Friday, March 15, 2019

Your topic and you.....your new best friend!

Its the big "R"! The research component of the dissertation is fascinating, isn't it? What is research? Why do it? Why is it relevant?

I think the majority of new doctoral students (I was once one too) do not understand the concept of research and its impact on a dissertation. Well, my friends, I am here to tell you that research is key to dissertation completion. Without good research skills you are dead in the water. Dissertations are built on research. Get searching! Get on the net - get to the library - get reading.

Put yourself in the mindset that your potential dissertation topic has, most likely, been covered 300-times over. What about Special Education floats your boat? What about Inclusion does it for you? Everyone wants to write about these topics, and much is already out there, but what about it hasn't been touched yet? The trick in research is choosing a topic (in a broad sense) and then finding the most current research to help narrow things down to a very specific focus and direction. Research is supposed to guide you in your journey - help you deduce what has been done and where there are gaps. The gaps are what you want to identify - this makes your case for topic relevance, and packs a pretty hard punch selling your topic to your dissertation chair.

Let's face it - education is all about research, data, currency, relevance and trends. Be a trend setter, not a trend follower. Set the bar high, and do your research to determine if your topic has merit, or if your book will be another something that sits on a library shelf. The old joke with dissertations is that you can place a $20.00 bill in your bound dissertation on the library bookshelf and then go back in ten years to get it back. I was thrilled the first time someone contacted me to use my interview protocol for their research. Obviously they would have found my $20.00, but it certainly felt great to be recognized in someone's doctoral research.

Pitfall of research - how do you discern what is quality information and what is garbage?
Stay tuned!

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