How to write a Phd Thesis proposal sample

how to defend your phd thesis and how to publish your phd thesis and how to plan your phd thesis and how to structure your phd thesis and how to format a phd thesis
Dr.JohnParker Profile Pic
Published Date:01-07-2017
Your Website URL(Optional)
Ph.D. DISSERTATION MANUAL CURRY SCHOOL OF EDUCATION UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA 7/22/15 Part I: Procedures Important Deadlines Students must meet strict deadlines in order to graduate at a specific time of year. These deadlines concern the date of announcing a dissertation defense, the date of a successful dissertation defense, and the date when the final manuscript must be uploaded to LIBRA, the University of Virginia (UVA) open-access repository. st For spring graduation the defense must be successfully completed by April 1 . Students must submit the title and signature pages to the Curry Office of Admissions and st Student Affairs by April 28 and submit the final document to LIBRA by May 1 . st For summer graduation the defense must be successfully completed by July 1 . Students must submit the title and signature pages to the Curry Office of Admissions and th st Student Affairs by July 29 and submit the final document to LIBRA by August 1 . th For fall graduation the defense must be successfully completed by November 15 . Students must submit the title and signature pages to the Curry Office of Admissions and st Student Affairs by December 1 and submit the final document to LIBRA by December 3rd. A dissertation proposal defense must be publically announced by the Curry School’s Office of Admissions and Student Affairs two weeks in advance. Likewise, a dissertation defense must be publicly announced by the Curry Office of Admissions and Student Affairs two weeks in advance. See: r_Capstone_proposal_or_final_defense.pdf. Schedule of Dissertation Tasks and Accomplishments As soon as the student has obtained the agreement of a faculty member to be the dissertation chair (or two faculty have agreed to be co-chairs), the student needs to agree on a tentative schedule for completing the various tasks leading to the dissertation defense. This will include anticipated dates for the following: • submission of drafts of the proposal to the advisor; • feedback from the advisor regarding the drafts; • with the advisor’s consent, submission of the proposal to committee members; • proposal defense; • completing any needed changes; • submitting IRB application and making changes needed for approval; • planning and implementing data collection; • planning and implementing data analysis; • submission of drafts of dissertation chapters to the advisor; 1 • feedback from the advisor regarding the drafts; • scheduling the final defense when advised to do so; • submission of the dissertation to committee members; and • defense of the dissertation. Anticipated dates may need to be revised along the way. The student must maintain a realistic schedule that allows sufficient time for each step in the process. For instance, students need to allow time for the project chair to provide feedback on drafts of the proposal, analyses for the dissertation, or various versions of the proposal and dissertation. The student will also need to allow time for committee members to read the proposal and final dissertation documents. When developing a timeline, students need to recognize that many Curry faculty members are on nine-month contracts and may not be available during the summer months. The time allowed for reading and feedback on drafts submitted by the student to the chair is a matter of negotiation between them. Students and chairs should recognize that committee members need at least two weeks to read the proposal and final dissertation. Therefore, students are required to submit their proposal and dissertations at least two weeks prior to their defense date. Sample Timeline. The following series of steps is an example of what a student may follow in the process of completing a dissertation. 1. Delimit area of interest. 2. Find a dissertation chair appropriate to the area of interest. 3. With the chair, form a dissertation committee. 4. Confer with the chair and committee to develop a proposal. 5. With the chair’s consent, determine a date and time when all committee members can attend the dissertation proposal defense. 6. Submit an announcement to the Curry School of Education’s Admissions and Student Affairs Office two weeks prior to the date of the proposal defense. 7. Two weeks prior to the date of the defense, distribute the dissertation proposal to the all committee members. 8. Defend the dissertation proposal. 9. After a successful defense, submit Institutional Review Board (IRB) forms for approval, if appropriate. 10. After receiving IRB approval, conduct the study by collecting and analyzing data according to the research design. 11. Work closely with the chair and relevant committee members while revising chapters 1 – 3 and writing chapters 4 and 5 (for traditional dissertations). 12. With the chair’s consent, determine a date and time when all committee members can attend the dissertation defense. 13. Submit an announcement to the Curry School of Education’s Office of Admissions and Student Affairs two weeks prior to the date of the dissertation defense. 2 14. Two weeks prior to the date of the defense, distribute the dissertation to all committee members. 15. Defend the dissertation. 16. Incorporate edits pursuant to the committee’s recommendations. 17. Submit title page, signature page, and other required documents to the Office of Admissions and Student Affairs before the specified deadlines for doctoral dissertations. 18. Upload dissertation to LIBRA. Dissertation Committee The student and the committee chair jointly select the indivduals they would like to invite to be part of the Ph.D. dissertation committee. Subsequently, the student invites the members to serve. At least three committee members must be Curry faculty, and one from the student’s home program must serve as the chair or co-chair. At least four members of this committee must be UVA faculty members. Consistent with University’s policy, eligible faculty are those who are at the assistant professor rank or higher. A fifth committee member may be added, as described below. Committee members are described below. 1. The dissertation chair (or two co-chairs) is the first line of communication between the student and the other committee members. This person must be a member of the Curry faculty. Curry has an approval process for faculty to become a mentor. Only approved mentors are allowed to be dissertation chairs. Co-mentors cannot chair a dissertation alone. They must work in collaboration as a co-chair with a full mentor. 