1. Developing the Problem Statement for Your Dissertation Proposal Introduction The Doctoral Experience The Problem Is the Problem Finding a Good Research Problem Characteristics of a Good Problem Writing the Problem Statement The Problem Statement as Part of a Dissertation Proposal Summary of Chapter One Do You Understand These Key Words and Phrases? Let's Start Writing Our Own Proposal 2. Writing Purpose Statements, Research Questions, and Hypotheses Introduction The Quantitative Purpose Statement Purpose Statements for Qualitative Studies Defining and Describing a Research Question The Methodological Point of Departure Research Questions Will Ultimately Lead to the Study's Research Method Getting Back to Stating Our Research Question A Word of Caution! Putting It Together: Problem Statements, Purpose Statements, and Research Questions Problem Statements, Purpose Statements, and Research Questions in the Literature Stating Hypotheses for Your Research Study An Example of Stating Our Hypotheses Understanding the Four Basic Rules for Hypotheses The Direction of Hypotheses Hypotheses Must Be Testable via the Collection and Analysis of Data Research versus Null Hypotheses All Hypotheses Must Include the Word "Significant" Other Parts of Chapter 1 of the Dissertation Summary of Chapter Two Do You Understand These Key Words and Phrases? Review Questions Progress Check for Chapter 1 of the Dissertation Proposal: The Introduction Let's Continue Writing Our Own Dissertation Proposal 3. Writing the Review of Literature for Your Study Introduction What Is a Review of Literature and What Is Its Purpose? There Isn't a Magic Formula for Writing a Review of Literature Phase 1. Getting Ready to Write a Review of Literature Phase 2. Writing the Review of Literature Summary of Chapter Three Do You Understand These Key Words and Phrases? Review Questions Progress Check for Chapter 3 of the Dissertation Proposal: The Review of Literature Let's Continue Writing Our Own Dissertation Proposal 4. The First Part of Your Dissertation Research Method Introduction Philosophy 101 The Research Paradigm Nonrandom (Nonprobabalistic) Sampling Identifying the Population and a Sample for Your Study Summary of the Sampling Process Data Collection Instruments Instruments for Quantitative Research Instruments for Qualitative Research Reliability and Validity Plans for Data Analysis Ethical Considerations Plans for Presenting the Results Summary of Your Proposal Summary of Chapter Four: The First Part of Your Dissertation Research Method Do You Understand These Key Words and Phrases? Review Questions 5. Quantitative Research Methods Introduction Different Types of Data Quantitative Research Designs Survey Research Correlational Research Causal-Comparative Research Hypothesis Testing Experimental Research The Validity of Your Study Threats to the Internal Validity of Your Study Threats to the External Validity of Your Study Experimental Research Designs Preexperimental Designs Quasi-Experimental Designs Experimental Designs Putting This All Together for the Quantitative Dissertation Proposal Chapter 3 of a Quantitative Dissertation Proposal Our First Example of Chapter 3 of a Proposal Summary of Chapter Five Do You Understand These Key Words and Phrases? Review Questions Progress Check for Chapter 3 of a Quantitative Dissertation Proposal Let's Continue Writing Our Own Dissertation Proposal Appendix 5.1. Example of a Descriptive Research Study Appendix 5.2. Example of a Correlational Research Study Appendix 5.3. Example of a Quasi-Experimental Research Study Appendix 5.4. Example of an Experimental Research Study Appendix 5.5. Threats to the Validity of an Experimental Study 6. Qualitative Research Methods Introduction An Overview of Qualitative Methodologies The Role of the Researcher The Format of a Qualitative Dissertation Proposal Chapter 1 of a Qualitative Dissertation Proposal: The Introduction Chapter 3 of a Qualitative Dissertation Proposal: Research Methods Choosing the Right Qualitative Research Method Participants and Sampling Instruments Research Procedures Plans for Data Analysis The Validity and Reliability of a Qualitative Study Ethical Considerations Plans for Presenting the Results Summary Summary of Chapter Six Do You Understand These Key Words and Phrases? Review Questions Progress Check for Chapter 3 of a Qualitative Dissertation Proposal Let's Continue Writing Our Own Dissertation Proposal Appendix 6.1. Narrative Study Procedures: The Case of the Unfortunate Departure Appendix 6.2. Phenomenological Study Procedures: The Case of Sending Your Child to Safety Appendix 6.3. Ethnographic Study Procedures: The Case of Climbing the Mountain Appendix 6.4. Case Study Procedures: The Case of the Standardized Test Appendix 6.5. Grounded Theory Procedures: The Case of Homelessness Appendix 6.6. Content Analysis Procedures: The Case of the Eye Witness 7. Mixed Methods Research Designs Introduction An Overview of Mixed Methods Research The Format of a Mixed Methods Proposal Chapter 1 of a Mixed Methods Study: The Introduction Background, Statement of the Problem, and Significance of the Study The Central Purpose of the Study Research Questions Hypotheses for Mixed Methods Studies Chapter 2 of a Mixed Methods Dissertation Proposal: The Review of Literature Chapter 3 of a Mixed Methods Dissertation Proposal: