Searching for Helpful Educational Leadership Dissertation Topics
Producing a dissertation is the culminating experience of a graduate program. Under the guidance of the faculty, Ph.D. and Ed.D., students must produce dissertations that contribute to the knowledge of educational leadership as well as offer insights into improving educational leadership practices.
Before a doctoral student begins to write a dissertation, a great deal of time must be invested in investigating dissertations written by previous doctoral candidates. It is important to have one or more general ideas of the potential foci of the eventual dissertation.
Generate a list of keywords
From that least of potential topics, the doctoral candidate must generate a list of keywords. The success of every search will rely on the keywords used in the databases searched. A doctoral student in Educational Leadership will spend time locating over other students’ dissertations for a number of reasons.
- To begin to learn what has been written and published in one's area of interest
- To review various formats for writing dissertations
- To examine reference lists for information sources that could relate to one's dissertation
If these reviews have been published recently, the guidance found will be very valuable regarding seminal research and cutting-edge ideas. As a rule, the doctoral candidate must track down any references that are cited by three or more other researchers. It is clear that these sources are influencing work in the field currently.
Where to search
The first place one should search is at one’s institution of higher learning. Most if not all institutions that form doctoral candidates have both a physical repository of dissertations and an online database. If not already familiar with the search syntax used at the university, it is essential to consult a reference librarian first. Oftentimes the search syntax used is less intuitive than using a popular online search engine such as Google.
The following are databases that should be searched:
- Dissertations and Theses – a ProQuest database
- Google Scholar
- World Cat Dissertations and Theses
- Open Access Theses and Dissertations
New dissertations are often available online from the university where the dissertation was published. If a dissertation that seems relevant is not available online, oftentimes one may order a copy through interlibrary loan. If all you have is the title of a dissertation, you might locate it via typing the dissertation title into Google or physically going to the university where the dissertation was published and searching in the library.
What to do after finding interesting dissertations
You should contact the authors to learn more about their studies; not only might it provide additional insight, it may very well be helpful with the refinement of your dissertation topic.
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