2. A content expert most likely from the home program possesses the necessary content expertise for the student’s area of inquiry. Any member of the committee, including the chair, may be designated as the committee member with the relevant content expertise. 3. A methods expert with expertise consistent with the student’s research question(s). Any member of the committee, including the chair, may be designated as the committee member with the relevant methodological expertise. 4. An outside member or faculty representative who must be housed outside the student’s home program and preferably outside of the student’s department. Any faculty member eligible to serve on dissertation committees may serve in this role. The representative’s role is to provide outside insights into the student’s conceptual, theoretical, methodological, and/or content area assumptions. Recently retired faculty or faculty who have recently transitioned out of Curry can serve as a fourth member within 24 months of their separation; after this time, they th would default to the 5 member. 5. An optional fifth member may serve on the committee if it is deemed appropriate by the student and the chair. Faculty members from outside the University can only serve as the committee’s fifth member. Visiting faculty, retired faculty, and professional research staff may serve as the fifth member of the committee. 3 The Dissertation Committee card should be downloaded from the Curry website: Students should obtain signatures of all committee members and the signature of their department chairperson. Students are responsible for choosing a topic, submitting proofread drafts of materials to the chair, and scheduling meetings for the defense of the proposal and final dissertation defense. Students are expected to maintain contact with the chair throughout the process to confirm that the research and writing is following the agreed-upon plan. The project is the student’s responsibility and not that of the chair, but the student should keep the chair informed of problems and progress. All members of the student’s committee have a shared responsibility for ensuring high-quality scholarship. Chairs are responsible for reading drafts of manuscripts according to the agreed-upon schedule, giving editorial and substantive feedback, and working with their advisees until the work is completed. Committee members are responsible for reading manuscripts within the agreed-upon time frame, suggesting editorial or substantive changes, and explaining why they do or do not believe the document is acceptable. Types of Dissertations A dissertation is a culminating activity for students pursuing a doctoral degree. The student proposes, conducts, writes about, and orally defends important, independent research in the field, thereby demonstrating his or her competence to conduct such research in his/her future career. A student in consultation with his or her dissertation chair may elect to write a traditional dissertation or a three-paper manuscript-style dissertation. This section describes the features and requirements for each type of document. Traditional dissertation. A traditional dissertation typically involves five parts, each of which may constitute a separate chapter in the document: (a) an abstract, (b) an introduction and literature review (perhaps as two separate chapters), (c) a methods section, (d) a results section, and (e) a discussion section. A student may deviate from this structure if approved by the student’s dissertation committee. The Publication Manual th of the American Psychological Association, 6 Edition describes the type of information that should be included in each of these sections. Three-paper manuscript-style dissertation. Some Curry School program areas offer an alternative to the traditional dissertation called the “manuscript-style” dissertation or “three-paper” dissertation option. The manuscript-style dissertation is a useful alternative for students who intend to pursue academic careers and want to build a publication record. This option is intended to be as or more rigorous than the traditional dissertation. 4 The three papers must be prepared for submission to peer-reviewed journals although submission and acceptance for publication are not required. Students need to discuss this option with their chair/advisor if they are interested in this approach. However, it is important to realize that the manuscript style dissertation is not necessarily a suitable option in all program areas or for every student. As with any doctoral dissertation, the dissertation chair and committee exercise their judgment in applying these guidelines to individual student projects. Students should discuss the three-paper manuscript-style dissertation option with their chair/advisor in the first or second year of doctoral study. Engaging in this conversation early in a program of study allows the student to initiate work on the required manuscripts early in their program. By third year, students select this option with the advice and consent of their dissertation chair. The student’s dissertation committee must approve the student’s decision to produce a manuscript style dissertation as part of the proposal review process. Occasionally, faculty members recommend that students complete a traditional dissertation at this point. Each manuscript included in the manuscript-style dissertation must represent an original contribution to the field. Moreover, students must be the principal author (i.e., first author) to all three manuscripts, regardless of number of other contributors. In the disciplines in which authors are not listed in order of principal contributions, a letter from the first author, if not the student, should document the student’s role as principal author. This requirement assures that the student is the principal author for the complete dissertation, consistent with the expectation that the dissertation demonstrates the candidate’s competence to produce original research and scholarship. For more information about principal authorship, refer to section 15 of the AERA code of ethics (2011): and section 8.12 of the APA Code of Conduct (2010), A three-paper manuscript style dissertation has the following requirements. A five to fifteen page introduction (linking document) describing the conceptual and theoretical linkages among all three manuscripts and three manuscripts