known back then…

1 ) If your dissertation supervisor isn't right, change. Mine was brilliant. If you don't feel like they're giving you the right advice, request to swap to someone else – providing it's early on and your reason is valid, your department shouldn't have a problem with it. In my experience, it doesn't matter too much whether they're an expert on your topic. What counts is whether they're approachable, reliable, reassuring, give detailed feedback and don't mind the odd panicked email. They are your lifeline and your best chance of success.

2 ) If you mention working on your dissertation to family, friends or near-strangers, they will ask you what it's about, and they will be expecting a more impressive answer than you can give. So prepare for looks of confusion and disappointment. People anticipate grandeur in history dissertation topics – war, genocide, the formation of modern society. They don't think much of researching an obscure piece of 1970s disability legislation. But they're not the ones marking it.

3 ) If they ask follow-up questions, they're probably just being polite.

4 ) Do not ask friends how much work they've done. You'll end up paranoid – or they will. Either way, you don't have time for it.

5 ) There will be one day during the process when you will freak out, doubt your entire thesis and decide to start again from scratch. You might even come up with a new question and start working on it, depending on how long the breakdown lasts. You will at some point run out of steam and collapse in an exhausted, tear-stained heap. But unless there are serious flaws in your work (unlikely) and your supervisor recommends starting again (highly unlikely), don't do it. It's just panic, it'll pass.

6 ) A lot of the work you do will not make it into your dissertation. The first few days in archives, I felt like everything I was unearthing was a gem, and when I sat down to write, it seemed as if it was all gold. But a brutal editing down to the word count has left much of that early material at the wayside.

7 ) You will print like you have never printed before. If you're using a university or library printer, it will start to affect your weekly budget in a big way. If you're printing from your room, "paper jam" will come to be the most dreaded two words in the English language.

8 ) Your dissertation will interfere with whatever else you have going on – a social life, sporting commitments, societies, other essay demands. Don't even try and give up biscuits for Lent, they'll basically become their own food group when you're too busy to cook and desperate for sugar.

9 ) Your time is not your own. Even if you're super-organised, plan your time down to the last hour and don't have a single moment of deadline panic, you'll still find that thoughts of your dissertation will creep up on you when you least expect it. You'll fall asleep thinking about it, dream about it and wake up thinking about. You'll feel guilty when you're not working on it, and mired in self-doubt when you are.

10 ) Finishing it will be one of the best things you've ever done. It's worth the hard work to know you've completed what's likely to be your biggest, most important, single piece of work. Be proud of it.

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The personal is analytical: nayoung kim breaks new dissertation ground with website.

An image from Nayoung Kim's website dissertation. Two photos, one of people standing in an open area near a building and one of a small bus near a tower, are juxtaposed. Text reads, "On powerful vignettes in vignettes by Nayoung Kim."

An image from Nayoung Kim's dissertation, Prismatic Reader.

Photo Credit: Nayoung Kim

February 16, 2024

Abigail Arnold | Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

Sixth-year English PhD student Nayoung Kim was the first Brandeis Graduate School of Arts and Sciences student to complete a non-traditional dissertation. In response to the English department’s 2021 decision to change the structure and requirements of their PhD program, including allowing dissertations beyond the traditional book-length manuscript that the discipline usually demands, she created Prismatic Reader , an eye-catching website that combines analyses of contemporary novels with reflections on her own process and PhD program experiences, photographs and doodles, text in both English and Korean, and even a recording of her babbling baby. Kim, who defended her dissertation in December of 2023, said that when coming up with the idea, “I wanted to think about how I communicate my content and the thoughts I have about my project. I wanted it to reach people easily and not be encased in ProQuest. I really wanted to be accessible to people, and a website is a super accessible medium.” Here’s how she created her non-traditional dissertation.

Kim found that thinking outside the box for her dissertation also meant challenging her own ways of thinking. When planning the website, she said, “It wasn’t a logical step by step but an accumulation of ideas. I mainly started with a concept and a color scheme that might go well with it and kind of tweaked it along the way. Everything was sprawled. It was an experiment and kind of a learning process–I’m an academic, and my brain is really coded to think in the chronological line-by-line way. Breaking away from that was really crucial to figuring out the entire thing.” In consequence, the Prismatic Reader website does not follow a linear structure but allows the reader to click around and select what they would most like to view. Individual pages link to others, and Kim tags smaller sections with terms like “Bits and Pieces” and “Moments.” She said, “I really wanted people to actually retrace my steps of making this entire project. You don’t necessarily have to start from an intro piece and work yourself through–you can pick and choose what interests you the most. I wanted to create a cluster of content that people can navigate freely.”

