Successfully Navigating your Doctoral Project

good morning everyone my name is dr alpha Bajaj I’m an academic advisor here in the school of behavioral sciences at Cal Southern and it’s my pleasure to welcome you to our ongoing master lecture series monthly presentations from leading scholars and authors and practitioners that the University provides to students and that contribute to the psychology community at large and in the spirit of shared knowledge and excellence in scholarship today we’re happy to welcome back to Cal Southern dr. Linda Fisher who will be delivering a presentation titled strategies for writing a doctoral project dr. Fisher will lead a comprehensive and practical discussion about the doctoral project process including overlooked items that make the process more manageable enriching and productive additionally she will cover the doctor’ll project chapter by chapter and offering tips an actionable advice for each step on this challenging and yet rewarding journey before we get it started I have a couple of quick housekeeping notes first we encourage you to ask questions to our presenter today we’ll be holding the questions until the end and for those of you that are attending virtually we encourage you to submit them as they occur during the course of the presentation for those of you at Cal Southern students who are participating as part of your coursework or to receive credit it’s very important that you include your name your course number or your course name so that we can make sure you receive appropriate credit will answer as many questions as time permits and are do our best to get them but in the event that we’re unable to do to kind time constraints you will still receive your course credit just a bit a question use the message function in the webinar interface just click on the icon in the bottom right of the interface that looks like a chat bubble you’ll also see an email icon in the same location if you have any technical issues please definitely simply describe your problem and our IT staff will be standing by and will help you with that it’s my pleasure to welcome to Cal Southern and to introduce you to Linda Fisher dr. Fisher is a writing advisor for the doctor’ll support center of the Rossi our school of education at the University of Southern California she because she’s committed to helping doctoral candidates succeed in the school’s educational and society prior to joining us see she served in the United States Army for more than 20 years retiring in 2003 while an army captain she earned her master’s degree in educational psychology from the University of Oklahoma and completed the USC educational doctorate program within a concentration in higher education in 2005 as a member of the Hawaii cohort originally from Texas dr. Fisher has lived all over the world including 10 years in Hawaii but while a member of the Hawaii Community dr. Fisher served as a board of directors for the Coalition for a drug-free Hawaii her research interests include sexual harassment and sexual assault on campus and in the workplace she’s the author of the ultimate power enemy within the ranks the story of dr. Fisher’s triumph over a sexual assault she suffered while an officer in the military she served as a provost marshal an assistant chief of staff for the pacific ocean division corpse of engineers in hawaii and has served to on tours in the multitude of settings from West Point New York all the way to Panama please give a warm cal southern welcome to dr. Linda Fisher thank you so much what a warm welcome always a pleasure to be here and first let me again emphasize how professionally well this is done I’m continuously impressed when I come here with the technical proficiency the professionalism and just the warm welcome that I always receive coming yourself want to thank all of you for being here again as I said if you have questions just write them down and we’ll get to those questions when we’re done I’ll try to get through the information and I want to remind those that are here and those that are out there virtually it’s a lot of information don’t even pretend that you’re going to wrap your head around everything before leaving here today but at least you’ll would have received an appetizer of what to expect and maybe do look at areas where you might can benefit as we go through it so don’t think master at all here today just write down those questions I

think what’s very impressive about the way Cal Southern does their work here is that they’ll this will be available online to you later and you can refer back to it again in the future so that’s always a great positive okay so the journey begins first one of the things that I always like to remind students of is that the dissertation or doctoral project is going to be one of the most difficult endeavors in your life that’s why only about eight percent of the population has a doctorate in the United States and most importantly that the institutions that you attend are committed to your success I think what’s very important to understand is that your institution provides you a manual on the doctoral project you should get a copy of that and you should familiarize with it it will make getting through the process a lot easier for you basically your doctoral project is based on a five chapter approach which is very similar to most dissertations that are out there so the benefit to that is there’s a lot of books on how to complete a dissertation that are out there that you could consult or look at to get ideas if you need some clarity on what goes in each chapter of your doctoral project so consult that manual important factors to consider got ahead of myself there one of the things that you want to make sure that you do is that you pick a topic that you’re truly passionate about okay sometimes we don’t always get the topic that we’re passionate about when we’re working with specific faculty at an institution but you might get the best match that you can in working with the faculty that you have available so it becomes important that whatever that topic is that that faculty chair that you’re working with does understand what it is that you like to do and can’t support you through that process if there’s a mismatch between what you want to do and the interest of the faculty then it’s going to be a struggle for both of you because they’re going to have to try to attempt to master your content as you’re mastering the content yourself so always be thinking about that match between you and your committee member and part of the and part of the the process of the dissertation is you’re going to do this literature review and there’s a lot of information out there and so really I think the approach you want to take is what it is that you want to look at and to find the predominant and current literature that’s out there about the topic that you want because knowledge just grows exponentially every year and so to try to establish that there’s a gap or something is missing becomes difficult and so I think the approach really that more researchers are taking is that what is it that I want to look at and what’s predominantly known in that area right now we all want to change the world I wanted to change the world when I was doing my dissertation the bottom line is you want to done doctoral project and don’t get me wrong the work that you do is going to be important and it’s going to make a contribution but you also want to keep in mind that you want to pick something that you can do so generally speaking we take on way more than we can actually do so unless you have a multi-million dollar grant from which you can hire people to go out and pursue all the areas that you would really like to do think of keeping the scope of your doctoral project doable so a good doctoral project is a done doctoral project and the quoting from your manual page to a good doctoral project will indeed make a meaningful contribution to the field but within a fairly specific or narrow topic area okay doable you want to keep it doable exactly so you go out and you kind of do this literature review and then you think about what questions then might arise from that review so it’s like you’re going to do more than one literature review you kind of do one to figure out what are the questions that kind of come to mind from that review you’re going to kind of have these questions and then you’re going to do a very specific literature review later it may have to refine those questions so we research questions are very important because they guide the entire dissertation okay they’re going to give you the background and the rationale for your chapter one they’re going to provide generally a guide for how your chapter two is going to be organized content wise your methodologies or the or the areas that you’re going to look at to determine what’s important and not important would

