Posted by: Dorianne Cotter-Lockard | 1 December 2007

More on dissertations

Gabriel has a good comment on carefully picking the members of your dissertation committee. They need to really respect each other, though they don’t all have to have the same opinions and approach to scholarship. Each of the students in my “cluster” meeting talked about the different dimensions in choosing committee members.

horse-jumping.jpgYou want a chairperson that will push you to do your best work and who will remove roadblocks that might delay the dissertation process. Every committee member needs to be responsive, as it isn’t advisable to make revisions to your dissertation until you get the feedback from all committee members. Think of the roles each member plays. One may be your topic area expert, another may be expert in the research methodology you are using and another may serve the role of devil’s advocate, pushing you to see things in new ways.

Regarding controlling the process: If you don’t keep your research area narrow enough, it’ll take forever to complete the dissertation. The advice I’ve received so far is to get the dissertation done and after you have your PhD, you can allow the research to take you where it may.

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