Expectations for Dissertation Students

I expect the very best research out of each of my dissertation students.  This should go without saying, but occasionally I have encountered students who view the dissertation as just a small capstone project that they can complete in their spare time with as little effort as possible.  While those individuals have almost certainly made a habit of wasting their own time I will not allow them to waste mine.  

The dissertation is easy but the dissertation process is hard.  Very hard.  The coursework pales in comparison.  The "dissertation" itself is nothing more than a document that describes the results of your doctoral research.  That's why the "dissertation" is easy.  You are merely describing in a narrative what you did and discovered in your research.  The research is the hard part.  It must be significant, cutting edge work.  IT IS NOT A PROJECT!  For me to support your research it must be on a research topic of which I have interest and expertise.  

After we have agreed on a research topic for you to work on I need for you to submit two documents to me via DTS message prior to the idea paper:

1.  Annotated bibliography.  This document should contain a brief summary of at least twenty refereed documents that have been published on the topic.  Each of the annotations should include an APA citation for the document followed by one paragraph that summarizes the paper.  Do not copy the paper's abstract.  Do not give me your opinion of the paper.  Do not send me a copy of the paper.  Give me a summary of what the authors did and what they found for each paper.  These articles will form the basis for your literature review sections in the idea paper and proposal.  

2.  Problem Statement.  One paragraph, actually one sentence.  Clear, concise, and worded as a statement, not a question.  

After I have approved these two documents then you will be cleared to begin work on the idea paper.  

While working with me there are several rules that are mandatory:

1.  You will make the dissertation a priority in your life until it is finished.  You will need to work on the research and the documentation each day until you are finished. 

2.  Each submission must be your best work.  No drafts or partial submissions.  Do NOT focus on page numbers. 

3.  You will register for every semester until you finish or withdraw from the program.  No breaks, no leaves of absence, unless you comply with the GSCIS Leave of Absence policy (and that must be only under extraordinary circumstances).

4.  You will post a status report in DTS on the 1st and 15th of every month.  In that (brief) status report you will describe your progress, your plans for the following two weeks, and any problems or complications that you have encountered in your research.  Regular communication between you and me is critical!!  Failure to submit a status report may result in an unsatisfactory progress grade (NPR) at the end of the semester and possible referral to the academic review committee.  

5.  I will get you feedback on your document iteration(s) as soon as possible.  Each document requires more review time, especially when the committee is involved, so plan accordingly. 

6.  Remember item #1.

Finally, I am available seven days a week.  DTS messages are best.  If it is something that needs to be addressed quickly then feel free to call me (706.248.4250).  If I am unable to answer the phone leave a voicemail with a good time and number to reach you.  I will call you back.