have been discussed in your chapter two so it will guide the kinds of indicators or factors that you identify I in your chapter 3 they generally will guide how you present your results in Chapter four ninety-nine point nine percent at a time you will present the results of what you’ve looked at by research question in your results section and then to it is the discussion from which you will provide your findings your recommendations or implications for practice and recommendations for research so research questions are very important and will emerge or become apparent throughout your doctoral project the writing process okay coursework is wonderful we’re all good at it we have a start date we have an end date we have an assignment we write it we’re done with it we feel really good doctoral project not anything like that okay it’s a continuous process from the day you start talking about what you think you want to do to the day you finally defend before graduation right and the reason is somebody might be out there they could speculate as to why is it a continuous process what do you think drives that well let me tell you it’s because as you go through the process you become more expert when you’re starting out with your first chapters of your project chapters 1 2 & 3 its proposed here’s what I think are the important questions here are the important things I think I need to look at then you analyze you compare you look for commonalities and you’re thinking wow I need to kind of go back and refine my one two and three because really I really should have highlighted this a little more and I didn’t write so as you complete your proposal and you start analyzing information you start to see where hmm i might have to tighten up that chapters 1 2 & 3 now now you’ve completed your analysis you start writing about your findings you’re presenting your results you’re thinking about the discussions you’re going to have about those findings and then you realize wow I really need to add this to my chapter 2 because I didn’t provide the depth there that’s really needed now to understand the discussion that I’m having at the end so as you become more expert in your study you’re going to have to go back and you’re going to have to revisit those chapters to reflect that expertise that you have because your chair is not the expert in your study you as individuals are the experts in your studies they’re helping guide you through the process providing focus they let you go off in a direction they reel you back in right but you’re becoming expert and your study and when you graduate you are the expert in the information that you’ve gathered the presentation of that information and now you should be ready to go out and present it talk about it put it into practice when we think about the writing process something that you really really have to work on this consistency what you call something in Chapter one needs to be the same thing you’re calling it when you get to chapter five right so a lot of times we talk I talked to my colleagues about this earlier today is that students will use multiple words for the same thing retention engagement dropout rates attrition right all of them in many ways pointing to the same thing whatever you decide to call it in chapter one call it the same thing throughout the dissertation doesn’t mean you can’t go back and refined it it could be that the word choice that you choose early on you may have to go back and fix the good news is we have word processing right search and find replace all right so that helps us if you have to do some refining so but just be conscientious that there has to be consistency in your word choice and throughout your doctoral project okay when we look at information today we scroll through a lot of information websites were scrolling trying to grasp the information that’s presented to us when we read articles how do we we scroll through them right you look at the abstracts you’re scrolling through information and it’s hard to really pick out what’s important so when I talk about consistency this is the best way to chart out consistency between chapters 1 2 & 3 so chapter 1 is the overview of your study and so you have these four conversations that you’re

having in chapter one your background of the problem your statement of the problem the purpose of the study and your significance of the study now notice that the statement of the problem there’s an arrow going to chapter 2 the statement of the problem is the what of your study what are the things that I want to look at they provide a discussion then of how you arrived at a focus in chapter 2 but they should match your statement of the problem shouldn’t talk about things you don’t write about in chapter 2 and you don’t write about things in chapter 2 that you don’t articulate in your statement of the problem those are areas where consistency is important when you think of chapter 3 your purpose of the study is how you’re going to do your study so it needs to reflect the actual methodology that you’re going to use in your chapter 3 so you don’t want to talk about looking at things in a certain way in chapter one and then how you actually do the study is different in chapter 3 so consistency becomes very important so chapter one overview chapter two is your literature review and then chapter three is going to be where you provide a discussion about how you’re going to look at the areas that are important to your study and what you hope to learn from them okay yes sir dude that’s a five dollar fine all questions aren’t enough at the end will answer questions at the end okay all right so chapter 14 conversations in Chapter one that we’re going to have background to the problem statement of the problem purpose of the study significance of the study and again consistency is important so think of a way of looking at consistency as markers right so if you’re looking at a particular kind of study right somebody give me an example of a study they’re doing you think you may want to do okay post-traumatic stress disorder so if you’re looking at post traumatic stress stress disorder you may want to look at a particular population so in the background of the problem you may establish that you want to look at a focus on veterans right and then in the statement of the problem you want to continue that focus so you’re not going to introduce veterans at the very end or in the middle and the purpose of the study and you haven’t talked about them anywhere else so think of markers I want to look at post-traumatic stress disorder I want to look at a specific kind of post-traumatic stress two-door it could be related to combat you know could be related to rape it could be related to many there’s different ways that people suffer from PTSD right and then you might want to look at a specific population so think of markers as you’re writing about things in your doctoral project and you want to be consistent with with those markers so let me show you a way to do that so visually right we don’t want to scroll through information we want to map it out so in your background of the problem let’s say you were looking at parent involvement okay and so in the background of the problem you’re talking about why why is where you tell us the statistical and for information you tell us what the disparities are what the discrepancies are why look at a problem is the discussion under the background okay so we’re looking at parent involvement we know that parent involvement at home and at school makes a difference it’s a no-brainer you don’t even have to study that anymore because we no that parent involvement makes a difference right but we also want to look at technology so think of the two markers right so now as i move to what then I want to look at right which is going to mirror my chapter 2 right I’m going to write about this stuff in chapter 2 I look at parent involvement I don’t want to look at what we’re doing at school because we already know a lot about that and we know a little bit about what happens at home we know that if there’s a library for kids to read from they’re going to do better in school we know if there’s a place for them to do their homework they’re going to do better in school but what we don’t know a lot about is how do parents view and use technology in the home to support student success so that’s what I want to do that’s the what of my study and I’m going to have a section about that in my chapter 2 the other thing I want to look at is then well what do we need to know about computers in the home themselves right we may want to know do they have high speed internet we may want to know how many computers are actually in the home compared to the number of people that live there we may want to know how old the computers are we may want to know what software is on those computers but that becomes the what of what I want to do and that’s the stuff I’m going to present in chapter 2 i’m going to establish a foundation of understanding the areas that i want to explore the purpose of the study is then how now this discussion is much shorter i want to know the influence or parents

