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EDLD 610 Dissertation Proposal Seminar School of Leadership and Education Sciences, University of San Diego Spring 2009 Tuesdays, 5:30- 8:20 p.m. Mother Rosalie Hill Hall, room 137

Instructor: Office: Phone: E-mail:

Catherine Hands, Ph.D. Leadership Studies department Mother Rosalie Hill Hall, room 275C 619-260-4213 (office) 858-344-4533 (mobile)

Course Description The purpose of this course is to introduce students to the components of a research proposal, and to assist students to develop defensible dissertation proposals. It will provide students with the opportunity to develop a theoretical, practical and critical understanding of research methods appropriate for addressing a research focus of interest to them. Students will develop a research question, conduct a literature review, select methodologies and data collection strategies, and produce and defend a 20- to 30-page proposal that can function as a close-to-final draft of the dissertation proposal. Students will also have the opportunity to make a brief presentations in class.

Course Format The course is designed to be a sort of seminar/independent study hybrid. Generally, specific meetings will be held at scheduled times, but class time will be used in several ways. Discussion will be led on various topics to support students’ efforts toward successful completion of their proposal. Lectures by the instructors and invited guest speakers will focus on issues such as successful writing tips, critical inquiry, literature reviews, methodology, the use of computer software in compiling references, and creating an effective presentation. Most of the designated class time will be used for individual or small group consultations. In this manner, the instructor will attempt, to the extent possible, to accommodate the wide range of levels at which different students begin the class. There is an expectation that students who are more advanced in a particular area will provide some assistance to their less advanced peers by attending designated sessions and critiquing their colleagues’ work. This sort of critiquing process normally promotes learning for those who give as well as those who get feedback, and contributes to a rich learning environment for all.


Required Texts Creswell, John W. (2003). Research Design: Qualitative, Quantitative, and Mixed Methods Approaches. Second Edition. Thousand Oakes, CA: Sage. Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 5th Edition. (If you do not already have this book, I would recommend buying it “used” on Amazon.) Additional materials will be available on Copley library’s e-reserves ( password: doctoral).

Course Expectations and Assignment Descriptions Grades will be assigned in this course based on the following distribution: Participation 20 points Dissertation Proposal 60 points Oral Defense 20 points The following scale will be used to determine final letter grades: 93-100% 90 - 92% 87 – 89% 83 – 86% 80 – 82% 77 – 79%


73 – 76% 70 –72 % 67 – 69% 63 – 66% 60 – 62% less than 60%


NOTE: Grade of Incomplete The grade of incomplete (“I”) may be recorded to indicate (1) that the requirements of a course have been substantially completed but, for a legitimate reason, a small fraction of the work remains to be completed, and (2) that the record of the student in the course justifies the expectation that he or she will complete the work and obtain the passing grade by the deadline. It is the student’s responsibility to explain to the instructor the reasons for non-completion of work and to request an incomplete grade prior to the posting of final grades. Students who receive a grade of incomplete must submit all missing work no later than the end of the tenth week of the next regular semester, otherwise the “I” grade will become a permanent “F”.

Attendance and Participation (20 points) Due to the nature of the course, and the necessity for students’ active and thoughtful participation in discussions, it is essential for students to attend the classes. If you are not able to attend a class, please notify the instructor by e-mail or telephone ahead of the session if possible. You are responsible for covering the course material whether or not


you are in class. If you feel you may have difficulty attending class meetings, please discuss this with the instructor. Leading up to drafting sections of their proposals, students will be asked to produce several short assignments designed to scaffold their knowledge and skills of the dissertation proposal writing process. Participation and attendance will be graded on the following criteria: ƒ Attendance at all required sessions ƒ Timely arrival to class and staying for the duration of class sessions as required ƒ Preparation for class, including the completion of all readings by the start of the class for which they are assigned, and the completion of assignments ƒ Engagement with peers as required, contributions to class discussions ƒ Demonstrated respect for peers and instructor as expressed through comments, disposition, eagerness to learn, and tolerance for different opinions Dissertation Proposal (60 points) The final product is a 20- to 30-page dissertation proposal. Students will assemble their proposals according to the guidelines outlined in the University of San Diego School of Education Handbook for Doctor of Education in Leadership Studies (2007-2008). The draft of your proposal that you submit will be graded on quality and depth of work, adherence to the assignment guidelines, and grammar/spelling. Please proofread each assignment prior to turning it in. Research project proposals will be graded on the following criteria: ƒ The presence of all required sections of the proposal ƒ Quality of study design proposed (including whether or not the kind and scope of the research is appropriate for the chosen problem) ƒ Appropriateness of literature reviewed ƒ Organization of ideas and concepts, and the presence of a conceptual framework ƒ Quality of writing (including spelling and grammar as well as sentence structure and the organization of concepts) ƒ Correct and consistent use of APA citation A detailed checklist that outlines all of the components of the proposal that will be assessed will be provided to the students. N.B. All final research proposals MUST FOLLOW APA FORMAT. Any paper that does not adhere precisely to APA format will receive a final grade penalty of up to one full letter grade. The maximum length of the proposal is 30 pages. Proposals of more than 30 pages in length will be returned to the student for editing prior to being evaluated. Proposals that do not outline a study design or include a literature review will be assigned a failing grade. The work done in this course is intended to complement the work students do with their dissertation chairs. Consequently, students are required to meet with their dissertation chair periodically throughout the course. Regardless of receiving a


