Handbook for Doctoral Students in Education/Guiding questions

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Guiding questions

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Once you can answer all questions, you should be ready to defend your dissertation. However, you need to start somewhere!

  1. What is your area of interest? Why do you care about THAT? Why do YOU care about that?
  2. What is the practical problem you want to address?
  3. What is the theoretical problem you want to address? In other words, what knowledge we are lacking?
  4. What is you hunch about a possible theoretical solution?
  5. What are the two-three key concepts you are planning to use to think about this problem?
  6. Why do you need each of them? What is each concept’s purpose? How all of them fit with each other, and why do you need all three?
  7. What do you think is already known about your topic?
  8. Which fields or subfields, which “schools” or research traditions crated this knowledge? Do you know any big shots?
  9. What can you add to what people have already found?
  10. What is your impression of the state of the field(s) with which you’re working?
  11. What is the title of your dissertation?
  12. What are your empirical methods? What’s the project?
  13. What is the hypothesis?
  14. What is your conceptual framework? Please use narrative, not a picture.
  15. What is the foundational literature for your topic?
  16. How do you evaluate the state of foundational literature?
  17. What are the core research findings you will be using?
  18. What is new in your project?
  19. Divide literature in groups in a logical way; explain how these different groups of lit have a job to do in your dissertation.
  20. Tell a short narrative about the research literature you will be using.