Gradpsych magazine // january 2005 gradpsych // starting the s offer tips on picking a topic, conducting a lit review and narrowing your 've watched other classmates sweating over their dissertation topics, poring over the literature, agonizing over their research design, writing and editing.
Now, it's your y, dissertation advisers say, students identify a research interest in the first or second year of their program and then use that general area as a theme throughout their coursework.
Instead, experts encourage students to view the dissertation as a teaching exercise, in which they learn how to conduct, design and analyze independent research.Who has spoken at apa conferences on writing the s offer the following advice on tackling these beginning stages of your dissertation-from getting organized to narrowing your topic to identifying your problem and research , take it one chapter at a time, dissertation advisers deciding your topic, keep in mind that you will undoubtedly spend the next few years immersed in it, says psychologist john cone, phd, a professor emeritus at alliant international university (aiu) and co-author with sharon foster, phd, of "dissertations and theses from start to finish" (apa, 1993). Consider asking the faculty member to be a part of your dissertation committee, which will help guide you in your an empirical paper that interests you and see what future research is suggested in the discussion about term papers you enjoyed writing and choose a topic that reflects those through literature reviews in your areas of interest-such as in the annual review of psychology, psychological bulletin and clinical psychology topics in which you are overly emotionally involved-such as research on depression if you or a family member is depressed. Such emotional elements can interfere with your research, cone narrow your focus, identify what within your chosen topic area interests you, says foster, a psychology professor at aiu. Ernst-who is in the university of texas at austin's individual differences and evolutionary psychology program-has spent her entire graduate career researching behavioral genetics.
In particular, her dissertation investigates the genetic factors that influence problem behavior development over the life span.Nate tomcik-a fifth-year doctoral student in the clinical psychology program at the university of tennessee-has an interest in his research on therapists' views of couples therapy because it allowed him to integrate research with his clinical work with couples.
It's important to remember that the dissertation is a marathon, not a sprint, and lukewarm feelings can turn cold quickly.If i didn't love my dissertation idea as much as i do, i know it would have been much harder to stay on track and focused," he you've identified a topic, the next step is to write a review of the literature in the area.
The lit review section will include a brief introduction to your topic, introduce key concepts and review the existing be prepared: the lit review often is the most difficult part of the dissertation, foster maintains.It's nothing your classes haven't prepared you to take on, foster and foster also suggest that students:Determine how experts in the field have organized their thinking by reading chapters or integrative articles they've meta-analyses, journal articles or books on the topic and scan their reference sections for other fy key journals that cover the topic and scan their table of contents from the past five years for electronic bibliographies-such as psycinfo (which contains nearly 2 million citations of journal articles, books and dissertations in psychology) or the education resources information center, or eric, which offers a database of journal and other education fy major authors in the area and search for them by name in databases, such as psyclit, to determine if they've written on other related ine if related research might be published under different example, foster says in her research on girls' aggression, "aggression" as a keyword didn't cover it. Ask your dissertation committee-which usually comprises three or four faculty members you choose when you first begin your dissertation-for feedback on whether they believe you'll be able to recruit enough participants or obtain animals, if needed, dissertation advisers her extensive lit review, ernst was able to pinpoint her research questions for her dissertation on problem behavior development, including: are there predictable developmental trajectories for problem behaviors?
She identified these questions by finding the gaps within the problem behavior development the statement of the problem and research questions will be lumped in the introduction of your dissertation, which provides an overview of your study.
But, while the introduction is sometimes the first chapter in your dissertation, don't feel compelled to have it be the first thing you do, says framingham state college's stoops.
Writing the intro first helped me to organize my thoughts about gaps in current research and helped me to identify what new and relevant information i would be adding to this line of research," she er methods you choose, even these beginning stages to your dissertation may seem overwhelming.
He suggests committing 10 to 20 hours per week for 12 to 18 months to avoid becoming a casualty to the all but dissertation (abd) label. Way to get a peer network for your dissertation: join the apags dissertation r is taking a class on the dissertation process.
That certainly helped chris bernuth, a sixth-year counseling psychology doctoral student at university of missouri-columbia, to stay on track.Very smart people can become abd because they procrastinate or think they can write the dissertation in a couple of all-night sessions, and you cannot do that with a dissertation," foster stoops was working on her dissertation, she combated tendencies to procrastinate by setting deadlines with her dissertation chair. One way to set those deadlines, cone says, is to list each step in chronological order and then use it to create a milestone most importantly, cone says students can be confident about their ability to complete the dissertation.
But fear not: this article is the first in a six-part gradpsych guide to starting, researching, writing and defending your to find a specific psychology resultsa means of expressionthe study examined the influence positive and negative affect has on children's emotion recognition.
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