Research Methods The Mixed Methods Paradigm Research Design The Three Major Mixed Methods Designs Participants and Sampling Instruments Research Procedures Plans for Data Analysis Ethical Considerations Plans for Presenting the Results Summary of Chapter Seven Do You Understand These Key Words and Phrases? Review Questions Progress Check for Chapter 3 of a Mixed Methods Dissertation Proposal: The Research Methods Appendix 7.1. Sequential Explanatory Design: The Case of the Tutors Appendix 7.2. Sequential Exploratory Design: The Case of the Academies Appendix 7.3. Convergent Design: The Case of Calling It In Epilogue: Have We Accomplished What We Set Out to Do? Appendix A. Progress Check for Chapter 1 of a Dissertation Proposal: The Introduction Appendix B. Progress Check for Chapter 2 of a Dissertation Proposal: The Review of Literature Appendix C. Progress Check for Chapter 3 of a Quantitative Dissertation Proposal Appendix D. Progress Check for Chapter 3 of a Qualitative Dissertation Proposal Appendix E. Progress Check for Chapter 3 of a Mixed Methods Dissertation Proposal Answers to Review Questions Glossary References Index About the Author
Steven R. Terrell, PhD, is Professor in the College of Engineering and Computing at Nova Southeastern University, where he teaches quantitative and qualitative research methodology and statistics. He is active in the American Counseling Association, the American Psychological Association, and the American Educational Research Association, where he chaired the Online Teaching and Learning Special Interest Group. Dr. Terrell serves on the editorial boards of several national and international journals and is the author of Statistics Translated: A Step-by-Step Guide to Analyzing and Interpreting Data, as well as more than 120 journal articles, book chapters, conference papers, and presentations.
"This book tackles one of the most daunting tasks that doctoral students face. By breaking down the proposal writing process in a manageable and thorough way, the book educates the student from beginning to end. It is a 'must read' for doctoral students--I would use it in all classes about the dissertation process and assign it to all doctoral students as soon as they start their program! It also will be valuable for general research methods classes at the graduate level and any classes leading up to the doctoral dissertation requirement. Students will benefit from the concrete examples that bring the process to life."--Jacqueline V. Lerner, PhD, Program in Applied Developmental Psychology, Boston College "My eyes were starting to glass over late one night as I was trying to complete the required reading for a class--until I started reading this book. The straightforward writing style and examples were a breath of fresh air. Heck, I even chuckled out loud a few times. In sum, I went from 'My goodness, what have I gotten myself in for,' to 'Thank goodness, I can actually relate to this stuff!'"--Peter Wiernicki, first-year doctoral student in Educational Leadership, Johnson & Wales University, Providence, Rhode Island "Many students flounder in the process of writing a dissertation proposal. Terrell's book treats in depth what other works on writing a dissertation dispatch in a few paragraphs. He recognizes not only the importance but also the complexity of writing the problem statement and other elements of the proposal, and provides students with expert guidance in how to capture precisely a study's importance within a defined scope. Terrell's insights are wise and on target; students will find them to be of great value."--Steven D. Zink, PhD, Vice Chancellor, Nevada System of Higher Education "This book demystifies the entire dissertation proposal process, and is particularly helpful in the area of considering and refining a research problem. A major strength is the way Terrell clarifies the process by analyzing numerous topics in terms of their problem statement, purpose statement, and research question."--Frederick J. Brigham, PhD, Special Education Program, George Mason University "A valuable resource for my introductory research methods course. This text strikes the perfect balance between substance and practicality. It serves as an excellent supplement to the other required methods texts, and I intend to include it on the textbook list for all my future research courses."--Felice D. Billups, EdD, Professor, Educational Leadership Doctoral Program, Johnson & Wales University, Providence, Rhode Island "The style is accessible and conversational; perfect for apprehensive doctoral students who need a broad overview of the proposal process. I like the way the purpose statement is broken down into variables, participants, and location; this will be helpful to students."--Susan Troncoso Skidmore, PhD, Department of Educational Leadership, Sam Houston State University "Informative and easy to read. Terrell offers a succinct introduction to all the parts of a typical doctoral proposal--introduction, background literature review, and methods--and presents a range of examples for quantitative, qualitative, and mixed-methods approaches. The book provides a very useful perspective on different methodological approaches and how they fit into the doctoral proposal."--Paul Vincent, PhD, Department of Physics, Astronomy, and Geosciences, Valdosta State University