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Outliving Your Dissertation

A Guide for Students and Faculty


Edited By Antonina Lukenchuk

This guide focuses on the dissertation work as a step-by-step process and details the structure and the content of dissertation chapters. Unique to this edition is its conception of the dissertation in optimistic, realistic, and symbolic terms, which altogether provide theoretical basis and practical advice to students who are beginning their dissertation process. The guide features the personal accounts of doctoral students who have gone through the experience, which makes this edition stand out among other similar books on the market.
Dissertation is the work of a laborer, a craftsman, and an artist. Long hours of hard labor with our hands and head go into developing ideas, planning, and implementing research projects such as dissertations. But what ultimately drives our academic pursuits and, therefore makes them successful and enjoyable is inspiration that sets our hearts on fire and makes it impossible not to venture on the journey. The uncharted territories of the dissertation process – life events and happenings – make the path toward the highest academic degree attainment both exciting and challenging. Just like life itself with its unplanned and unpredictable twists and turns, the dissertation journey requires strength of character and an unwavering faith in one’s self and in the ultimate value of the pursuit of knowledge. So, why merely survive? Let’s enjoy the dissertation journey!
The guide is intended primarily for doctoral students pursuing dissertations in social sciences, as well as for faculty who teach doctoral-level research courses and seminars and supervise doctoral dissertations.   


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Introduction (Antonina Lukenchuk)


t h e c o n c e p t i o n o f t h e b o o k a n d i t s m e ta p h o r i c a l t h r e a d s From a rather mundane perspective, the conception of this book was anything but a magic moment of hearing my muse whisper inspiring messages into my ear. This dissertation guide is the valued product of years of daily labour teaching doctoral research courses and seminars, advising doctoral students, and supervising their dissertations. In an important way, this guide relates to the content of my book, Paradigms of Research for the 21st Century: Perspectives and Examples from Practice (Lukenchuk, 2013), which elaborates on the links between the theory and practice of research endeavours and ways in which researchers approach the research pro- cess and make theoretical and methodological decisions regarding their inquiries. Dissertation research projects, particularly those conducted within the various areas of educational, social, behavioural, or other “human” sciences (as in deal- ing with human subjects), are expected to produce knowledge that has practical value as an end result. Practical and applied are significant notions to consider in this regard in terms of contributing to ongoing discussions and debates revolving around what counts as credible, valuable, workable, and “true” knowledge gen- erated by the “soft” sciences such as education (Polkinghorne, 1983, 2004). The constructs of theory and practice are often conceived of as separate entities,...

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