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Destination Dissertation: A Traveler's Guide to a Done Dissertation Paperback – 25 May 2007

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Product details

  • Paperback: 380 pages
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers (25 May 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0742554406
  • ISBN-13: 978-0742554405
  • Product Dimensions: 15.5 x 2.8 x 23.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 365,483 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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The idea of organizing the book as if it were a travelogue presents an innovative perspective from which the dissertation can be managed. Symbolically, the concept of embarking on a trip (with maps!) connotes a kind of pleasantry, rather than the burdensome process of wandering to an imprecise, amorphous destination-the reality for so many doctoral students... The tone of the book is didactic-but not stuffy in the least: the subject matter is reachable and reflects the expertise of travel guides who know the precise direction in which to lead their charges. -- Marianne Di Pierro, Western Michigan University; director, Graduate Center for Research and Retention Regardless of discipline or research approach, Sonja Foss and William Waters have encountered all of the roadblocks and excuses related to completing the dissertation or any other scholarly writing project. Their straightforward methods, cleverly and uniquely packaged in this book, will provide a clear pathway to successfully finishing your work. Stop reading the other 'how-to' books for completing the dissertation. Follow Foss and Waters's guidelines and finish! -- Brian L. Heisterkamp, California State University, San Bernardino Destination Dissertation offers a comprehensive, systematic, and well-tested approach for writing dissertations. Foss and Waters's focus on doability, efficiency, and production of original scholarship will appeal to graduate students at all levels, their advisors, and even faculty members working through their own publication processes. This book also offers unique insight into the process of conceptualizing a dissertation, working with advisors, and becoming a scholar-writer in post-dissertation writing. In short, this book should be required reading for all dissertating students and their advisors! -- Stacey K. Sowards, University of Texas, El Paso To the rescue comes Sonja K. Foss and William Waters with their outstanding book, Destination Dissertation. This book is a must-have for anyone in graduate school, and for anyone who faces the prospect of writing a research paper or journal article with trepidation. In this book the authors succinctly and efficiently guide you through the entire dissertation process via a step-by-step, easy to follow format... No matter what field you are in, or the type of research you are conducting, you can effectively use Destination Dissertation as a guide to writing your dissertation or thesis... If you are facing the prospect of having to write a dissertation or thesis, get this book! The Athenaeum Destination Dissertation presents an attempt to demystify the process of conducting, writing, and presenting original research, completing dissertations, and making the transition to journal articles. The travel metaphor is creative and one to which all of us, as scholars, can relate. The format is cohesive and the chapters flow according to the process of the dissertation format. The techniques suggested are ones that students in my methods classes have found extremely beneficial. -- Monica M. White, Wayne State University

About the Author

Sonja K. Foss is professor of communication at the University of Colorado at Denver. She created and is co-director of Scholars' Retreat, designed to provide intensive, focused, and supervised writing time for dissertations, theses, and other writing projects. William Waters is assistant professor of English, coordinator of composition, director of the writing center, and coordinator of assessment at Northwest Missouri State University. He is co-director of Scholars' Retreat.

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Format: Paperback
Destination Dissertation, I believe is a must for every post graduate embarking on a PhD. I encounted this book in my third (3rd) year, not too late however, I do wish I knew about it at the beginning of my course.

Why? The structure and organizing of the book is likened to a journey which makes it interesting and easy to read and understand. The manner in which Foss and Waters set out the chapters flows exactly in line with what one would do when planning a fun holiday. The 29 steps begins with packing your bags, to planning the trip, including an itinerary, talking to others who have traveled on the same road before, getting there and exploring. Under these headings, the authors explain how to go about the various steps and include not one but several examples, especially developing the preproposal and writing up the proposal for approval. The detailed steps in writing up the literature review is phenomenal.The guidelines in relation to collecting, analyzing and writing up the findings are detailed and easy to follow.

In addition, the end chapters on writing up, editing, defending your thesis and making use of your supervisor also spoke volumes in the completion your thesis.

