Writing and Presenting Your
Thesis or Dissertation
S. Joseph Levine, Ph.D.
Michigan State University
East Lansing, Michigan USA
Note #3 - Don't rush the beginning of your research
For many students the main challenge of preparing a diissertation/thesis is in the initial selection of the topic and defining the research methodology. They often speed through this stage so they can get started (quickly) with their project. Once they have done this it is assumed that everything else will be okay. This seldom happens. Unexpected problems will occur.
To reduce the amount of unexpected problems it is a good idea to take some extra time at the beginning and do a preliminary test of your topic and methodology before you definitely decide it will be your focus. You can test your topic and methodology by...
1) ...having someone be a "devil's advocate" and asking you many different questions about what you are proposing. The more difficult the questions are the better it will be for you. If you can't answer the questions you may want to change your topic/methodology.
2) ...conducting a very small preliminary study.
Don't rush the preliminary stages of your research. Take enough time to make sure you are moving in a "good" direction. A slow beginning often means a speedy completion!
* If you are planning to use an interview in your research - conduct a few interviews with friends. See if you get the responses you were expecting.
* If you will be using a questionnaire to collect data - prepare a sample questionnaire and try it with a couple of volunteers. See if they have problems completing the questionnaire.
*If you will be using statistics to analyze your data - collect some simulated data and do an actual analysis of the data. See if you are able to select/use appropriate statistical tools.
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Writing and Presenting Your Thesis or Dissertation