Dissertation Components

While the nature of your dissertation will vary, my expectation is that your dissertation will have the following components in the order described. For more detail about each section prior to our meeting, please review Completing your Qualitative Dissertation: A Road Map from Beginning to End by Linda Dale Bloomberg and Marie Volpe. I am open to discussing alternate dissertation formats (e.g., the three article dissertation) as well as innovative methods of data collection and presentation. A dissertation proposal should have all of the components of Chapter 1, 2, and 3 also work that has not been done should be written in future tense. A finished dissertation should be written in past tense.

Expected Components of a Qualitative Dissertation:

Chapter 1: Introduction

Introduction: Overview of study purpose, significance, methods, and contributions

Problem Statement

Research Purpose

Theoretical/Conceptual Framework (Please note that Bloomberg & Volpe discuss this in Chapter 2, but I would like this section to be in Chapter 1)

Research Questions

Research Significance

Positionality: Role of the researcher, researcher assumptions, biases, beliefs, and position in relation to the research and research participants (if applicable).

Organization: How the dissertation will be organized

Key Terms

Chapter 2: Literature Review

Introduction: Overview of literature review and description of the literature review organization (i.e., Guideposts: First, I discuss the relevant literature on…, Second, I review the foundations of…). Remind readers of research purpose and questions.

Literature Review

Conclusion: Clear synthesis of literature and how it builds a foundation and case for your dissertation research.

Chapter 3: Methodology

Introduction: Remind reader of research purpose and conceptual framework

Research Questions

Rationale: Rationale for research approach that discusses suitability for research questions

Research Context (Setting)



Data Collection

Data Analysis





Chapter 4: Findings

Each dissertation will have a slightly different approach to how findings are presented. We will discuss options and presentation of results in our individual meetings. 




Chapter 5: Conclusion

Please note that that Bloomberg and Volpe include two chapters in their overview of the dissertation. I collapse those into one Conclusion chapter. 





Final Thoughts/Afterword