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The Qualitative Dissertation

The Qualitative Dissertation
A Guide for Students and Faculty

Second Edition
Edited by:

March 2009 | 328 pages | Corwin
Written primarily for doctoral students in education and related fields, the purpose of this book is to assist practitioner-scholars in crafting and conducting a qualitative dissertation by using practical issues to help them understand what it means to do a dissertation and what it means to do qualitative research. Rather than an instruction manual on qualitative research methods or a recipe, formula, or template for preparing dissertation-related documents (e.g., proposal, final report), this book guides students through the issues and questions that arise as students struggle to learn about qualitative dissertation research. Comprehensive, it guides the student through the process of preparing for the dissertation journey, rethinking the concepts of method and data, working through the proposal process, defending the dissertation, and living life after the dissertation.

Foreword by Frances Schoonmaker
Preface to the Second Edition
About the Authors
Part I. Facing the Dissertation Journey
1. Coming to Study
2. On the Deliberative Nature of the Dissertation
3. Meanings of the Dissertation
4. Facing the Dissertation
Part II. Preparing for the Dissertation Journey
5. Orienting Oneself to Interpretive Inquiry
6. Situating Oneself in the Inquiry
7. Rethinking the Concept of Method
8. Rethinking the Concept of Data
9. Moving From the Experiential to the Theoretic
Part III. Entering Into and Living Through the Dissertation Journey
10. Developing Ideas for the Dissertation Proposal
11. Crafting an Interpretive Dissertation Proposal
12. Proposing the Dissertation Study
13. Living With the Study
14. Entering Into Public Discourse: The Dissertation Meeting
15. Life After the Dissertation
Part IV. Case Examples of Interpretive Dissertations
Case Example 1. Problematizing Educational Inclusion: A Practice-Based Heuristic Inquiry
Case Example 2. Pictures in Our Minds: A Narrative Study of the Incorporation of Creative Dramatics as Pedagogy in Elementary Classroom Content Areas
Case Example 3. A Narrative Study of Three Levels of Reflection in a College Composition Class: Teacher Journal, Student Portfolios, Teacher-Student Discourse
Case Example 4. Promises Made, Promises Broken: A Literary Criticism of the Pennsylvania Lead Teacher Experience
Case Example 5. Our Changing Town, Our Changing School: Is Common Ground Possible?
Case Example 6. A Special Program for Gifted Female Adolescents: A Conceptual Case Study for Planning Curriculum

This books offers students some insight and security into the journey of living qualitative research methods.

Frequently students will fall onto their traditional training and adopt quantitative approaches to qualitative research.

This text offers support to students when initially engaging with qualitative research methods, and as they continue their research study into a dissertation in their final year.

Mr David Anderson
Faculty of Business and Law, Lincoln University
May 25, 2010
Key features
  • Emphasis on self as instrument of inquiry reflects the perspective that research is a process of meaning-making embodied within the self of the researcher
  • "Reflective interludes" in each chapter pose questions meant to encourage readers to relate key concepts to their lives and sense of self as researchers
  • Short examples of student work illustrate the concepts in each chapter 
  • Six longer case examples of student work in Part IV illustrate concepts and issues
  • Boxed "sample reference lists" serve as starting points for further reading on specific aspects of qualitative research

The second edition of The Qualitative Dissertation is a major revision of the book with the addition of new material, substantial reorganization of information, and the incorporation of new features.

The concept of "cycles of deliberation" served as the organizing principle of the first edition. While the recursive nature of interpretive inquiry remains an important message of the book, greater emphasis has been given to the concept of "self as instrument of inquiry" and the centrality of constructing texts in interpretive inquiry. Information has been added to clarify the nature of knowledge claims generated through interpretive studies. Additionally, more emphasis is placed on encouraging doctoral students to relate concepts of qualitative research to their own experience, beliefs, talents, and sensibilities. This has led to several new features in individual chapters as well as some reorganization of the book.

The contents of the book have been organized into four sections. The first three highlight phases of the dissertation journey—facing the journey, preparing for the journey, and living through the journey. Case Examples of interpretive dissertations have been removed from individual chapters and consolidated into a fourth section for easier reference. A key to the Case Examples is also included on the inside of the front cover. Many chapters have been given new titles to clarify the conceptual content being presented. In addition, the content of the book has been divided into shorter chapters to make complex concepts more accessible.

New features within chapters include a preliminary listing of key concepts to be discussed. The reference list has been updated and sidebars have been added in many chapters to help readers locate references of relevance to particular topics. A key feature is the addition of "Reflective Interludes" which prompt readers to think carefully about their own assumptions about, conceptions of, and capacities for interpretive dissertation research. Textboxes highlighting criteria for judging the merits of interpretive dissertations have been added. The Index has been greatly expanded and refined.

Sample Materials & Chapters


Chapter 1

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ISBN: 9781412951081

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