passing grade in this course, students must secure final approval of their dissertation proposal from their chair.

Oral Defense (20 points) Students will be expected to successfully defend their proposal during class as part of a mock proposal hearing at the end of the semester. This is an opportunity for students to share their work to date with colleagues, and it is intended as a preparation for their defense. Students will prepare a 10-minute Powerpoint presentation outlining the main components of their research proposal. Questions from their colleagues and the instructor will follow. Research project proposal presentations will be graded on the following criteria: ƒ Clarity and organization of the presentation ƒ Presentation contains all of the elements of the proposal in sufficient detail ƒ Presentation is completed within the allotted time

Requests for Accommodation Reasonable accommodations in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) will be made for course participants with disabilities who require specific instructional and testing modifications. Students with such requirements must identify themselves to the University of San Diego Disability Services Office (619-260-4655, before the beginning of the course. Every effort will be made to accommodate students’ needs, however, performance standards will not be modified in considering specific accommodations.


Course Schedule Note: Because of the nature of this course, it is possible that the schedule listed below will be modified at various points during the course in response to students’ performance levels and needs. January 27th: Introduction Introductions Overview of the syllabus Review of the Dissertation Guidelines Introductory Lecture Share dissertation topics February 3rd: From Topics to Questions to Problems Creswell Chapters 1 and 2 Due: Prepare your Focus of Investigation. 1. Name your topic 2. Write: “My study is about….” State your indirect question and thereby define the condition of your problem. 3. Write: “The question I am trying to answer with my study is….” This is your central RESEARCH QUESTION. 4. Write: “The reason I am studying this question is because I am trying to show you … (something new)” This moves a TOPIC to a RESEARCHABLE QUESTION. It tells why it SHOULD BE STUDIED. 5. Write: “This question is important because....” This addresses why you are studying this issue. Stating how your answer will help your reader understand something more important will help to define the cost of not knowing the answer. This is VERY important because it is defining the SIGNIFICANCE of your focus of investigation. It answers that all-important question --“So What?” Guest lecture: Dr. Jade Winn, on Copley resources Class members to meet at Copley library in the seminar room (downstairs) at 5:45 p.m. for approximately an hour. Discussion of instructor’s research


Discussion of student writing assignments using the same framework February 10th: From Questions to Sources Refer to Galvan chapter 3 for additional information on literature searches, and chapter 4 for information on analyzing literature. Due: Read and prepare key articles in your area of research. 1) Bring two to three important articles to class that deal with your research question. 2) Prepare a summary of each article: • Mention the problem being addressed • State the central purpose or theme of the study • Briefly state information about the sample, population, or participants • Any flaws in reasoning, argument • Review key results that relate to the study 3) Create a Power point presentation for one of your chosen articles. Student presentations of articles February 17th: Constructing a Literature Review Refer to Galvan chapter 8 for information on synthesizing literature prior to writing a review. Due: Begin to develop your Literature Review. 1) Prepare a literature map of your lit review using Creswell’s design (page 40) and prepare to share with colleagues. Create a “Need to Study box”. Draw lines to past studies that your project will extend. Explain why you have come to the conclusion that this area of study demands future research. 2) Following the guide provided by Creswell (page 45), begin writing the lit review: a. Introduce the literature review section b. Organize by topics -- either central aspects of the central phenomenon being researched, or as the literature relates to the major independent and dependent variables…) It is important to remember that lit reviews differ from descriptive accounts and are not “laundry lists” of all of the literature in your area of investigation. Students will be expected to give oral and written critiques of other students’ outlines. Start to develop a detailed outline of your literature review prior to creating your literature review section. In addition to identifying the sections of your paper, include some detail as to the main topics in each section and if possible, the topics covered in some of the paragraphs. February 24th: Writing the Proposal


