The Dissertation Proposal

Piantanida, M. & Garman, N. B. (2009). The qualitative dissertation (2nd Ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.

Chapter 11: Crafting an Interpretive Dissertation Proposal

·      Should include following items:

o   Title

o   Introduction

o   The Study

o   Statement of Intent

o   Guiding Research Questions

o   Rationale for the Study

o   Research Genre and Procedures

o   Anticipated Portrayals

o   Tentative Outline of Dissertation Chapters

·      Title of The Study

o   Should include both what is under study and the genre

·      Introduction to the Dissertation Proposal

o   Orienting Readers to the Proposal

o   Framing the Study

o   Searching for Voice

o   Bridging From Personal to Public

·      The Study

·      Statement of Intent

o   Statement of Intent Versus Statement of Problem

§  "For the most part, then, qualitative dissertations examine educational phenomena as they occur within somewhat small and circumscribed contexts (p. 142)."

o   Practice-Focused Dissertations

o   Settling on an Intent Compatible With One's World View

·      Guiding Research Questions

o   Guiding Research Versus Data Collection Questions

o   Guiding the Movement From Proposal to Dissertation

·      Rationale for the Study

o   Discursive Text Versus Review of Literature

·      Research Genre and Procedures

o   Preparing to Construct a Logic-of-Justification Within a Research Genre

o   Rationale for Research Genre

o   Rationale for Research Procedures

o   Potential Pitfalls

·      Anticipated Portrayals and Tentative Outline of Dissertation Chapters


Chapter 12: Proposing the Dissertation Study

·      Forming a Dissertation Committee

·      Obtaining Approval From an Internal Review Board

·      Ethical Sensibilities Beyond IRB Approval

o   Provides a list of resources that comment on ethical issues on p. 172

o   Awareness of and Respect for the Cultural Context of One's Study

o   Understanding for Whom One Has the Right to Speak; Understanding the Ownership of Life Stories

o   Constructing "Other" - Constructing Truth Claims About "Other"

o   Consent in Autobiographical Inquiries

o   Sensitivity to Power Differentials

·      Meeting to Review the Proposal

o   Purpose of the Meeting

o   Structure and Process of the Meeting

o   Listening to the Deliberations

·      Dealing with Meeting Outcomes

·      Moving Forward into the Study


Chapter 13: Living With the Study

·      Immersing Oneself in the Inquiry

o   Preparing for Immersion

o   Keeping Focused

·      Amassing and Resonating with Raw Texts

o   "Those with a low tolerance for ambiguity may seize too readily upon early impressions, prematurely bringing closure to the theorizing process. Thus, living with the study means trying out various configurations for juxtaposing situational detail with conceptual points in order to get in touch with the major ideas to be conveyed as a result of the inquiry (p. 187)."

o   "The capacity to endure complete exhaustion, to reach deeper into some unsuspected reservoir of strength, and to persist to the finish contributes to the integrity, rigor, and intellectual vitality of the study (p. 187)."

o   The Fine Art of Task Avoidance

·      Coming to a Conceptual Leap

o   "The aha moment represents a conceptual leap in which the researcher sees the essence of the study and how the pieces fit into a larger, coherent portrayal of the phenomenon under study (p. 189)."

·      Criteria for Judging Interpretive Dissertations

o   Coherence - judges conceptual structure

o   Integrity

§  Theoretically and conceptually sound

§  "The logic-of-justification provides well-reasoned connections between how the inquiry was conducted and the knowledge generated from it (p. 194)."

§  Congruence in voice and stance with the genre of research

o   Verit`e

§  The author must show possible and contested viewpoints

§  "Verite is compromised when only a few references about the phenomenon or the genre of the research have been sampled (p. 194)."

§  The author must situate her research in the field of other scholars.

§  The use of relevant literature to elaborate on concepts

§  Being an authentic researcher by "...cultivat(ing) a mind-set conducive to an authentic inquiry (p. 194)."

§  Being transparent about your thought-process throughout

§  Occurs through the written document by clearly describing the procedures and by communicating with the committee

o   Rigor

§  Careful

§  Thorough

o   Utility

§  Significance

§  Connection to theory and broader discourses

o   Vitality

§  The reader feels connected to the piece and can identify with it

§  The text is "alive"

o   Aesthetics

§  Occurs when the dissertation is "arts-based"

·      Interpretive Inquiry as Creative Engagement