In addition, Kim worked to break down traditional distinctions between personal and academic life. She said that when thinking about where to add visuals to the website, “I tried to follow my own flow of thoughts, which are often quite spontaneous and more organic compared to when I set myself to write a traditional academic article. I wanted to follow the way my brain processes things–I was coming up with images on the spot while writing and thinking of how to incorporate them. This freed up my thinking and allowed me more wiggle room to incorporate some odd and seemingly unrelated images. It was very liberating, and I really rejoiced in it.” Her choice to incorporate writing about her own experiences, such as in her essay about being a mother while writing a dissertation , combined a professional dimension of trying to convey a critical idea in which she is personally embedded and a personal dimension of seeking to refashion herself as a storyteller.

Kim also considered the audience for her public-facing project. She sees them as people who are interested in contemporary English language fiction and hopes to share new thoughts on these texts with them. “I’m hoping I can contribute a new line of interpretation for a body of very popular contemporary fiction, especially diaspora and environmental,” she said. “I wanted to offer a seed of different interpretations.” She also considered her dissertation’s place in its own ecosystem. “I hoped for more robust discussion about examples of nontraditional dissertation and how you do it, because I had a hard time navigating the resources,” said Kim. “I would like to initiate an ongoing conversation arena and start putting information there.” She did draw inspiration from Anna Williams’s My Gothic Dissertation podcast , which she said was “emotionally and mentally encouraging” in showing that a non-traditional dissertation was possible, and participated in a panel with Williams, organized by GSAS’s Jon Anjaria .

For Kim, the dissertation project is ultimately a personal one. “I would recommend thinking about your values first. By values, I mean something that can be non-negotiable,” she said. “For me, I realized that was inserting or reflecting on my experience as a person in my critical practice. I’d forgotten about that for a long time, and it was really crucial to insert back into the project. The rest–the medium and theme–came out of that.” By reflecting on her own experiences, she created a dissertation that allowed her to try new things and blaze a trail in her department–and beyond.

Following the English department’s curricular changes, several students are working on non-traditional dissertation projects. Follow our links to read about two others, Sarah Perkins and Yi He . You can learn more about the English PhD program on our program page and the department website .

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Lauren Irwin poses with Jodi Linley outside The Englert after graduating from her doctorate program.

Lauren Irwin wins dissertation of the year award from the College Student Educators International

University of Iowa College of Education alumna Lauren Irwin was awarded the Marylu McEwen Dissertation of the Year Award from College Student Educators International.

Irwin received her doctorate in  Higher Education and Student Affairs  from the UI College of Education's Department of Educational Policy and Leadership Studies in May 2023. She is now an assistant professor in the Higher Education and College Student Personnel programs at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville.  

Jodi Linley , associate professor of Higher Education and Student Affairs, was Irwin’s dissertation advisor and nominated her for the award. She says Irwin continuously proves she is a highly-skilled researcher and critical scholar.

Lauren Irwin smiles in a professional portrait.

“Dr. Lauren Irwin has excelled in all levels of her higher education and professional life, and I am so excited to see her scholarship recognized for the exceptional work it is,” Linley says. “Her study will no doubt improve social justice efforts on college campuses. Her study also holds theoretical significance; to my knowledge, this is the first operationalization of Victor Ray’s theory of racialized organizations in a student affairs context. She is setting an example for other student affairs scholars to do systemic, organizational analyses of our functional areas.” 

Irwin’s dissertation studies the impact of whiteness and racism in leadership programs. She evaluated three college campuses that claim to center social justice in their leadership programs. One campus was a large predominately white research institution on the East Coast, another was a large public Minority-Serving Institution with a racially diverse body in the Western U.S., and the third was a small Catholic, predominately white liberal arts college in the Midwest. 

Irwin found that the two predominantly white institutions benefited from resource stability in their leadership programs.

“Part of that actually came from donations from parents of students, particularly white and relatively affluent students, in those leadership programs,” Irwin says. 

Contrastingly, the leadership program at the Minority-Serving Institution consistently applied for external grants, which required extra time and resources for faculty and staff in those programs, Irwin says. 

Her dissertation also addresses how whiteness is normalized in these programs. 

