Writing Strategies for the Education Dissertation offers a unique take on doctoral writing. It uses composition and rhetoric strategies to identify key activities for generating thought to keep students writing. It de-mythologizes the view of writing as a mere skill and promotes the view of writing as thinking.
It uses writing to help students invent, think through, write, rethink, and rewrite as they develop and present their innovations. The book opens with this mindset and with the purposes of the task (adding to knowledge); it helps define a "researchable topic," and provides advice on invention ("brainstorming"). It then addresses each of the key sections of the dissertation, from Problem Statement, through Literature Review and Methods, to Findings and Conclusions, while underscoring the iterative nature of this writing. For each chapter, the book provides advice on invention, argument, and arrangement ("organization") – rhetorical elements that are seldom fully addressed in textbooks. Each chapter also looks at possible missteps, offers examples of student writing and revisions, and suggests alternatives, not rules. The text concludes with an inventive approach of its own, addressing style (clarity, economy, and coherence) as persuasion.
This book is suitable for all doctoral students of education and others looking for tips and advice on the best dissertation writing.
Table of Contents
1. De-mythologizing the Process: Changing One’s Mindset 2. The Problem Statement: Writing Processes 3. Writing Strategies for the Literature Review 4. Writing the Methods Chapter, Getting Past Preliminary Orals, and Getting Started 5. Collecting and Analyzing Data, then Writing up Results and Findings 6. Writing up the Discussion: Conclusions and Recommendations 7. Revising the Dissertation as a Whole
Diane Bennett Durkin has taught critical thinking and writing at UCLA for over 30 years, publishing textbooks that merge disciplines, and helping education doctoral students understand and use writing processes to generate, organize, and communicate their ideas.
"This exceedingly helpful book distills writing expert Diane Durkin's decades of experience into a warm and wise step-by-step guide through all phases of the dissertation process. You'll want this essential book on your desk from the first days of research to the refining of the conclusion of your study." -- Mike Rose, Professor, UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies, USA
"This book offers what most others cannot – solid advice based on many years in the trenches, helping literally hundreds of students as they go through the often painful, yet usually rewarding, process of writing a dissertation. It is full of ideas that are both concrete and immediately usable. I wouldn't skip a single paragraph. And I will recommend it to all of my own students." -- Jim Stigler, Professor of Psychology, UCLA, USA
"Writing Strategies for the Education Dissertation is not just about writing a dissertation, but covers many practical tips beyond the writing. Everything from strategically reading prior research to working with a dissertation chair is addressed in this extremely pragmatic approach. Doctoral students working on their own will use this text as a mentor, while faculty and dissertation advisors may use it to provide specificity to their own work with students" -- Cindy C. Kratzer, Ph.D., Continuing Lecturer, UCLA Education & Information Studies, USA
"This book fills a void in texts that guide graduate students in writing dissertations by emphasizing the thought processes that undergird the planning, drafting, and revising of text. By focusing on fundamentals of exposition rather than research design, the book can help students improve the clarity and impact of their thinking. The book also provides an excellent example of good writing." -- James Sampson, Professor Emeritus, Florida State University, USA