perceptions of technology and how they evaluate that technology and so you talked about how then you want to look at the study which is your methodology cool approach or your chapter 3 and then the last conversation you’re going to have is who and you’re going to think about the stake holders so who’s going to benefit from my study and how right so how our teachers going to benefit about knowing about how parents use computers at home how do a student’s benefit you know will parents be more aware so when you think about the conversations your markers stay the same but how you talking about them is going to change background is why I look at the problem ayman of the problem is what am I going to look at the purpose then is how I want to look at it and then finally the importance is who’s going to benefit and how in a traditional doctoral project or dissertation the significance usually had to do with how you were going to extend the current literature that it was out there or build on a theory that was out there when you’re looking at problems of practice we know very clearly what we’re looking at and so the conversation can then shift to who’s going to benefit then completing my studies your kind of speculating right having completed your studies you can come back and refine it right hence the continuous process of writing on a doctoral project right always having to come back and revisit areas because we come we become more expert so chapter 2 your literature review the most difficult part of the doctoral project is going to be your chapter 2 it is your worst nightmare come true so just get ready for it okay and the reason it’s hard is because there’s a lot of information out there okay so your job is to very become very smart on how to search for information the best first place to start is google scholar barna google scholar is the great first place to start one nearly all the information in there is peer-reviewed journals articles studies so it’s a good place so google scholar if you have a library that your institution is using you can actually input the library information and it will look for it in your library to see if it’s there information that you search for so at my particular institution at the University of Southern California I just go into the settings portion of google scholar enter the name of the school there and now it will find it at USC for me so if it’s in the USC library it will it will highlight it that it’s in our library so these are some helpful tips another helpful tip for searching that’s going to save you a lot of time is a quotation marks so key words in quotation marks means that those words have to show up together to show up in your search so let’s say you entered the words give me to something veterans PTSD if you entered veterans PTSD in google scholar you would probably get 5.5 million hits right and you’re thinking oh my god how do i get through 5.5 million hits right well you may want to put in veterans PTSD in quotation marks because when you just do veterans PTSD it’s going to look for anything that has veterans in it and anything that has PTSD and it and they’re all going to show up okay by putting it in quotation marks those two words have to show up together alright so you could also then put women in there and even narrow the search more but you have to kind of play with these word choices that you’re using and how you search so always a good idea to keep a word document open that’s just what I did today on my doctoral project right and in there if you search for keywords in a certain way just cut and paste them into that document that you search for them this way and in Google Scholar when you use a certain search criteria all you can do is got a cup copy and paste that link right there were those where that word choices and now if you want to find it again all you do is click on that link and it will find it for you again just like that great little tips on how to search for information saves you a lot of time so definitely get good at that then what you want to do is then go into your more specific databases relevant to your field of study which would be psychology right and you can go into those journals and then use those keywords to see what might come up another great thing that google scholar does for you is we want to use current literature for the most part now you may have seminal works that are foundational that are going to be a part of your literature review they should be there but then you make them current with what