that are ready for submission to peer-reviewed outlets at the time of dissertation defense. One of the manuscripts may be a literature review, a manuscript translating from research to practice, meta-analysis, or meta-synthesis. If a manuscript has multiple student authors, the manuscript cannot be included in more than one student’s dissertation. Dissertation Content The following components are included in each traditional dissertation or are included in each paper that comprises a manuscript-style dissertation. Introduction. The dissertation typically begins with a description of the context or background for the research question(s). It also defines key terms, variables, and any 5 hypothesis(es). Use this section to explain the significance of the research question(s). The purpose of the dissertation drives the research questions. A research question is one for which: • an answer is important (i.e., knowing the answer makes a significant contribution to the field), • the answer is not known or needs further verification (i.e., your study is a next logical step in the research on this topic), • the student can find an answer through research (i.e., the answer is a matter of evidence, not of opinion or values), and that • the student has the resources of energy, time, and money to address. Literature review. A good review of the literature: • focuses on important research on a well-delineated topic, and • makes sense of the scholarly conversation pertinent to the topic, describing what is known about it and what needs to be known. A complete review of the important literature requires electronic searches through databases, as well as hand searches through journals, books, and other materials. It sometimes requires contacting researchers who are working on the same or similar topics. Researchers must not work in isolation or assume that whatever has been published is the most current available information. A good literature review separates sound from unsound research. It may ignore or mention studies of little or no merit, while giving disproportionate attention to those studies with the best designs and the most defensible conclusions. It also explains legitimate differences in the findings and/or opinions of researchers. Studies that have undergone rigorous peer review are typically, but not always, more trustworthy than studies that have not. Peer review is imperfect, as sometimes, reviewers recommend for publication studies that contain serious methodological flaws or misinterpretations. Good literature reviews may be organized in a variety of ways. Some are chronological, following the development of an idea over time. Others are topical, bringing together disparate ideas in meaningful ways. All lead the reader through the background information and arrive at conclusions that are logical and supported by reliable evidence. A good review is coherent, evaluative, and forward-looking. Conceptual framework. The conceptual framework is the lens through which the various aspects of the inquiry are brought into focus and relationship. Students may draw their conceptual frameworks from other disciplines or apply models that have been developed within their fields. Research design and data analyses. The reader of a dissertation should be able to see that the student chose a research design that follows logically from their research question(s). 6 Both quantitative and qualitative studies can produce findings that are reliable and that matter. Quantitative research questions usually test a theory or model (or some part of it) using measurable independent and dependent variables, whereas qualitative ones are typically non-predictive and exploratory and seek to understand a phenomenon. Research courses and mentored experiences enable students to know the difference between strong and weak designs, between data analyses that are appropriate and those that are not, and between justifiable and unjustifiable conclusions. An adequate research design for a dissertation does the following: It • describes the question(s) being asked; • explains why answering it/them is important; • explains why this research strategy—informed by the conceptual framework and the literature review—is the best way to answer the question(s); • describes how data will be collected and analyzed; • describes the sample with which the researcher will work, including the approximate number of participants or sources of information, their characteristics and location, and the plan for obtaining access to them; • identifies any ethical concerns in applying the methodology; and • offers a defensible way of analyzing and interpreting the data. Dissertation work, like other research worthy of the name, requires a dispassionate commitment to the results, even if they are not the desired outcome. Distributing Documents to Committee Members Any dissertation proposal or final dissertation document distributed to committee members (meaning that the chair has determined that the document is ready for distribution) should be in final draft form. Students are expected to distribute their dissertation proposal or final dissertation two weeks prior to the defense date. Moreover, the documents should be in a committee member’s preferred format. Some committee members prefer paper copies and others prefer electronic documents. Students should ask committee members about their preferred format and provide documents in that format. Paper documents must be bound or securely fastened with a paper clip. Electronic copies should be in a file format that is compatible with a committee member’s computer. Microsoft Word or Adobe PDF formats are the most common. A student should ensure that document formatting is preserved and not distorted when opened by a committee member. A committee member is not obliged to read a proposal or dissertation document that is not in final draft form or is encumbered by technological issues. 