A doctorate degree is the highest level one can earn. What makes the doctorate different than other degrees is the dissertation process. The dissertation is typically doing original empirical research that answers a research question within five chapters. There are a few colleges that utilize a three chapter dissertation, but most have a five chapter dissertation. So for this month’s blog the goal is to explore the dissertation, what it is and selecting a topic.
The biggest part of a doctoral program is the dissertation which is what separates it from the bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Prior to reaching the dissertation phase, there is the course work that has to be completed and until today most of my blogs have been about doing the course work. For this month, I have decided to begin discussing the dissertation process and what a dissertation is all about.
For the past couple of months, my blogs have been about research, because doctoral programs are all about research. While it is easy for us to research via Google on a daily basis, this type of research is not acceptable for doctoral work. So the college or university library has to become our friend.
Last month, I created a video utilizing my school’s database to show you how to research in terms of narrowing the research or using broad research techniques. This month, I want to show you how to utilize reference pages to save time. Some professors will require you to read specific articles and then write about the topic, this is great because the article probably has a reference page which can quickly lead us to more articles on the same or similar topics.
So this week, my work is about ethics and so I did some research via the college library to find a couple of articles to use for this months blog.
Last month, my blog was about the different types of research. This month it is about how to use the college databases. Every college has a different set of databases, but there are a couple of databases that every college has in their school library. Two of the most popular databases are Ebscohost and ProQuest; these are my two favorite databases for a couple of reasons.
Both Ebscohost and ProQuest cover a wide variety of topics, they can be accessed utilizing one particular focus or by searching all of their different topic databases. I like to search each of these databases for my assignments, typically I will find more than enough research in these two databases to support my research papers.
One of the things that I hear frequently from my students and others is that these databases are different than Google. Change can be difficult and Google has created a search engine that allows you to ask detailed questions. So to help better understand how to use these databases at college libraries, I have created a video for this month.
This time last year 3/15/14, I walked across the stage in Nashville, was hooded, and became Dr. Ila R. Allen. It was a long time coming for I thought the end would never be in sight and have my freedom back after six years to make it across that finish line. I look back at all of the classes, papers, money, and time that it took to get to where I am now. I know some of you have been on the journey for a short amount of time and some well…. might be ready to throw in the towel, I knew that feeling too. There are so many reasons that we decide to pursue a doctorate degree from personal to career advancement but we are not prepared as we thought we were, reflections.
Greetings and Salutations! Winter has settled in for a few more bumps especially in the Midwest and East Coast part of the country. Just as snow keeps coming back to Boston so does the re-writes and challenges of the dissertation process. As one goes through an online program you begin to see the differences between your program and the “traditional” program. Being an online student I believe that there is no exposure in terms of academic colleagues (unless online), meet-ups, conferences, etc. I am a firm believer of joining professional organizations in order to engage with those who have the same research interest or methodology.
The holidays are over and January is on its way out the door. Hopefully while on your brief hiatus, you have had time to make new goals and a timeline to reach the next rung on the ladder. When I was part of doctoral process, I made myself take those holidays in order to rejuvenate myself in terms of reassessing my goals. The process does not stop until you have defended and uploaded the dissertation to ProQuest therefore; it is always there beckoning to be finished. A new year tends to lead to a new perspective of what needs to be completed, new goals, what needs to change, and the steps to get there. So, this seems to bring you back to the planning stage like in the beginning.
Hello once again and let’s take a trip down Friendship Lane. In the days long ago before technology was in the forefront people used to call each other, stop by and visit, walk to school together hence fellowship. Now we text, text, and text some more hence technology is first and foremost. Traditional (ground) students get together to have study sessions, meet at a coffee shop, library, or someone’s home. These study sessions are all fine and dandy if your fellow classmates are a car distance away, hop on a train or meet on campus. What about the online student (new traditional) whose classmates and professors are miles, states, or continents apart? Online students need to form online communities of support, networking groups that lend themselves to being able to communicate with their fellow online students.
Happy Halloween (if you partake of the festivities) and November is right around the corner!
This month I would like to talk about what I think about the job search once one has obtained their Ph.D. A lot of people are at various stages of the dissertation process or have completed it. Most but not all have a goal to become a tenured professor for that is what academia has deemed to be the crème de le crème or “Holy Grail” of academic achievement. Depending on one’s particular discipline this may or may not be an option for a multitude of reasons. A lot of you are already adjunct professors and in the pipeline at your institution but for the online doctoral student that is not so much the case if your “home” institution is online.
Let’s Make it Easier-There’s an App for That!
As we all know technology is part of our lifestyle in some form, shape, or fashion. With being a student, technology is most helpful provided you allow it to be. Since I am user of technology for the most part, I still had to make adjustments during my doctoral studies. When I started my program in 2008, I was unaware of the tools/apps there were available to make my life easier. There were the usual Endnotes (free from my school), Zotero, and RefWorks (all web-based) that was used for bibliographies and article tracking. At that particular time that was ok but as I advanced in the program those really didn’t work for me or I was just stuck in my “own way” of doing things.