we know what’s happening today right google scholar in the left-hand column says everything since 2009 and you click on that and eliminates all the old stuff so it will also make your search current so those are just a couple of tips for when you’re doing reviews in your chapter 2 but basically your chapter 2 is going to have the sections of your literature review which reflect your research questions and then whatever theory or conceptual framework in you’re going to use for your study at the very end you’ll have a summary that then tells us how it all comes together and lead to then how you’re going to do your study in chapter 3 each section of your chapter 2 so if i was doing parent involvement i would have a section called parent involvement that section would have an introduction saying what am i going to present here and why and then i’m going to then present with that focus the evidence that i want to present now there’s generally two ways to present in a section one you know the talking points and you’re going to write to those talking points or you want to establish criteria so you’re going to review current studies than to establish some kind of criteria than that you’re going to use as focus for your doctoral project so let me give you an example of that self-efficacy there are like four or five elements to self-efficacy right that are standard based on the work of bandura so if you were going to do self-efficacy you already know that there’s criteria related to that so you could use that criteria for your talking points maybe what you want to know is how does technology affect these particular areas of self-efficacy is there an impactor is it not an impact does it improve or does it have a negative effect right so those are that that’s the one way you can write you know the talking points you right to the talking point the other way is is you want to establish criteria so maybe like for the technology portion how do parents or what kind of technology is in the home you could say well we want to understand more about the technology in the home in order to do that we want to know then what are the predominant issues or challenges for having computers in the home and then you review the literature and from that at the end you say okay well there are five predominant indicators access to the Internet how many computers are in the home what kind of programs there the ability to evaluate so two ways of writing in a literature review the most importantly is the last bullet here which is drawing conclusions most students do a great job of finding the literature and writing about it it’s the drawing conclusions at the end that that kind of disappears or isn’t there right so you’re providing evidence you’re providing information and now for your study you have to give us some direction then about how then it’s meaningful or important and as the expert in your study only you know how it’s important and meaningful for your study so you have to kind of articulate that for us right so conclusions at the end are very important these conclusions are also very important is because when you ask questions in Chapter three they should be based on these conclusions so the connections between two and three are these conclusions at the end of these sections of your chapter two you don’t ask questions about things you don’t emphasize in chapter two you don’t write about things in chapter 2 that you’re not going to ask questions about in Chapter three so the conclusions piece helps to provide a foundation then here’s what we know about self-efficacy and the influence of technology on self-efficacy now we’re going to ask questions about it in Chapter three does that help alright theoretical frameworks conceptual frameworks they can be difficult you’re looking for the best match so good ideas as you’re reviewing the literature is to see what theoretical frameworks are consent conceptual frameworks are they using in these particular studies sometimes you can build the framework or the conceptual framework for your study so you might use a portion of what somebody else does and do another work for the other pieces maybe that are missing from that and a good example of that would be if you were looking at parent involvement again epstein did some great work on parent involvement said here the six characteristics of parent involvement and it’s great if you’re looking at white middle class standards but what might be missing from that typology that she established because it doesn’t take culture into consideration so while you could use it as a template for predominant white middle class standards you might have to add understandings of cultures and how they influence parent involvement order to get a complete

picture that would be building a framework to cover the aspects of your study don’t be upset if you like it does I can’t get something that covers everything in some cases you just don’t cover everything and you just articulate what’s not covered but you’re still going to ask questions about it so don’t it but you should have between your theory and the items that you’re going to look at at least an eighty-five percent fit if you don’t have eighty-five percent of what you’re looking at covered then you’re going to have to do a little more work on your theory and approach to present in your theory is to talk about what are the origins of the theory where did it come from when you look at some theories there’s many approaches that are out there there might be two or three predominant approaches to a specific theory so tell us whose version you’re going to use right and then describe that version if it’s got five elements described the five elements and how they’re important in your study emphasize the areas that are important and then in the end tell us what others think about it you know others may say that there’s some challenges or there’s some flaws that’s ok let us know that there’s good and bad that will only add credibility your study that you’re looking at it from a very unbiased approach okay so literature review should address your research questions you don’t write it by out things in chapter 2 that you’re not going to ask questions about in chapter 3 right so make sure that you have a match in chapter 3 the most important piece not that any are not important but the most important piece is going to be where you start to establish the criteria the indicators are the factors that you want to look at and those really need to be aligned to a research question so if you think of your research question if you’re going to do if you’re going to do an analysis of post-traumatic stress disorder for veterans right there might be key criteria that you’re looking for right and so you would have talked about that key criteria in your chapter 2 so in your chapter 3 you want to have a discussion than of how you want to look at those criterias but they should match the information that you’ve written about in your chapter 2 it could be that you want to learn you know the impact have been returned from the war and does it lead to homelessness you know or what percentage what causes homelessness things like that so research question indicators what are the kinds of things I’m going to be looking at the more specific you are there and you can almost think of it as a quantitative approach as you’re identifying what then is the the predominant factor or your dependent variable and what are the independent variables but just looking at the information what what’s the main area that I want to look at and then what are going to be the factors that affect that and how might I look at those but kind of identify those by a research question then when you go to do your results it’s much easier than to look at that information than just gathering a bunch of information than just trying to make sense of it so try to keep it focused to the research question chapter 4 presentation of the results ninety-nine point nine percent of the time you’re going to present results by research question that’s why you’re doing the study is to answer your research questions however there are occasions where there are predominant themes that emerge indicators factors that that show up across all the research questions that it then becomes more important to present by theme than by research question because then it just becomes redundant it’s like you’re reporting the same thing in each research question it’s better than to just report by theme what you do want to do is in the introduction of the results question is articulate how all these themes answer the questions right and then present by theme again most of the time it’s by research question chapter 5 you have studied for four years at Cal southern to write chapter five you’ve invested all this time effort dollars multiple cups of starbucks coffee right to write chapter five this is it this is where you get to tell it all okay all right so as you’re reviewing those articles in your chapter 2 when you run across that article that just sings to your heart that when you read it you’re like oh my god that is the best thing I have ever had it’s the introduction it’s clear it’s it’s