Creswell Chapters 3, 4 and 5 Due: Write the Introduction to, and Purpose Statement for your proposed study. 1) When writing the Introduction, make sure you include: • Problem in the study, • Related literature related to the problem (generalized at this point), • Deficiencies (what’s missing) in this literature, and • Who might benefit from your study (why it is important). 2) Prepare your purpose statement using the script offered by Creswell in Chap 5 that is most in line with your methodology. Guest Lecture: APA - References etc March 3rd: Research Questions – independent work, no scheduled class Creswell Chapter 6 Due: Develop a draft of your research questions. You may submit them electronically to Dr. Hands for feedback. March 10th: Spring Break March 17th and March 24th: Individual Conferences Dr. Hands will meet with half of the class members the first week, and the other class members the second week. Please meet with your dissertation chair before meeting with Dr. Hands. Before our meeting, e-mail a draft of your document containing: 1) Title 2) Introduction or Background to the Study/Statement of the Problem • Identify a general problem and briefly describe the uncertainty and dissatisfaction with the present knowledge in the field for addressing the identified problem. • End with a clear statement about the sort of information and understanding which is needed to begin to address the problem which has been identified) 3) Purpose of the Study • Identify the purpose of the study and indicate how the study will begin to respond to the needs identified at the end of the previous section. 4) Research questions/Hypothesis • Phrase the purpose(s) identified in the previous section in interrogative form. Specifically, state the objectives of the study in the form of clearly


stated research questions and/or hypotheses. Research questions/hypotheses should flow logically from the discussion of the background of the study and should be consistent with the statement of the problem. March 31st: Research and Theory Creswell Chapter 7 Due: Develop a “theoretical perspective” section for your research plan. Follow the script discussed in Chapter 7, “The Use of Theory” April 7th: Definitions, Limitations and Significance Creswell Chapter 8 Due: Prepare a draft of this section of your proposal. Write a definition section for your research, identify how your study will be limited in scope, how you will delimit the scope to focus on a specific problem, potential limitations of your study, and the significance of your study. April 14th: Methods Creswell Chapters 9, 10 and 11 Due: Bring a tentative plan of your research methodology to class. Be prepared to explain how you determined your methodology, and how the method you chose will best help you answer your question(s). Make sure to include “the researcher’s role” (see pages 184-185 and 200) and include data collection procedures. April 21st: Preparing to Defend Due: Assemble a draft of your proposal. Include all sections according to the Handbook, including an abstract. Common problems with proposals Analysis of proposals by former students How to defend your proposal and anticipate those dreaded questions April 28th: Individual Conferences Please meet with your dissertation chair before meeting with Dr. Hands.


May 5th: Mock Proposal Defenses Students present their work to their colleagues


Dissertation Proposal Title Page 2. Abstract 3. Background to the Study/Statement of the Problem This section - which is often presented as two separate but related sections situates the proposed study within the context of a practical problem, an existing policy debate and/or a current theoretical controversy. It identifies a general problem and briefly describes the uncertainty and dissatisfaction with the present knowledge in the field for addressing the identified problem. This section should end with a clear statement about the sort of information and understanding which is needed to begin to address the problem that has been identified. 4. Purpose of the Study In this section, the student must clearly and precisely identify the purpose of the study and indicate how the study will begin to respond to the needs identified at the end of the previous section. 5. Research Questions and/or Hypotheses In this section, the student restates the purpose(s) identified in the previous section in interrogative form. Specifically, the student states the objectives of the study in the form of clearly stated research questions and/or hypotheses. Research questions/hypotheses should flow logically from the discussion of the background of the study and should be consistent with the statement of the problem. 6. Review of the Literature This section of the proposal demonstrates the student's familiarity with the major literature relevant to his or her research. Familiarity with the methods, measures and approaches used in previous research studies of the proposed topic should be demonstrated. The student also includes a detailed summary of the theoretical frameworks that are pertinent to the study in this section of the proposal. It is important to show how the proposed research will build on previous research and conceptual frameworks. This review must be a critical analysis of the research literature. 7. Research Design and Methodology This section summarizes how the student plans to answer the research questions articulated in the proposal and meet the articulated purpose. The student may cite research design literature to support the methodological decisions made in the design, but citations and quotations should never substitute for providing readers a clear understanding of what the researcher plans to do and why it will be done. 8. Delimitations and Limitations This section should delimit the focus of the study and articulate whatever


limitations the study may have. 9. Significance of the Study This section clearly articulates who is likely to benefit from the study and why these benefits are important. Much of what is included here should have been implicit in the Background to the Study/Statement of the Problem and the Purpose of the Research sections. Here the ideas are made explicit. 10. References The student is to list alphabetically the references used in the proposal. The list should include only those references cited in the proposal. 11. Appendices The student may include any materials in this section that do not properly belong in the body of the proposal. For example, a copy of the instrument or interview protocol may be included here.