“The thing that is unique is that all three of these campuses and programs were selected because of the ways that they claim to really center social justice or diversity in their programming,” Irwin says. “And what I found was that those efforts were often pretty disconnected from actual practice at predominately white institutions. Often, they continue to rely on leadership theories that were very much written from the experiences of white people, or didn't necessarily even consider identity or oppression.” 

Irwin says as someone who has been involved in College Student Educators International, previously known as the American College Personnel Association, since she was an undergraduate student, she was honored to receive this award for her dissertation. 

“To know that a group of scholars in my field saw that as worthy of recognition, and that as exemplary research is really exciting, really humbling,” Irwin says. “It feels like very energizing as I look forward in my career.”

Lauren Irwin on stage at her doctorate graduation ceremony.

Since graduating from the doctoral program at the College of Education in May 2023, Irwin has been working as an assistant professor at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville. She is currently in her second semester on the tenure track. 

Before coming to the UI’s College of Education’s Department of Educational Policy and Leadership, Irwin received her Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology and Education Studies from UCLA and her Master of Arts in Student Affairs Administration from Michigan State University. She began her doctorate at a different program, but she transferred to the UI College of Education to be part of Iowa’ scholarly community and to focus on student affairs in her program. 

“I had the benefit of being in the most encouraging, supportive, and inspiring scholarly community that has really shaped who I am as a scholar now,” Irwin says. “I very much came here for folks doing incredible work in higher education, and got the chance to learn from great folks like Jodi Linley, Leslie Locke, Chris Ogren, Nick Bowman, Cassie Barnhardt, Sherry Watt, and Katie Broton, among others.”

Irwin says her time at the UI College of Education gave her great opportunities to engage with research and to graduate with a strong scholarly record, which helped her in the job market. 

“I have immense gratitude for the community of folks at Iowa who offered so much support and who continue to offer so much support and encouragement,” Irwin says.  

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Noël Um-Lo Awarded NSF Dissertation Grant

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Noël Um-Lo Awarded NSF Dissertation Grant

Programs in Anthropology are proud to announce that Noël Um-Lo has been awarded the U.S. National Science Foundation Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Grant in Cultural Anthropology (NSF CA-DDRIG). Um-Lo is currently a Ph.D. Candidate in Applied Anthropology and has received this grant to support the completion of her dissertation research from 2024-2025. The NSF CA-DDRIG supports doctoral research aimed at understanding patterns, causes and consequences of human social and cultural variation, including research that has implications for confronting anthropogenic problems. More information about the grant can be found here .

Um-Lo's project "Doctoral Dissertation Research: Civic engagement and schooling for resettlement communities" examines alternative schools (tae-an hak-kyo) for North Korean escapees in South Korea (t'albukmin), t'albukmin transnational identity formation and the politics of unification on the Korean peninsula.

We congratulate Noël on this great achievement!

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10,000 citations strong: How a dissertation topic defied skepticism and redefined marketing narratives

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BGSU Distinguished Research and Teaching Professor Dr. Dwayne Gremler trailblazed the digital age in a quest to decode online word-of-mouth communication.

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While considering his dissertation topic some 30 years ago, a certain Ph.D. candidate, now professor at Bowling Green State University, was interested in researching word-of-mouth communication, but he ran into a stone wall.

A senior professor offered this terse rebuke: “Word-of-mouth is dead. Move on to a different topic.”

After quietly and respectfully disagreeing, the allure of examining the power and potential in this area of the exchange of information remained a topic of interest, if the right project presented itself.

“I thought the topic of word-of-mouth communication was intriguing,” said Dr. Dwayne Gremler, a professor of marketing who has been named as both BGSU Distinguished Research Professor and BGSU Distinguished Teaching Professor.

He found another route to complete his Ph.D. studies, but his interest in researching word-of-mouth persisted, even as the primary focus early in his career centered on other issues.

The growth of the internet changed word-of-mouth communication, which is “the informal spread of information, opinions and recommendations about a product, service or brand from one person to another.” This communication morphed from a casual conversation in the breakroom at work or a brief exchange over the hedgerow with a neighbor into something that could involve thousands or millions of other individuals.


After his own research on the topic, Gremler was invited about 25 years ago to be part of an extensive study led by Professor Thorsten Hennig-Thurau in Germany. Their research was published in 2004 in the Journal of Interactive Marketing, and it has proven to be groundbreaking, at a minimum. 

