d. Deciding on where you will conduct the research isa major decision. If you are from another area of the country or a differentcountry there is often an expectation that you will return to your "home"to conduct the research. This may yield more meaningful results, but itwill also most likely create a situation whereby you are expected to fulfillother obligations while you are home. For many students the opportunityto conduct a research project away from home is an important one sincethey are able to better control many of the intervening variables thatthey can not control at home. Think carefully regarding your own situationbefore you make your decision.
e. What if you have the opportunity for conducting your researchin conjunction with another agency or project that is workingin related areas. Should you do it? Sometimes this works well, but mostoften the dissertation researcher gives up valuable freedom to conductthe research project in conjunction with something else. Make sure thetrade-offs are in your favor. It can be very disastrous to havethe other project suddenly get off schedule and to find your own research projecttemporarily delayed. Or, you had tripled the size of your sample sincethe agency was willing to pay the cost of postage. They paid for the postagefor the pre-questionnaire. Now they are unable to assist with postage forthe post-questionnaire. What happens to your research? I usually findthat the cost of conducting dissertation research is not prohibitive andthe trade-offs to work in conjunction with another agency are not in favorof the researcher. Think twice before altering your project to accommodatesomeone else. Enjoy the power and the freedom to make your own decisions(and mistakes!) -- this is the way we learn!
marriage register from Cobourg Courthouse
The databases we maintain are an extremely valuable tool for those persons researching ancestors in south-central Ontario. We do require that researchers obtain a username and password to access the database sites.
8. Read through someone else's research proposal. Very oftena real stumbling block is that we don't have an image in our mind of whatthe finished research proposal should look like. How has the other proposalbeen organized? What are the headings that have been used? Does the otherproposal seem clear? Does it seem to suggest that the writer knows thesubject area? Can I model my proposal after one of the ones thatI've seen? If you can't readily find a proposal or two to look at, askyour adviser to see some. Chances are your adviser has a file drawer filled withthem.
9. Make sure your proposal has a comprehensive review of the literatureincluded. Now this idea, at first thought, may not seem to make sense.I have heard many students tell me that "This is only the proposal.I'll do a complete literature search for the dissertation. I don't wantto waste the time now." But, this is the time to do it. The rationalebehind the literature review consists of an argument with two lines of analysis: 1) this research is needed, and 2) the methodology I have chosen is most appropriate for the question that is being asked. Now, why would you want to wait? Now is the time to get informed and to learn from others who havepreceded you! If you wait until you are writing the dissertation it is toolate. You've got to do it some time so you might as well get on with itand do it now. Plus, you will probably want to add to the literature reviewwhen you're writing the final dissertation.
30. The most obvious suggestion is the one seldom followed. Try to attendone or more defenses prior to yours. Find out which other studentsare defending their research and sit in on their defense. In many departmentsthis is expected of all graduate students. If this is not the case foryou, check with your adviser to see that you can get an invitationto attend some defenses.
Congratulations to both Deirdre O’Reilly and Naomi Balla-Boudreau for an excellent distillation of their research in this important area of study. Well done, and well presented!
28. Potentially the silliest part of the dissertation is the Suggestionsfor Further Research section. This section is usually written atthe very end of your writing project and little energy is left to makeit very meaningful. The biggest problem with this section is that the suggestionsare often ones that could have been made prior to you conducting your research.Read and reread this section until you are sure that you have made suggestionsthat emanate from your experiences in conducting the research and the findingsthat you have evolved. Make sure that your suggestions for further researchserve to link your project with other projects in the future and providea further opportunity for the reader to better understand what you havedone.
27. If you are including a Conclusions/Implications section in yourdissertation make sure you really present conclusions and implications.Often the writer uses the conclusions/implications section to merely restatethe research findings. Don't waste my time. I've already read the findingsand now, at the Conclusion/Implication section, I want you to help me understandwhat it all means. This is a key section of the dissertation and is sometimesbest done after you've had a few days to step away from your research andallow yourself to put your research into perspective. If you do this youwill no doubt be able to draw a variety of insights that help link yourresearch to other areas. I usually think of conclusions/implications asthe "So what" statements. In other words, what are the key ideasthat we can draw from your study to apply to my areas of concern.
22. Dissertation-style writing is not designed to be entertaining. Dissertationwriting should be clear and unambiguous. To do this well you should preparea list of key words that are important to your research and then your writingshould use this set of key words throughout. There is nothing so frustratingto a reader as a manuscript that keeps using alternate words to mean thesame thing. If you've decided that a key phrase for your research is "educationalworkshop", then do not try substituting other phrases like "in-serviceprogram", "learning workshop", "educational institute",or "educational program." Always stay with the same phrase -"educational workshop." It will be very clear to the reader exactlywhat you are referring to.
17. The major myth in writing a dissertation is that you start writingat Chapter One and then finish your writing at Chapter Five. This is seldomthe case. The most productive approach in writing the dissertation is tobegin writing those parts of the dissertation that you aremost comfortable with. Then move about in your writing by completing varioussections as you think of them. At some point you will be able to spreadout in front of you all of the sections that you have written. You willbe able to sequence them in the best order and then see what is missingand should be added to the dissertation. This way seems to make sense andbuilds on those aspects of your study that are of most interest to you at any particulartime. Go with what interests you, start your writing there, and then keep building!
31. Find opportunities to discuss your research with your friends andcolleagues. Listen carefully to their questions. See if you are able topresent your research in a clear and coherent manner. Are there aspectsof your research that are particularly confusing and need further explanation?Are there things that you forgot to say? Could you change the order ofthe information presented and have it become more understandable?