7 It is highly recommended that the chair contact all committee members and ask if they foresee a major problem with the proposal or final dissertation prior to convening the proposal defense and dissertation defense. Committee members should share such concerns with the chair and/or student, as appropriate, prior to the defense. Committee members who perceive major flaws that are likely to result in a student’s unsuccessful defense should inform the chair or student immediately. Dissertation Proposal Defense The dissertation proposal defense is a public meeting, meaning that anyone is allowed to attend a dissertation proposal defense including students, faculty, or family members. All committee members must be present physically or electronically. Persons who are not members of the committee are there as observers and may not interject questions or comments unless they are explicitly invited to participate by the chair. The chair leads this meeting and may ask individuals to leave during particular lines of questioning. At a proposal defense, all individuals who are not members of the committee must leave the room during the committee’s deliberation. Only the defending student is allowed to be present for feedback from the chair and committee. Students are not expected to provide food or drink for anyone attending a proposal defense. Some candidates choose to bring refreshments, but these should be kept to a minimum to avoid the appearance of attempting to influence the committee’s decision. Student occasionally invite spouses, friends or family members to the proposal defense. These people are allowed to attend, but their presence does not diminish the academic rigor or intensity of questioning that may take place during the proposal defense. A proposal defense is an intensive, academically-demanding activity and not simply a rite of passage. Traditional Dissertation. A dissertation proposal document involves an (a) introduction, (b) literature review, (c) conceptual framework, (d) research questions, (e) research design, and (f) plan for data collection (if any is needed), and (g) plan for data analysis. The committee will advise the student on any changes that are needed for the document or plans for executing the study. A student may commence with the research once the proposal and any required revisions are approved by the committee. Three-paper manuscript-style dissertation proposal requirements. The dissertation proposal for a manuscript-style dissertation involves additional considerations and requirements. The written proposal should include a completed paper, another paper that is mostly or entirely complete, and a description of plans for the remaining paper(s). The proposal should be introduced by a 5-15 page introduction (linking document) describing the conceptual and theoretical linkages among all three manuscripts. Further, a timetable should be included that details the completion and planned submission of each paper to a peer-reviewed journal. 8 The proposal meeting typically presents the rationale and logic for each of the three papers. The dissertation advisor and the dissertation committee will ultimately determine the details of the proposal defense. A successful proposal defense entails: • approval to conduct a manuscript-style dissertation instead of a traditional dissertation. • approval of the existing manuscripts that will constitute part of the dissertation or approval of revisions to the existing manuscripts. • approval of the proposed work for the final manuscript(s). • review and approval of the student’s principal authorship role on each of the manuscripts that comprise the dissertation. Dissertation proposal defense procedures. First, the student and the dissertation chair must agree on a date and time that allows every committee member to attend. Check with each of your committee members to identify a time that works for all of them. The student needs to reserve a room for the defense (using the Source Reservation System at; allowing two hours for the event. If the room where you would like to hold your defense is in Bavaro or Ruffner Hall, but the room not listed in the Source Reservation System, see your department staff for help making a reservation. Be sure to reserve any audio-visual equipment with the Curry School’s Educational Technologies Office through its online equipment-reservation system. Test the equipment prior to the defense. Submit an announcement to the Curry School of Education’s Admissions and Student Affairs Office at least two weeks prior to the date of your proposal defense. Send an email to Sheilah Sprouse, Include the name, the title of the work, committee members’ names, and the date, place, and time of the proposal. See: r_Capstone_proposal_or_final_defense.pdf The dissertation chair will lead the meeting and will ask the student to make a brief presentation (approximately 15 minutes) in which the student summarizes major points: • why the proposed research is important, • the key points that the student has extracted from the literature on the topic, • the conceptual framework, • exactly how the student intends to measure or assess the problem, and • how the student proposes to analyze and interpret the data or evidence. Rehearse this presentation. Make sure it is coherent and complete but succinct. After the presentation, each member of the committee will be given the opportunity to ask the students questions intended to probe the level of understanding of the proposal and obtain clarification of points made. Committee members may also suggest changes in any aspect of proposal. Remember that opinions may differ; the chair will provide 9 guidance in this event. The student must weigh carefully the advisability of arguing for a personal point of view versus accepting the suggestions of the committee. The proposal defense requires that the student demonstrates two things: • that the student and chair have thought deeply and carefully about the plans within the proposal, so that the big picture of the proposal is defensible, and • that the student is able to weigh the suggestions of the committee and accept those that will strengthen the study. After all committee members have had opportunities to ask questions and make suggestions or comments, the chair will ask the student and any observers to leave the room while the committee deliberates. Then, the chair will invite the student to return to the room and will explain the committee’s decision (whether the proposal has been successfully defended or not) and next steps. The committee will likely request some revisions to the proposal. Dissertation proposal revisions require careful attention by the student as most parts of the proposal document will comprise the final dissertation manuscript and be subjected to further review by the committee at the dissertation defense. Students should bring the Record of Progress to the defense so that if the proposal is approved, the chair and the committee members can sign it. An approved dissertation proposal is, in essence, a contract between the student and the committee outlining what will occur in the next stage of the dissertation process. Successful proposal defense. For all successfully