The research has been cited more than 10,000 times and is regarded as a foundational element in the study of the digital communication and marketing landscape. It is the most cited work among all research about word of mouth and consumer communication.

Their collaborative effort looked at what eventually would be called electronic word-of-mouth communication - or EWOM. Gianfranco Walsh, another German professor, along with Kevin Gwinner, a marketing professor from Kansas State, were also part of the team. 

The four scholars came together to examine what prompted people to share their opinions online. They collected data from an online sample of more than 2,000 German opinion-platform users who had previously written comments about products they had experienced.

As the research ideas, drafts of papers and exchange of information zipped back and forth across the Atlantic via the internet, a scholarly document titled “Electronic word-of-mouth via consumer-opinion platforms: What motivates consumers to articulate themselves on the internet?” eventually was generated by the group.

“The results revealed that the motivation for providing such comments was social (being an active part of a community and concern for those consumers who would read the reviews), intrinsic (self-expression) and extrinsic (rewards by the platform) incentives,” Gremler said.

Gremler said the two American professors were called on to provide additional insight into the research, plus they had experience with the publication process needed to get the study published in a U.S. journal. 

The BGSU professor said he and his co-authors were fortunate to address the topic at the same time the use, reach and capabilities of the internet were experiencing explosive growth.

“I think in part it was a timing issue, since had the research been four or five years later, someone else might have beaten us to the punch,” he said. 

The paper was not an immediate hit, but researchers around the globe eventually found that the work offered an extensive examination of a topic few others had visited.

“Once the momentum started, since we came along early on and our research had started the conversation, others have used our work and have built on that,” he said. “It certainly has surprised us that interest in our research has grown exponentially, especially in recent years. It is surprising to me it is still being heavily cited.”

Gremler, who joined the BGSU faculty in 2000, said the German-American research team was able to document the early stages of a paradigm shift that continues to grow as it cascades across the globe. Word-of-mouth in the comment and review sections of company websites, as well as crowd-sourced entities such as Yelp, have proven to be a game-changer.

“Historically, word-of-mouth was one-on-one, or one-on-three, and consumers had very little power,” he said. “What has changed with the internet is the power has shifted to the consumer. In a matter of seconds, someone sitting on a flight with their phone can capture a guy being hauled off an airplane, and within very little time a video can be sent out and shared with hundreds, thousands or millions of people.”


His interest in word-of-mouth communication began in the late 1980s before his time in academia, while Gremler was working for a large corporation in Phoenix. The company had an in-house communication network called “Forum” that was a forerunner to social media. If an employee was looking for a house painter, a babysitter or a Volkswagen repair shop, they could post that need on the internal site and review the feedback they would receive from the 5,000-person workforce.

“At that point, I realized how powerful this was, and I could envision that this online thing might make it fairly easy to see responses from hundreds or even thousands of other people. I might have a limited circle of friends, but this kind of connection and capability was both interesting and fascinating.”

He said word-of-mouth communication is often considered highly influential and trustworthy because it comes from personal connections rather than direct advertising and is therefore thought to be unbiased. What resulted from the growth of the internet was a mechanism for a single consumer to reach many others via word of mouth.

Gremler said he jumped at the opportunity to be part of the research team, although the trans-Atlantic operation was a bit cumbersome more than two decades ago.

“We didn’t have all of the cool tools we have now, so no Zoom meetings or screen sharing. We would each work on our aspect of the project and send drafts of papers back and forth,” he said. “It took a lot of planning and coordination since there were different timetables and different cultures involved.”

While the German professors excelled at the quantitative aspect of the work, Gremler focused on making their study more readable and digestible, and finding the pathway to getting the paper into a journal publication. He is still sharing that skill set today.

Gremler has developed a seminar on scholarly research and how to get such works published, and he has presented that at 20 universities in 10 countries with more than 450 participants, primarily Ph.D. candidates seeking advice on how to get their research published in academic journals.

“Most universities don’t teach their Ph.D. candidates how to do that,” he said.

The distinction that has accompanied the frequently cited work has taken place inside the academic ranks, but Gremler said he remains proud of the longevity of the research and its sustained place in the field of communication.

“It is surprising to me that it is still being cited so often, and the exponential growth it has experienced, especially in recent years,” he said. “We found and examined a research question that has generated a lot of interest.”