awesome right keep that article is an example of how you want to write your chapter 5 because if you hear a voice in something that you’re reading then that probably says a little bit about how you may want to write your chapter 5 right the rest of it is pretty boring you got to do it you’re passionate about it but it’s not that exciting chapter five is the exciting part here is where you’re going to discuss your findings implications for practice recommendations for research so this is where you want to put all your energy all your focus most people want to write it in four hours and be done no put all that time and to give yourself time to walk away from it think about what you’ve learned and come back and revisit it a couple of times right because remember you’ve gone through a long process you’ve taken in a lot of information and that doesn’t mean that your brain is keeping up with all the information that’s that it’s taking in now in many cases they require you to do a presentation for your defense always prepare your presentation before you send the final copy of your draft to your committee because inevitably you will write stuff into your presentation that you did not write into your doctoral project and it’s because you’re still thinking about it you’re still passionate about you’re still learning from it and you can liken that to a time when somebody asks you a question you didn’t know the answer right you’re like I know that that’s I know that right and then three days later when you walk into starbucks you’re like oh that’s what it is right because your brain was still looking for the answer when you’re working on your doctoral project it’s still going to be looking for answers to questions that you ask when you’re presenting your results when you’re writing your findings it’s still going to be working so take a week away from it come back revisit it really you know put that passion into it that you started with implications all right so findings let me go back one when you assert your findings right you should be very clear about how many findings you have right and when you present the findings you’re going to assert the finding tell us how it’s important relative for your study right and then compare it to the literature that you reviewed in Chapter two and really there’s only three things that can happen it’s these are the same it’s the opposite or something new emerged one of those three things is going to happen relevant to your finding ok so you assert your finding you tell us how it’s important relative to your study and you could think of a decision tree like okay did I really get the answer that I thought I was going to get and if I didn’t then that could lead to a recommendation for research right if I really got an answer to what I was looking for then that could lead to an implication for practice right so be thoughtful about your findings if you have five findings you should have six paragraphs an introduction that tells us what the five findings are and then a paragraph minimum discussion of each of your findings right remember this is what you’ve done your four years of work for is to write this last chapter implications for practice inevitably sometimes somebody has 10 of the and I’m like nobody wants to hear ten implications for practice you know it’s kind of like walking up to somebody and say you know what I have some recommendations on how you can improve your business there’s only 12 right I mean what the person says oh I’ve got a meeting right versus if you come up and say you know what I have some recommendations that i think would improve your business here are the three I would recommend now I have your attention for at least the next five or ten minutes you’re going to hear me out on three and generally speaking after about four it starts to become redundant usually you start to repeat yourself right because you have maybe two or three research questions right so to have more implications for practice then you have questions generally would start to become redundant so you can probably collapse them if things are important write them down but then give yourself give yourself time to synthesize it condense it down into something that’s really meaningful or maybe you do truly have five implications but maybe you just want to focus on the top three for your for your presentation for your what you’re going to present in your chapter five most importantly implications to practice must be linked to a finding in your study not another study your study right so you’ve captured all this information you’ve written about it and

now when you make a recommendation for practice and implication for practice it has to be based on a finding in your study so you’re going to assert what your implication is you’re going to link it to the finding what you learned in your study and then you’re going to discuss what that recommendation is going to be recommendations for research are going to be based on what you learned about doing your study maybe you could have been included additional criteria you may have wanted to look for studies that were longitudinal just whatever your recommendation are are for research are based on what you’ve learned from doing your study the how of your study and then maybe what you might include for other researchers to consider if they were going to replicate your study how could they make it better you could think from that perspective most importantly in the doctoral project journey your chair is always right just want you to know you are becoming expert in your field but the chair is always right so remember they are committed to your success there is not a chair out there that wakes up in the morning has that cup of coffee and says hmm how can i sabotage smith today doesn’t happen their job is to make sure that you’re doing a relevant competent comprehensive study that you can be proud of and that the school can be proud of that’s their job their job is to guide you through that process now they’re going to want to let you run think of it as fishing right they’re going to let you cast and you can reel in some stuff but if that’s not working out they may tell you you may need to cast in this direction that direction really isn’t working out right not really fitting in with that theory that you’re using the way you thought it was so let’s go over here and let’s work in this direction that’s their job again they want to give you license they want you to do passionate and exciting work but they also want to keep it doable and they also want to make sure that it’s that it’s a great work that you can be proud of they want you to succeed so what are some of the things that you need to do when you’re working with your chair it’s your responsibility as a student to communicate with your chair not their job to hunt you down you’re in the top eight percent of the individuals in our nation you’ve got to demonstrate you can manage your time and that you can be responsible for this project right they shouldn’t have to come hunt you down where’s your draft you should be working with them now do things come up life happens do we get behind schedule yes that doesn’t mean that they think you’re not capable that doesn’t mean that they think you’re incompetent they know life happens send them oh the kids were sick my draft isn’t ready I’ll have it next week sentiment update let them know I’m behind schedule here’s what I’m planning on doing and then that lets them know when to expect your drafts I know that for a lot of faculty that I work with there’s nothing worse than you’ve scheduled time to review drafts and they don’t send them because now you’re preparing for a eera some conference or a class and now when they do send the draft you don’t have the time to read it you know so the faculty member it is you know is stuck they want to be responsive to the student but they’re going to have to put it on hold while they take care of the things that they need to do so you know keep in mind that when you schedule review times with your chairs that they’ve calendar time to read that draft and now when you don’t send it they have to move on to other things and now you have to kind of wait for them to get an opening in their schedule to get feedback on that draft so keep them informed let them know so you want to be courteous my draft is late you know I look forward to your feedback I’m ready to move you know meet with you as soon as as soon as the drafts going to be ready and generally the faculty member will send a note back saying I can read it next week on Thursday we can talk about it the following week you know or something like that so communicate with your chair remember they want you to succeed so don’t be afraid of them communicate with them you’re having an academic dialogue with your chairs you’re no longer students in the classroom right and papers and turning them in you’re engaged in a conversation with them they’re learning from you you’re learning from them right so you can talk about well what if I wanted to do this what if I decided I i do want to include this you can talk to them about it when they say hmm not really feeling good about that then you need to stick with the focus they provided you so but you know work with your chair most importantly have a plan and work your plan you know create workshops I know