defended dissertation proposals, the advisor will prepare a revision request that will describe all changes to the proposal that the committee requests. As soon as the student has made all of the required changes, the student shall submit the revised proposal to the committee, with a cover letter detailing the revisions; this must be completed within a time frame agreed upon by the dissertation committee and established at the time of the proposal defense. Once all committee members agree that the revisions are acceptable, the dissertation chair will sign and date the Record of Progress. From the time the student is officially admitted to a doctoral program until successful completion of the dissertation proposal the students are called doctoral student. After successful defense of the proposal, students are then referred to as a candidate for the degree (Ph.D.). At this point a student may refer to their status as a doctoral candidate. Unsuccessful proposal defense. If a dissertation proposal is not defended successfully, the dissertation advisor will summarize the specific reasons for the outcome reflecting all committee members’ input immediately following the meeting and share this information with the student and other committee members. It is expected that the student will prepare a revised dissertation proposal based on the committee’s feedback and convene another defense meeting within a time frame agreed upon by the dissertation committee and established at the time of the proposal defense. Data collection and 10 analysis may not begin until the dissertation proposal has been successfully defended. Note that students are expected to rethink and revise the proposal to address the concerns of the committee. Resubmitting the same proposal with minor changes or changing the composition of the doctoral committee is not acceptable. Institutional Review Board Approval The University of Virginia’s Institutional Review Board for Social and Behavioral Sciences (IRB-SBS) or Institutional Review Board for Health Sciences (IRB-HRS) must give written approval for any research involving human subjects done under the auspices of UVA ( Students may not begin collecting data for their dissertations without the written approval of the appropriate IRB if human participants are involved. Designated Curry School faculty members can advise students about submitting proposed research to the IRB. More information about the IRB submission process can be found on the website. The dissertation proposal should specify the IRB approval process. The student’s schedule for dissertation activities should include the time needed to obtain IRB approval. Any changes in the research design and methods require the approval of the student’s advisor. Some changes may also require resubmission to the IRB. If the dissertation is not defended during the timeframe approved by the IRB, the student must file and receive approval for an IRB extension. Data Collection and Analysis A student may not begin data collection and analysis until after the proposal has been approved by the committee. If a student plans to use extant data, no data analysis may occur until after a successful proposal. Data collection often involves the cooperation of third parties such as schools or other agencies. Students must work with these parties in a professional and respectful manner. Obtaining the cooperation of schools and other agencies in research projects may be difficult if these organizations feel they have been taken advantage of in prior experiences with UVA researchers. Researchers need to treat all personnel in a school or other participating office or institution with respect, cordiality, and openness. Too often, organizations have experienced one or more of the following: • being asked to do more than they had agreed to do; • being asked to give the project an inordinate amount of time; • contributing to research but not receiving any useful information from it; • being identified in research reports in unflattering ways; and • being treated in ways that they consider disrespectful of their institution or their personnel. 11 Some institutions have their own research-review procedures that the student must follow in addition to those of the university. Study participants must know exactly what will and will not be expected of them and that they will receive all the information they want from the study in a timely manner. Like the rule for respecting the natural environment, the rule for every research environment is this — leave it as you found it, if not better. Think not only of the participants in the proposed research but also of researchers who hope to work later in the same location. Students represent not only themselves but also Curry and UVA when dealing with other institutions and organizations. Dissertation Defense A dissertation defense must be announced publicly two weeks in advance. Anyone is allowed to attend a dissertation defense including students, faculty members, or family members. All committee members must be present physically or electronically. Persons who are not members of the committee are there as observers and may not interject questions or comments unless they are explicitly invited to participate by the chair, who leads this meeting and may ask individuals to leave during particular lines of questioning. At a defense, all individuals who are not members of the committee must leave the room during the committee’s deliberation. Only the defending student is allowed to be present for feedback from the chair and committee. Students are not expected to provide food or drink for anyone attending a defense. Some candidates choose to bring refreshments, but these should be kept to a minimum to avoid the appearance of attempting to influence the committee’s decision. Student occasionally invite spouses, friends or family members to the defense. These people are allowed to attend, but their presence does not diminish the academic rigor or intensity of questioning that may take place during the defense. A dissertation defense is an intensive, academically-demanding activity and not simply a rite of passage. Three-paper manuscript-style dissertation defense requirements. The dissertation defense presentation typically includes a conceptual overview of all three manuscripts, with greater attention on work completed since the proposal defense. Discussion about the dissertation typically includes all three manuscripts. Note that faculty may occasionally request revisions on work that has already been published. Approval of the dissertation