I strongly recommend that this book be made known to the academics who are in line to supervise PhD candidates, or masters students and it be used as a tool that they will pass on to students at the commencement of any post graduate study.Destination Dissertation: A Traveler's Guide to a Done Dissertation
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am social sciences PhD candidate doing qualitative analysis and this book was pure gold for me. It really organized my thoughts and allowed me to execute my PhD in an orderly manner. Sure you will have to make tweaks and fill gaps to suit your specific purposes, but this is a fantastic guide in giving you a holistic view of your thesis. BTW this book also encouraged me to switch my thesis format to a PhD incorporating published papers.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 55 reviews
27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
EXCELLENT help for Dissertation! 25 July 2007
By SER - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I have to say this book is extremely helpful and has the detailed kind of advice/guidance that you would hope to get from your advisor/program. The Dissertation process can be so overwhelming with so many moving parts and this book really breaks it down and makes it manageable and doable!! Plus it provides a very helpful timeline that is applicable to any dissertation. I have read many books about this whole "getting it done" deal and this is the ONLY book I think that provided me with clear guidance and thinking for the whole process... the best way to describe it is it provides a road map of where you are going and if you follow their "directions" then you'll get there!! You need to trust the process... and on the way you learn some VITAL skills to writing and completing a BIG project that can later be used when writing a book, a proposal, a report, etc. And since i love to travel... the title and ongoing travel discussion was very helpful!! GOOD LUCK!!
31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
Dissertation got you down? This book will help you out of the mire. 23 Aug. 2007
By Deborah Gohrke - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I had the pleasure of meeting Sonja and William (the authors) at their dissertation workshop in June 2006. This book is a reflection of the principles and techniques they use in their workshop to guide people over the axle breaking potholes of the dissertation writing process. I'd spent a year working on my dissertation before then and had dug myself into a big hole. They got me out of the mire, cleaned off the muck, and sent me on my way with clear directions (a draft of the book). Roughly six months later my dissertation was completed. I ordered the book to help my friends, other struggling travelers, complete their dissertations-which is happening as I write this review. I have a bookshelf full of guides to writing a dissertation and while they contain some helpful advice, this is the one that got me home. Trust the authors combined wisdom and experience and follow the directions on their map and you will soon be telling the stories of a seasoned traveler who has been there, done it.
23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
Get it DONE and get on with your life 1 Jan. 2008
By JC - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
With so many dissertation guides available, it's tough to know which one to pick. The unique value of Destination Dissertation lies in its suggestions for overcoming real-world road blocks in the journey. Foss and Waters provide concrete tips and actual examples for dealing with common problems like an out-of-control lit review, making sense of mounds of data, negotiating with advisors and committee members, slow and painful writing, and plain old boredom. This book keeps the reader's focus on a manageable plan for breaking down tasks and moving forward. Highly recommended for graduate students in the thesis or dissertation process who want to get it DONE and get on with their lives.
23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
Not so useful for a partway-through quantitative dissertator 4 Jan. 2009
By Anne T. Gilman - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Definitely a book every university library should have on hand, but I returned it. (Note that I already had a topic and a nearly-finished proposal draft before reading it; I skipped sections on stages I had completed and most of the example material from other authors.)

The phase of dissertation work I was stuck in when I ordered it is something the authors think should take a week, not six. While there are many suggestions for how to deal with bad advisor-student interactions, I found little for good-but-confusing ones. The suggestions for optimal communication with advisors did not look like a good fit with my section of my department. I got much more comfort out of the suggestions for doctoral students tucked into the back of Krathwohl's
How to Prepare a Research Proposal: Guidelines for Funding and Dissertations in the Social and Behavioral Sciences. (Saved by interlibrary loan, phew! That book was a huge help in the week before my proposal defense.)

If you're in speech comm, linguistics, or the humanities, you might want to buy this book just for the comfy feeling of having examples from your discipline. The guidelines on data coding and getting unstuck were not ones that I could figure out how to apply to my (quantitative) topic, but I can believe they help others. The authors also include some key insights from Boice's studies of effective writing habits, and they present them in a less grating manner than Silvia's (How To Write A Lot). But since I've read that already and have Fiore's
Overcoming Procrastination: Practice the Now Habit and Guilt-Free Play, I could not find much new in the book that I could use, even reading with a very hungry eye.

If I could, I'd give the book 3.5 stars, and I may recommend it to others, especially people just starting grad school or trying to define their topic. Maybe the travel-guide tone was too Fodor's and not enough Lonely Planet for me or something... I give the authors a lot of credit for their efforts to demystify the dissertation process. The book did not help resolve the particular scope, approach, or morale questions I was grappling with, but the caring tone and practical suggestions will no doubt help many other students.
26 of 32 people found the following review helpful
Not for the Humanities 28 May 2010
By Lizzy B - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I felt I had to write a review because I purchased this book based on all the raves I read here. This book may be great for those writing quantitative dissertations in the social sciences, but it is certainly not for humanities dissertations. I approached it with an open mind, and I was hopeful that the book would clarify the process, which was never fully explained to me by my school/adviser. In certain ways it did help, but only in the most general sense. And the "tips" it offered were ones I'd already gotten from my graduate school, which gives out equally non-specific advice in trying to address both the sciences and humanities.
I laughed out loud when I read that their timeline for writing the dissertation proposal is 40 hours and collecting data was 150 hours. My department expects you to work for several months on the proposal. And once you get past that, if you're doing archival research in a foreign country, 150 hours isn't going to cut it! So for those of you like me who are writing dissertations that are not quantitative, you won't find this book as helpful as the other reviews. It left me feeling more hopeless than before, actually, and wishing I were writing THIS kind of dissertation, because apparently, the people who are collecting and analyzing data can finish their dissertations in 9 months. The one-star rating I gave is because I think it is misleading to not specify who the intended audience is, and i feel someone needs to note that this will be of very limited use to many dissertation writers.
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