many of you are online virtually there but you can you and say okay we’re going to check in in the morning we’re going to write and then we’re going to send our drafts to each other read them and then continue to work and send them again at night but you can check in with a group it could be you know by location it could be by time just figure out a way to connect with other members that have similar interests and keep yourself on time with your plan other tips oh my gosh save your work and more than one place I actually had a student to call me what time do you have a copy of my proposal like it’s a matter of fact I do and the student got lucky because he didn’t send it to me digitally he dropped it off at my office okay a hard copy and I don’t keep hard copies I throw him away but I put it because it was printed on one side I put it in my recycle file underneath my desk because I was going to print to the other side of it so I’d put it down there and forgot about it pretty much and so he says I’m defending in three days and I cannot my computer crashed and I do not have a copy of my proposal and I said well let me look in your folder because if you would have sent me something I’ll have it in your folder so i looked in there did not have a recent copy because he had brought it in hard copy i said but wait all right and i go digging through these recycle papers that i have underneath my desk and there it is this proposal all three chapters i take it to the Xerox machine I scan it send it to my desk convert it to a word document from the PDF and send it back to him and he defended three days later you’ve you do not want that to happen so this idea of emailing your draft to yourself to you know however you want to do it do it I think Dropbox is excellent for keeping dissertation dress let me tell you why I think it’s great one it houses it in the cloud but you can have dropbox on multiple computers so you can have it on your a laptop and you can have it on your computer at home and one stay go online it updates and sinks to the most recent version so even if you lose your laptop and it falls into the fountain is you’re crossing the park having finished that fourth cup of coffee that day right and you’re jittery and there goes into the fountain all you have to do is buy another computer download dropbox and there is all your dissertation paperwork your fire your fire files your studies your PDFs everything is in there the other reason it’s good is because if you’re working with somebody else and you want to share a file you can create a folder invite that person to share in that folder now you can put drafts in there for each other to read the one thing you do want to be careful with it with drop boxes when you do move something one from one folder to the other it doesn’t copy it it actually moves it so anytime you put something in the share folder you copy and paste it in but i do love dropbox i use it extensively i find it very useful very helpful if i needed to get something right now i’ll have to do is go online and i could pull up anything that i’m working on or have worked on for the last seven years using dropbox so it’s it’s an effective tool to monitors Wow every laptop is designed to attach another monitor so you can have a PDF up on one monitor and be typing but you’re writing about on the other screen right I could not do my work the work that I do with students without two monitors because I can put their old wrap up on the other screen and know whether or not they’ve been taking my advice right so if they’re not addressing the feedback I can just send it back to them and say when you really want to work send it to me again right because you’ve changed one sentence you know in your chapter one which really doesn’t reflect all the feedback that I gave you right so those are the advantages if you get feedback from your chair you can put that feedback up on one screen and then be addressing the feedback in another draft so using two screens very good if you have an iPad you can use the iPad as this it’s great you can pull up a PDF there scroll through it and be working on your laptop the two screens in whatever form is very good always review your work or have someone else look at your work before you send it to your chair always always have somebody else look at your work I am amazed at how many drafts I get with spelling errors I’m like duh there’s a big red line underneath it right that says it’s not spelled right

obviously after that fifth cup of coffee you couldn’t see the red line anymore before sitting your draft so have somebody look at it yeah they check your APA they check your headings just you know somebody else you know we’re always thinking that our work is not good enough well to us it never is okay but others learn from reading our drafts we learn from reading other people’s drafts help strengthen your skills help strengthens there’s so have somebody else look at it first impressions are lasting impressions so if they get that draft with every other sentence has a green line which means you your Brammer is poor they don’t want to see that again have somebody else look at it for you and to they can check to see if you’re doing introductions are you know does it make sense are you drawing conclusions you know are you is your word choice consistent you know they can they can help you with that that concludes my briefing subject to any of your questions yes sir a lot of learners have a lot of questions coming in great I wanted to go ahead and give our in-person audience some time to kind of formulate your questions and take some questions from the virtual audience first okay that’s great okay one learner rights that i often find articles in google scholar however i can’t find them in EBSCO do you have any suggestions for that or any thoughts EBSCO EBSCO must be some kind of database that they’re using if you can’t find it then you may have to buy it so make sure that it really is an article that you must have generally speaking I don’t have too many difficulties finding stuff but Barbara seems to have an answer for us one way censure Cal southern students we have a wonderful librarian Jennifer Hill it’s jay hill at cal southern edu she’s more than happy to assist you with any of the databases as well as on our website in our virtual library it’ll say how to find articles and it will show you how to do that as well it has tutorials so with all of that I would think you’d be able to locate your articles so contact your librarian if you have questions about an article that you can’t get access to thank you barbara saved me great thank you um how do you overcome writer’s block when you have 50 articles in front of you and you feel stuck on how to proceed hmm okay so how do you how do you overcome writer’s block you have 50 articles and you got to figure out you might want to start by grouping them like okay so highlight maybe the factors that they look at and look for predominant factors right so you can just put out in pencil in the margin or highlight it using a PDF highlighter you could look for predominant indicators and then group them by indicator the other thing you might look at is who are they sourcing and maybe what are the common sources that they have across a particular interest because you may find then that the results will be very similar and will help strengthen that part of your study so you can cluster by indicator or by the literature they consulted or by framework most importantly just right just tell yourself I’ve got to write at least a paragraph if you’re if you’re talking about chapter 2 and generally that’s where the articles come in handy is in writing your chapter two is that you may say okay if I was going to write about these articles what might I want to say about them so what would be my focus and why just try to write a paragraph about what would I present from these articles and why and then that starts to give you direction than about how to organize them and go from there great couple more when researching what are of the secrets to generating better research words for topics a student for example stated that she’s doing a topic on adolescents and substance abuse she searched adolescent substance abuse adolescents substance abuse programs adolescent and recovery programs with quotes and she says that they’re coming up with similar articles what are your recommendations for search words other than the parentheses or quotes or google scholar well first of all if she’s