involves the committee’s judgment of the high quality of the work, as with the traditional dissertation. Dissertation defense procedures. As was the case for the proposal defense, students must schedule the final defense with the chair at a time acceptable to each member of the committee. It is the responsibility of the student to reserve a room using the Source Reservation system (, allowing a minimum of two hours plus 12 any needed time for set-up of technology supports. If the scheduled room is in Bavaro or Ruffner Halls, but the room not listed in the Source Reservation System, see the department staff for assistance making a reservation. It is the responsibility of the student to ensure that any audio-visual equipment is available in the scheduled room or to reserve it with the Curry School’s Educational Technologies Office through its online equipment-reservation system. It is strongly advised to test the equipment prior to the defense. During the completion of the dissertation study and during the process of drafting the final dissertation document, the student should work closely and communicate regularly with the dissertation chair. Only after the chair has determined the readiness of the final document may the student disperse the final dissertation manuscript to the remainder of the committee members. Typically committee members receive a minimum of two weeks prior to the scheduled dissertation defense in order to had sufficient time to read and consider the work. This schedule may be adjusted depending upon the time of year to extend (e.g., over holiday breaks or summer session). Any decision to shorten the time from receipt of the dissertation and the final defense must be agreed upon by the chair and all members of the committee. During this two week window, committee members may approach the chair to make them aware of significant issues that will likely result in an unsuccessful final dissertation defense. In these instances, the chair will meet with the student to establish a plan to address any issues that were raised during this time of reading and deliberation. In most cases this will result in the rescheduling of the final defense to allow the student sufficient time to make these needed changes. The intent of the pre-defense revision and rescheduling is to increase the likelihood that the student is well-positioned for success in the final defense. At least two weeks prior to the defense date, file the announcement for the defense with the Office of Admissions and Student Affairs (Use the announcement form found at pstone_proposal_or_final_defense.pdf/). If the defense is rescheduled prior to or as a result of an unsuccessful initial defense, the student must ensure that the chair and committee members have an additional two-week window to read the revised dissertation manuscript(s). During the dissertation defense students are expected to present a short (15-20 minute) synopsis of the study: briefly emphasizing the need for the study, the research question(s), the methodology, and the bulk of the presentation focused on findings, interpretations of those findings, and how those situate within the larger body of literature to which this study will contribute. The dissertation defense should not focus on the acceptability of the student’s proposal – what the student did and why it was done that way; those decisions should have been addressed in the proposal defense. The final dissertation defense provides the student with an opportunity to present and orally defend the findings and the interpretation of those findings for the relevant contexts. The committee will be most interested in why the student reached the conclusions that they did; hearing the student present alternative interpretations of those findings, the limitations of the study, and suggestions for further research. 13 After the presentation, each committee member will be given the opportunity to ask questions or make comments. The chair, as moderator of the meeting, may intervene if he or she considers any questions out of order. After all committee members have had the opportunity to ask questions or make comments, the chair will ask the student (and anyone present other than committee members) to leave the room while the committee deliberates. This can take as long as 30 minutes. After the committee’s deliberation, the chair will ask the student alone to return to the room and will convey the committee’s decision. The committee will arrive at one of the following decisions: • The dissertation defense was not acceptable. • The defense was acceptable, with specified changes in the document that must be seen by each committee member before they are willing to sign the Record of Progress and the signature page. • The defense was acceptable, with specified changes in the final document to be made as noted by the chair. • The defense was accepted, and no changes need to be made in the final document. The student should bring the Record of Progress, title page, and approval form (i.e. the signature page) to the defense so that if the project is approved, the chair and the committee members can sign all the necessary documents at that time. Successful dissertation defense. Following the dissertation defense, students should rapidly make all of the edits requested by the committee. Students must submit the final document to LIBRA by the specified deadline in order to ensure eligibility to graduate. There is no expectation to reward the dissertation chair or committee for their service, other than offering thanks. In the event that a student wishes to present the chair or committee members with a small token of appreciation, it is advised to do so only after the student has defended the dissertation successfully. Unsuccessful dissertation defense. If the judgment of the committee is that the student has not defended the dissertation successfully, the chair will summarize the specific reasons for the outcome, reflecting all committee members’ input, immediately after the meeting. If the student completed all actions outlined in the proposal document and the proposal was judged acceptable, then the decision may have been as a result that insufficiencies were present be based on the presentation, writing, or responses to questions. Given careful analysis of the reasons for the unsuccessful dissertation defense, the student should modify whatever the chair and committee identify as issues: analyses, quality of the writing in the manuscript, amend the plan and execution of the oral presentation and prepare for questions at the