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Media Contact | Michael Bratton | [email protected] | 419-372-6349

Updated: 02/21/2024 12:10PM

Dr. Bailey receives National Dissertation Award

Posted in: Awards & Recognition

Dr. Nina Bailey with her AMTE award along with her dissertation chair

Dr. Nina Bailey, Assistant Professor, and Dr. Siddhi Desai of Fairleigh Dickinson University are the 2024 co-recipients of the Association of Mathematics Teacher Educators Dissertation Award , and they were recognized at the annual conference earlier this month. This national award highlights mathematics education research that helps the field better understand the connections between teaching and learning and social, historical, and institutional contexts.


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  1. Dissertations and Theses @ UNI

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  2. What Is a Dissertation?

    A dissertation is a long-form piece of academic writing based on original research conducted by you. It is usually submitted as the final step in order to finish a PhD program. Your dissertation is probably the longest piece of writing you've ever completed.

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    A college dissertation is an assessment, but unlike other module assessments, it is an independent learning project. In other words, each student is given an opportunity to present his or her findings in response to a research proposal/question of their choosing.

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  5. Prize-Winning Thesis and Dissertation Examples

    University: University of Pennsylvania Faculty: History Author: Suchait Kahlon Award: 2021 Hilary Conroy Prize for Best Honors Thesis in World History Title: "Abolition, Africans, and Abstraction: the Influence of the "Noble Savage" on British and French Antislavery Thought, 1787-1807" University: Columbia University Faculty: History

  6. How to write an undergraduate university dissertation

    1. Select an engaging topic Choose a subject that aligns with your interests and allows you to showcase the skills and knowledge you have acquired through your degree. 2. Research your supervisor Undergraduate students will often be assigned a supervisor based on their research specialisms.

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    How To Write A Dissertation: 8 Steps. Clearly understand what a dissertation (or thesis) is. Find a unique and valuable research topic. Craft a convincing research proposal. Write up a strong introduction chapter. Review the existing literature and compile a literature review.

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    Overview: Structuring a dissertation or thesis Title page Acknowledgements page Abstract (or executive summary) Table of contents, list of figures and tables The core chapters (the "meat" of the dissertation) Chapter 1: Introduction Chapter 2: Literature review Chapter 3: Methodology Chapter 4: Results Chapter 5: Discussion Chapter 6: Conclusion

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    Develop a strong thesis statement. 5. Proofread and edit. 6. Seek feedback and finalise. 7. Submit. While you may be experienced in revising and writing essays, your dissertation requires careful planning, extensive research, and time management to succeed. Your dissertation is a key part of your degree course and a testament to your ability to ...

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    This is a collection of Dissertations Only written by graduate students at the University of Northern Iowa. To go to the collection of all Dissertations & Theses @ UNI collection, click here. To go to the collection of Specialist in Education works, click here. Jump to: Theses/Dissertations from 2023 PDF

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    A PhD dissertation is a lengthy, formal document that argues in defense of a particular thesis. (So many people use the term ``thesis'' to refer to the document that a current dictionary now includes it as the third meaning of ``thesis''). Two important adjectives used to describe a dissertation are ``original'' and ``substantial.''

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  20. What is a dissertation?

    A dissertation is a written document that summarizes research. It is the final step of a PhD program, and the culmination of a student's doctoral studies. "The dissertation is a source of pride for doctoral students," Dinah Manns, PhD, faculty chair at Capella University, says. "The dissertation is often a compilation of academic and ...

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  23. Ten things I wish I'd known before starting my dissertation

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  25. Lauren Irwin wins dissertation of the year award from the College

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  26. Noël Um-Lo Awarded NSF Dissertation Grant

    Um-Lo is currently a Ph.D. Candidate in Applied Anthropology and has received this grant to support the completion of her dissertation research from 2024-2025. The NSF CA-DDRIG supports doctoral research aimed at understanding patterns, causes and consequences of human social and cultural variation, including research that has implications for ...

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    While considering his dissertation topic some 30 years ago, a certain Ph.D. candidate, now professor at Bowling Green State University, was interested in researching word-of-mouth communication, but he ran into a stone wall. A senior professor offered this terse rebuke: "Word-of-mouth is dead. Move on to a different topic."

  28. Dr. Bailey receives National Dissertation Award

    Dr. Nina Bailey, Assistant Professor, and Dr. Siddhi Desai of Fairleigh Dickinson University are the 2024 co-recipients of the Association of Mathematics Teacher Educators Dissertation Award, and they were recognized at the annual conference earlier this month. This national award highlights mathematics education research that helps the field better understand the connections between teaching ...