HOW TO WRITE A DOCTORAL DISSERTATION IN ..
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Jul 16, 2010 - HOW TO WRITE A DOCTORAL DISSERTATION IN PHILOSOPHY
The challenges that students face in completing the dissertation often extend beyond department and disciplinary boundaries. Whereas the CCM introduced doctoral dissertation supervision in a collaborative-learning environment with several faculty mentors in a single non-STEM discipline, the DHM extends this model across several disciplines by introducing a model of doctoral dissertation supervision that involves an external dissertation coach and multiple mentors. Unlike the CCM, this multidisciplinary approach of doctoral dissertation supervision preserves the traditional master–apprentice relationship between faculty and students within academic departments while providing an additional support mechanism through interdisciplinary collaborative cohorts. Social isolation is common at the dissertation-writing stage (; ; ; ). However, for underrepresented students working in laboratories, social isolation might be the norm for their entire graduate careers. described social isolation as a “lack of meaningful relationship” that negatively impacts an individual’s quality of life. suggest that, in graduate school, “meaningful relationship” might refer to a social contract among students as well as with faculty members. The DHM builds on lessons learned through the PROMISE program () on the importance of creating an environment of inclusiveness that promotes social support and connections. Moreover, the ongoing support of the dissertation coach and the online DH website blog help to reduce the sense of isolation well after the DH event ends.
Writing Doctoral Dissertation Proposals for SBE
Much of a STEM student’s time in graduate school is spent in the lab conducting experiments, and many advisors might think that conducting successful experiments is the most time-consuming and challenging aspect of graduate research. The underlying assumption is that once the student is able to get successful results, the student will be able to write up the results quickly and turn in a comprehensible document in the form of a publishable paper or doctoral dissertation. The challenge of writing itself is rarely considered a hindrance to getting results. Nonetheless, students in the DH provide feedback about the writing process and the lack of time to write. The DH provides a space to write, but support from the student’s advisor/supervisor provides the student with the opportunity to write. Several students discuss the benefits of getting time away from the lab to concentrate on writing. One student wrote, “This program was very significant to me in helping me realize how important writing every day is to the completion of my degree.”
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