resecheduled defense. Students will 14 receive only one additional opportunity to successfully defend the dissertation after an unsuccessful defense. Post-Dissertation Defense Checklist After the student has defended the dissertation successfully, made edits required by committee members and acquired committee members’ signatures on the Record of Progress, it is the responsibility of the student to submit the signed title page of the dissertation to the Office of Admissions and Student Affairs by the deadline for your desired semester of graduation (see the section on important deadlines). Upload the dissertation to LIBRA, but do NOT include the signature page. Curry will maintain that document on the student’s behalf. Submit the following to the Office of Admissions and Student Affairs: • Survey of Earned Doctorate: • Record of Progress • IRB approval letter (if applicable) If the student decides to register the dissertation for copyright, there must be a page in the beginning of the dissertation stating that it is copyrighted. See the ProQuest Website ( for pros and cons of doing so. Authorship Guidelines for Publishing Dissertation Research A student may elect to publish a dissertation or a part of it in a book or peer-reviewed journal. Any chair or a committee member who works with the student in condensing and revising elements of the dissertation for publication may be considered a co-author, but the student whose work is featured should be the first author listed on the manuscript. Appropriate credit should be given to any individual who provided significant assistance but is not a co-author. For APA recommendations regarding the conversion of dissertations into journal articles, see According to ProQuest, most journals do not consider submissions to ProQuest or institutional repositories to constitute “prior publication that disqualifies the author from submitting a journal article or monograph on the same subject matter for publication” ( Copyright Issues and Publishing Dissertation Research After the successful defense of a dissertation, a doctoral candidate will be required to submit their dissertation to LIBRA, the University of Virginia’s open access repository. 15 Decisions regarding dissertation submissions to UMI’s ProQuest are optional and made in consultation with the chair of the dissertation committee. Students may aim to publish dissertation research in a peer-reviewed journal. In the case of a three-paper manuscript-style dissertation, all three manuscripts must be ready to submit to a peer-reviewed journal by the dissertation defense. In preparing manuscripts for publication, students should learn about any copyright restrictions imposed by their target journals. A publisher’s web site is an excellent place to begin learning about those restrictions. Many journals require an exclusive assignment of all copyrights, making preservation and distribution of the dissertation as a whole through UMI/ProQuest or a university repository difficult. Students should try to retain all author rights possible so that they can use the manuscripts in their dissertations. Many journals will accommodate these needs. Students can consult: and for more information about copyright issues and to learn about specific publisher policies. The Curry head librarian is also available for consultation. When students submit a manuscript to a journal with an unclear author’s rights policy, they typically include a written request to retain the rights to publish the work in their dissertation. For example: “This manuscript is part of a planned dissertation project for my PhD at the University of Virginia (“UVa”). Under UVa policy, I must retain the ability to include this work in the compiled dissertation, which will be made available via UMI/ProQuest and/or the University of Virginia digital repository. Please confirm that I will retain copyrights sufficient to comply with UVa dissertation requirements.” Copyright requirements are easier to navigate when thought is given to them in advance of publication. Students should be aware of copyright issues before agreeing to any limits on their copyright. Document Archiving with LIBRA As stated above, doctoral students must upload the final, approved version of the dissertation or capstone project to the University Library’s digital repository, also known as LIBRA, by the following deadlines described at the beginning of this document. Information regarding the repository, the submission process and copyright law is available through the LIBRA web site, The remaining paragraphs in this section discuss important aspects of submitting a manuscript to LIBRA. Read them all before attempting the submission process. The title page and signatory pages of the dissertation should be formatted according to the templates approved by the Curry School. A hard copy of the signatory page containing all committee member signatures must be submitted to the Curry School Dean’s Office prior to electronic submission of the document to LIBRA as well as the title 16 page. In the electronically submitted PDF document, the signatory page should not include committee member signatures. Students are responsible for ensuring that they upload the final, approved version of their dissertation project. Documents submitted to LIBRA cannot be deleted or corrected. An embargo is a period of time during which your thesis or dissertation is saved in Libra but not available for worldwide distribution. While under embargo, the metadata (such as title and abstract) for your work is available to the world, but the full text of your work is not. During the uploading process, students set the embargo period, which may be 6 months, 1 year, 2 years, or 5 years, or they may choose to set no embargo period. The dissertation title submitted to the Curry School when scheduling the defense will appear in the LIBRA upload interface. If the title listed in LIBRA does not match the final title of the dissertation, the student must stop the upload process and inform the Office of Admissions and Student Affairs of the correct title. The dissertation title listed in SIS, LIBRA, and the student's transcript should be identical. LIBRA will accept the dissertation as a single PDF document up to 100MB. Students also have the option to upload supplemental files. There are no formatting requirements or restrictions; however, students should adhere to traditional physical standards if they wish to purchase bound copies from Printing and Copying Services. Students may choose to additionally submit their dissertation to ProQuest, but this is not required. All fees associated with submission to ProQuest are the responsibility of the student. Exceptions to Dissertation Guidelines and Regulations Exceptions to the procedures outlined in this document can be made with written approval from the Associate Dean for Academic Programs and Student Affairs, to be applied for only with the consent of the dissertation chair, the program head, and the department chair. 