getting good responses with those word choices I don’t think you need to change him so if you’re getting like a thousand hits with that particular word choice then you don’t need to change you could say you could use preteen you could use teenagers adolescents grade school middle school depending on what the focus is but it sounded like it was what was the other keyword it was adolescent substance abuse is abuse so it could be addiction you could use addiction what are some other words a substance abuse addiction dependence right but if those are the predominant key factors then you may have to extend that to include social media or something like that to see if that adds more insights into how they’re dealing with substance abuse great thank you well let’s go ahead and open up the questions to our in-person audience Aloha I’m Willie Taguchi I’m taking that theories of personality okay it sounds like the doing a thoroughly review we are able to identify certain gaps and literature’s or research that’s not done I guess my question here is what kind of resources do we have access to that would help us to to find that the that these areas are not being researched on research well I think the first thing if you’re going to say gap in the literature or that something is missing in order to assert that in a doctoral project or a dissertation you’re going to have to at least at the beginning of your chapter two is provide a three or paragraph three or four paragraph discussion about the keywords that you search which databases you searched and what you were looking for in those searches so that has to be very very clear in order to say that there’s a gap that there’s something is missing so it doesn’t mean that there isn’t one but you have to be very clear about how you establish that so if you used what are one of the predominant databases for ed psych or for psychology ProQuest right so you would have to say that in ProQuest you searched keywords in what particular ways and then what those results proved were you looking for a period of time we’re looking for influencer effects from other indicators so you really have to tell us how you were searching to do that and just kind of pu off on there that answer your question it does yeah so basically you got to do more research to identify right the other thing too is if you say that you’ve established a gap in working with my colleagues we see that where individuals say oh there’s a gap in something is to actually take the words that you’re saying is a gap put that in quotation marks and google it and see what happens now if you don’t get anything back then you do have a gap right so search it in the way that you’re actually asserting it and I have seen it a lot of it has to do with social media work in social media there will be particular gaps so but again it doesn’t mean you don’t have one but you want to make sure that you articulate again which databases you searched in hell would you consider like using up any type of peer group or pure study that would submit a your ideas to a like a blog well I mean those who are critically tear things apart oh absolutely and then try to see determine if that is something that might be worth while pursuing sure absolutely i mean peer groups are very very important i’m a strong proponent for writing groups and peer groups one of the peer-review scare review is yet peer reviews is part of being a part of a group of some type you want to make sure that the group that you’re with our maybe peers from your university it could be somebody from outside your university but you want to make sure that they are truly expert in their field and know what they’re talking about which which brings me to another recommendation is if you want to use somebody’s theory or conceptual framework it is not uncommon to send that person an email and say I’m looking at this in this way what do you think and they will generally send you a no back oh that’s a great idea you might also want to try this or here’s some work that would support that so we have many of our students that will send notes to individuals who’ve written a particular article and say if I wanted to expand on that could I do it in this way and or would I be going in the wrong direction and they will generally get back to you anytime they’re advancing their work they’re happy so yeah peer groups are good for reviews you do want

