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Complete Your Dissertation or Thesis in Two Semesters or Less 3rd Edition
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The author does NOT say a dissertation is the same as a thesis. What the author DOES say, is that a dissertation or thesis CAN be completed in two semesters of less. The author does NOT say your dissertation should only be 100 pages. What the author DOES say, is that 100 pages is an INITIAL GOAL, and that your thesis or dissertation will probably have more pages than that.
Many dissertation guides out there (and I feel like I have read them all) talk about things like topic selection, emotions of being a grad student, statistics, and choosing/working with committee members. This book also touches on all those topics. What this book does better than all the others, is to help you lay out an actual plan to writing the dissertation. (i.e. how long will you need for the lit review, how long will you need for data collection, etc.) The book helps you map it all out whether you are in the sciences, humanities, or somewhere in between.
If you are already pretty far along with your dissertation, you probably won't get much from this book. If you are in the first half, or you are coming back to the dissertation after time away from it, this book will help you get into gear. If I had to recommend one dissertation guide, this one would be it.
Although every chapter in the book is helpful, I found chapters covering committee choice and topic selection of particular interest. Ogden presents a variety of different professor-profiles as potential advisor (mentor) candidates. She succinctly elaborates on the factors that a PhD candidate should consider when choosing an advisor, including his or her availability, career position, commitments, interests, capability, and personality type. As I read this chapter, I began to reevaluate my own assumptions about what a good advisor is in terms of the bottom line--completing the dissertation.
The chapter on choosing a dissertation topic was full of useful information, although the author certainly guts any idealism or excitement when she says, "Make your objective a topic that is `tolerably non-boring,' a topic that has a high potential for success (finishing)" (p. 38). True to the title of the book, the chapter (as is with every chapter) is all about being practical. Topic choice is dictated by such considerations as access to the data, feasibility of data collection, and short-cut means-to-an-end topic mining (rather than interest).
The emphasis on efficiency and practicality, coupled with the brevity of the text, leads to some problems, however.Read more ›
This book is a good start and a great motivator. The first couple chapters - on doctoral life, on researching and selecting your committee, and on selecting a topic - are very good. Ogden breaks things down and emphasizes that you can, indeed, finish a dissertation. She's like the opposite of that annoying advisor (usually a tenured professor with a cushy salary) who just suggests that you can take all the time in the world to make your dissertation into your magnum opus; her emphasis is on helping you finish as quickly as possible. Her advice about researching your committee is just so spot-on, it's great. Her advice about selecting a topic is also fantastic - about finding something that's tolerably not-boring and that can be completed in a limited amount of time, and about finding something someone will pay you to do.
The later chapters - about actually sketching a plan and writing - are less great. Still good, just not great. The overall ideas - about breaking your dissertation down into small pieces; planning each workday and what you will get done; setting realistic goals for yourself and meeting them - those are great! And they really do work, as they are keeping me on task during my proposal-writing stage.
However, the actual details of the advice are a bit unrealistic. Fifteen days from finding a topic to turning out a completed, ready-to-be-approved dissertation proposal is a bit ludicrous, especially if you are at a university like mine where your committee has to be convened for you to give an oral defense of it (and the proposal is around 30 pages).Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great book with practical and simple pointers on how not to get sucked into the black hole of grad school.Published 17 days ago by Steven Johnson
Don't bother with this book. If you want to complete your dissertation work on it and read what is necessary instead of this!Published 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
Bought this some time ago and just read it. WOW! The advice is so helpful. I am using it to help me stay focused in my thesis. It was so very insightful.Published 4 months ago by cassandra porter