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Complete Your Dissertation or Thesis in Two Semesters or Less Paperback – December 21, 2006

ISBN-13: 978-0742552890 ISBN-10: 0742552896 Edition: 3rd
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Complete Your Dissertation or Thesis in Two Semesters or Less + Writing Your Dissertation in Fifteen Minutes a Day: A Guide to Starting, Revising, and Finishing Your Doctoral Thesis + Writing the Doctoral Dissertation: A Systematic Approach
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Editorial Reviews

Review

The major strength of the book is that it is easy to read and gives good sound 'common sense' suggestions and a process that is understandable and works. I believe a doctoral student will find comfort in reading the book and using the prepared forms and checklists that are provided. (Dr. Ron Joekel, professor emeritus of educational administration at The University of Nebraska and former executive director and past internatio)

About the Author

Dr. Evelyn Hunt Ogden is deputy superintendent of schools in East Brunswick, New Jersey. As a consultant and state education deputy assistant commissioner for research, planning, and evaluation, she has worked with doctoral students from major universities in fields a wide range of fields. She has also served on the U.S. Department of Education's Program Evaluation Panel, which reviews research study claims. She lives in Trenton, New Jersey.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers; 3 edition (December 21, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0742552896
  • ISBN-13: 978-0742552890
  • Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 0.3 x 8.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #169,090 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

143 of 145 people found the following review helpful By Getting Older on May 26, 2009
Format: Paperback
It was obvious to me that some people who wrote reviews only read the title and sample pages, or just didn't comprehend the message of the book.

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.
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68 of 74 people found the following review helpful By S. Lee on February 15, 2009
Format: Paperback
Although there are examples drawn from the humanities and social sciences, the book is primarily intended for those in the sciences and engineering and will be of little help for ones in the humanities. Much of what it contains actually sounds very different from how things are really done in the humanities. Certainly, some of what it says is right on the money to humanists too, but even so, it is really more about the tried and true way of doing doctoral research in any field than about giving some 'innovative' ways of finishing the dissertation real quick. But then there wouldn't be such a thing as a quick fix for a stuck doctoral disseratation. To sum up, since there's nothing new and little helpful in this book for humanists, if you're one of them, look elsewhere. Joan Bolker's Writing Your Dissertation in Fifteen Minutes a Day does look much better than this one.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Matt McCloud on September 20, 2010
Format: Paperback
Dissertation timelines are typically very long, often taking years to complete. This dissertation guide presents constructive advice on how to move through all phases of a dissertation project as quickly and headache-free as possible. While the time frame suggested by the title -two semesters or less--is unrealistic, following Ogden's advice will certainly lead to an earlier completion date.

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.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Melissa Boone on May 5, 2013
Format: Paperback
I'm a PhD in a social science that functions like the hard sciences - we have labs, and we do experiments or field surveys that require statistical analyses and tend to have shorter dissertations.

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).
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