to make sure that they are they understand the formatting you use your structure your approach in looking at your doctoral project it models a 5 chapter dissertation which means that most anybody who’s working on a doctoral project or dissertation process would be able to see the similarities across that that helped thank you very much welcome I just wanted to piggyback on that answer I would also think that if you were researching in general for your chapter 2 that you would be looking at articles and then you would see what their hypothesis are or their research questions so perhaps you might want to reformulate your research question because perhaps it’s not a very good one if you’re not coming up with anything that’s substantial so you could rethink things just by the review of the literature very good any other questions I like to thank you for that presentation it’s been very helpful even though I’m not quite there yet I’m just on my sixth cause somebody I just asked about having a writer’s block sometimes we run away with what we are writing what are the suggestions you have when we’re not want to draw my god that’s you know I see that a lot that’s a that’s a very good question and it’s very easy to do and again it’s about using markers so even when you’re writing a paper for a class you hate you may have a particular focus for that class and so in that introduction for your paper you want to tell us what what it is that you want to look at right and why right what is the issue what is the discrepancy what is the disparity and it could be very broad it could be that maybe there are five or six indicators that influence this particular phenomenon right but you want to focus on three so you set the focus for your paper I’m going to focus on these three right so now as you present in your paper you’re going to have a sub heading for the first area focus one for the second area of focus and the third one for the final area and then you write about what is known in each of those categories right now anytime you have a heading you’re going to have an introduction some evidence and some conclusions so each of these areas that you’ve established you want to tell us you know why it’s important provide the evidence what is learned about that issue and then what does it mean given some direction some understanding if if we understand knowledge doesn’t mean it changes our beliefs about things we may have knowledge but that doesn’t mean it’s going to change our beliefs about things right so that could be a conclusion so you provide information you draw a conclusion about it what does it mean have you established some criteria have you established an understanding of something so right about that in the conclusions for each of these little sections and at the end of your paper you can say you know in examining adolescents and substance abuse we know that with the advent of social media we should be taking on a new approach and so we should be seeing providing information using these venues that you know you have advertisement for purses and all kinds of things that come up when you use Facebook or Twitter or any website so why not have information that’s going to benefit society be there as well so I’m just making this up I don’t know but it does sound good didn’t there’s that could be a research topic right there right this you know especially when we think of the travesties in recent news about how social media led to the suicide of two very young women you know they just weren’t able to handle all this stress that went with that so I mean papers are like that have markers right to those markers and keep that focus again you can in your introduction tell us what the breath is you know when you think about substance abuse it includes all these things I want to focus on these two and then you write about those two things and those two if it’s not on those two things then you delete it right that’s how are a couple other questions from our virtual audience couple learners are questioning again what exactly was Dropbox if you could drop box so Dropbox is a cloud program and you just type in dropbox under google and it will bring up dropbox and you download the program onto your computer and basically what to do what it does is it creates a folder and anything that you put in that folder will have a little icon to the left of it it’s either going to be blue that it’s working and updating something or a green check mark that everything in there is updated so

when you put something in that folder it uploads it into this cloud and now when you put dropbox on another computer and you download dropbox onto that computer it will download those files onto that computer as well so it doesn’t matter what computer you work on as soon as you get on to the internet or Wi-Fi it’s going to connect ensure that those files are updated and then you can use those files as a resource but it’s a way of again of saving your information because I don’t think anybody used thumbs thumb drives anymore I don’t really see those as much they can use Google Docs you can use Dropbox you can use what is it iCloud it doesn’t matter just have a second place to store your data if you have to use a thumb drive make sure it’s new you know not wiggly at the end when you try to use it you know make sure that it’s replace it often you know laptops right if your laptop is over three years old you might want to consider getting a new one before starting the doctoral project there’s nothing more irritating than trying to work on your doctoral project and your computer is one week behind you you know it’s still processing it slow it’s got stuff on it right so you know you want to make sure it’s going to make it through the process with you so it’s really old get a new one so it’ll take you through to the end okay great perfect yeah all the students here have a SkyDrive account it so it’s associate with Microsoft’s Oh perfect so all the students have a7 gig SkyDrive box they can use its especially with our email account so they can log in to SkyDrive live.com we can put a link up for you guys but everybody has your own kind of sky driver drop box it’s a similar but the good thing it’s it so it’s associate with your email account so when you you open up a skydrive you actually gonna open it up and you don’t need Word or Excel the sky der lets you open those those applications right from the web so scarred ozel them there’s even SkyDrive applications on your iPhone in your iPad so if you’re counseling student that’s a really good solution and let’s go so guys drive now so with any type of program whether it’s Dropbox or SkyDrive you want to make sure that you understand about how does it handle revisions like with Dropbox when you open it when you open up the word document and you make revisions and you save it it’s saved you’ll need to know how SkyDrive works sometimes you have to download the document make revisions and then upload it again to save it so you just want to make sure you know how it works that’s a great point that’s one of the few of the great things about sky drivers they do do a revision so your application the new version of office if you have the new version of office lets you use your SkyDrive to take truck keep track of those revisions so you’ll see the revisions on your word and word application so it it’s what is it sorry I like Dropbox but schedule does a better job to keep keeping track of those revisions you go so it’s a really great application and it’s free so just talk to anything yeah sorry this right this event is sponsored by Skype thank you thank you there’s so many out there now but it’s very important to know how they work great any more questions from our in-person audience faculty any questions about how to deal with students or how to handle the process I’m here there’s not a question you can ask that I haven’t dealt with in the seven years of working with dissertations and students hundreds I’ve worked with hundreds one learner had a question about what do you suggest to a student if they are researching subject matter that has very little research information an example do they give a topic no okay all right so it does happen sometimes that you’re looking at a particularly like in some cases aspects of social media there is limited research because the phenomenon and the effects of social media are so new to many of us so okay there you go african-american men who stuttered probably not a whole lot of studies about that but what you can do is say okay what do we know about speaking and african-american men in other arenas you could look at what do we know at you know issues and challenges in grade school you know is it is it linked to a traumatic experience you could what are some other things anything okay so speech impairment in general issues a say again there you go look at James Earl Jones so so what you want to do is if there’s you can look at a similar

topic we do this a lot in education sometimes we’re looking at a phenomenon and there’s not a lot about it maybe in the field of education but there may be some work that’s been done in social work or in business we had a group of students that did work on globalization and the impact of globalization there wasn’t a lot in education at that time so they went and they pulled a model from the business field and used that model to guide their study so if it is limited then look at pulling information in another discipline and saying here’s what we know in that discipline and now within this discipline we want to see if if there’s anything there my caution in that is you really need to talk to your chair because you’re doing a meta-analysis kind of approach in this so it has to be based on work that’s completed so you may not be able to do that study that would be my caution there is that if it’s so limited you can’t find anything written that you’re actually not going to be able to do an analysis for any research questions