Writing The Thesis Or Dissertation

The old woman and her daughter were sitting on their porch when Mr. Shiftlet came up their road for the first time. The old woman slid to the edge of her chair and leaned forward, shading her eyes from the piercing sunset with her hand. The daughter could not see far in front of her and continued to play with her fingers. Although the old woman lived in this desolate spot with only her daughter and she had never seen Mr. Shiftlet before, she could tell, even from a distance, that he was a tramp and no one to be afraid of. His left coat sleeve was folded up to show there was only half an arm in it and his gaunt figure listed slightly to the side as if the breeze were pushing him. He had on a black town suit and a brown felt hat that was turned up in the front and down in the back and he carried a tin tool box by a handle. He came on, at an amble, up her road, his face turned toward the sun which appeared to be balancing itself on the peak of a small mountain.

The Thesis/Dissertation Defense

... the realization that you are fulfilling an academic requirement,

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The big rosy-faced girl followed him everywhere, saying “Burrttddt ddbirrrttdt,” and clapping her hands. The old woman watched from a distance, secretly pleased. She was ravenous for a son-in-law.

Stage 2 - Preparing the Proposal

Mr. Shiftlet slept on the hard narrow back seat of the car with his feet out the side window. He had his razor and a can of water on a crate that served him as a bedside table and he put up a piece of mirror against the back glass and kept his coat neatly on a hanger that he hung over one of the windows.


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32. I hope you don't try circulating chapters of your dissertationto your committee members as you are writing them. I find this practiceto be most annoying and one that creates considerable problems for thestudent. You must work closely with your dissertation director. He/sheis the person you want to please. Develop a strategy with the dissertationdirector regarding how and when your writing should be shared. Only afteryour dissertation director approves of what you have done should you attemptto share it with the rest of the committee. And by then it's time for thedefense. If you prematurely share sections of your writing with committeemembers you will probably find yourself in a situation where one committeemember tells you to do one thing and another member says to do somethingelse. What should you do? The best answer is not to get yourself into sucha predicament. The committee meeting (the defense) allows the concernsof committee members to surface in a dialogical atmosphere where opposingviews can be discussed and resolved.

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31. Find opportunities to discuss your research with your friends andcolleagues. Listen carefully to their questions. See if you are able topresent your research in a clear and coherent manner. Are there aspectsof your research that are particularly confusing and need further explanation?Are there things that you forgot to say? Could you change the order ofthe information presented and have it become more understandable?

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I ask the student to prepare a 20-25 minute presentation that reviewsthe entire study. This is done through the help of a series of 10-12 largepieces of paper, wall charts, that have been posted sequentially aroundthe walls of the room. Each piece of paper contains key words regardingeach of the different aspects of the study. Some pieces of paper containinformation about the study setting, questions and methodology. Other piecesof paper present findings and finally there are those pieces that presentthe conclusions and implications. By preparing these wall charts aheadof time the student is able to relax during the presentation and use thepieces of paper as if they were a road map toward the goal. No matter hownervous you are you can always let the wall charts guide YOU throughyour presentation. Lettering is done with a dark marking pen and extranotes are included in very small printing with a pencil (that no one canreally see). We've also tried it with overhead projected transparenciesbut it doesn't work as well. With the transparencies they're gone fromview after a few seconds. The wall charts stay up for everyone to see andto help focus attention.

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Following this structured presentation the committee begins to ask questions,but as can be expected the questions follow along with the wall chartsand the whole discussion proceeds in an orderly manner. If guests are presentat the defense, this form of presentation helps them also follow alongand understand exactly what was accomplished through the research.

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33. It's important that you have the feeling when entering your defensethat you aren't doing it alone. As was mentioned earlier, your major professorshould be seen as an ally to you and "in your corner" at thedefense. Don't forget, if you embarrass yourself at the defense you willalso be embarrassing your dissertation director. So, give both of you achance to guarantee there is no embarrassment. Meet together ahead of timeand discuss the strategy you should use at the defense. Identify any possibleproblems that may occur and discuss ways that they should be dealt with.Try and make the defense more of a team effort.