17 Part II: Assessment of Proposal and Dissertation Quality All committee members complete the Rubric for Ph.D. Research Documents to evaluate both the dissertation proposal and the completed dissertation. Each member should complete the rubric by the end of the proposal or defense meeting and give it to the chair. The focus at the proposal defense is on the study description. At the final defense, the committee considers the study description as well as the findings and summary. This rubric should be used as a guide for students as they develop and write their dissertation projects, as a feedback mechanism for faculty as they work with students, and as a means of structuring questions and discussion at the proposal and final dissertation defenses. Any dissertation manuscript will go through revisions. The rubric also provides a way for a chair to provide formative feedback to a student during the development of the proposal and final dissertation. As the student drafts a proposal and a final dissertation, the chair may use the rubric to provide concrete feedback on the documents’ strengths and weaknesses. When the chair thinks that the proposal (or final dissertation) is of acceptable quality, the student may distribute it to the entire committee. Doctoral students should read and understand the quality indicators used to evaluate a dissertation before they begin drafting their proposals. If any indicators are unclear, they should consult with the committee chair. The indicators are presented in an order that reflects the general format of most dissertations; thus students should attend particularly to the initial quality indicators when developing a proposal. Obviously, all the indicators are important as the full dissertation is drafted. 18 Rubric for Research Documents (updated 6/2015) Levels Exemplary Proficient Developing Unacceptable Domains 3 2 1 0 Abstract includes research Abstract includes all Abstract is missing one or more Abstract has incorrect, Abstract questions, description of sample, essential elements (research essential elements and the irrelevant information and major findings, and implications of questions, sample language used lacks a strong does not accurately portray RATING: _____ the results. Limitations of the study description, major findings, scholarly voice. Information is may the study or is completely are clearly identified. All information implications, and limitations) be over the word limit. missing. Information may not is stated concisely within the word but may be misleading due to fit within the word limit. Check here if the category limit. lack of precision in language. is not applicable: ___ Information is within the word limit. Articulates a specific and significant, Identifies a relevant research Although a research issue is The statement makes no Intro: Problem issue by connecting to the larger issue and establishes identified, the statement is too connections larger body of Statement, theoretical and/or empirical connections with the larger broad or the description fails to empirical and/or theoretical Significance, literature. Problem statement body of theoretical and/or establish the importance of the literature that is related to the Purpose of logically flows from the introduction empirical literature. Problem topic. Connections to the larger topic.. Statement of the Study and clearly and succinctly statement is present but a empirical and/or theoretical problem, the significance of establishes relevance of the stronger or clearer literature are insignificant, the study, and/or the purpose proposed study to the larger body of connection could be made. irrelevant or unclear. The topic of the study is inappropriate, RATING:_____ literature. may be too simplistic to make a disconnected, or missing. contribution to the larger field. Topic is too simplistic to make Check here if the category a contribution to the larger is not applicable: ___ field. Articulates clear, feasible, and Research questions are Research questions are poorly Research questions, Intro: Research succinct research questions and stated, connected to the formed, ambiguous, or not logically definitions and assumptions Questions, definitions (i.e., constructs, identified issue and connected to the description of the are omitted, misaligned, or Definitions, variables) given the purpose of the supported by the literature. issue or the study’s purpose. inappropriate given the Assumptions proposed study. A thorough and Definitions (i.e., constructs, Definitions are not well problem statement and RATING:_____ reasonable discussion of variables) have been operationalized and there is no purpose of the study. Check here if the category assumptions is provided. All operationalized. discussion of assumptions. is not applicable: ___ elements are mutually supportive Assumptions are present. and aligned to one another. The structure of the review is The structure of the review is The structure of the literature is The structure of the review is Literature intuitive and grounded through workable in that there exist weak—it does not identify incomprehensible, irrelevant, Review: literature to each of the key relevant literature related to important ideas, constructs, or confusing and does not Structure constructs of the proposed study. the constructs. The argument variables that are related to the have logical flow that leads to There is a logical flow that develops can be followed that leads to research purpose, questions, or the research question(s). RATING:_____ a well-supported argument leading the research questions. The context and/or it is difficult to see There is very little synthesis of Check here if the category directly to the research question(s). narrative provides a the connection to the research ideas with the writing is not applicable: ___ The narrative provides synthesis of synthesis but there are areas questions The narrative provides presented as a list of existing themes, describes differences of weakness and/or little synthesis of the literature. work. There is almost no 19

Advise: Why You Wasting Money in Costly SEO Tools, Use World's Best Free SEO Tool Ubersuggest.