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Completing Your Qualitative Dissertation

Completing Your Qualitative Dissertation
A Road Map From Beginning to End

Fifth Edition

October 2022 | 552 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc

Addressing the key challenges facing doctoral students, this text fills a gap in qualitative literature by offering comprehensive guidance and practical tools for navigating each step in the qualitative dissertation journey, including the planning, research, and writing phases. Author Linda Dale Bloomberg blends the conceptual, theoretical, and practical, so that the book becomes a dissertation in action—a logical and cohesive explanation and illustration of content and process.

The Fifth Edition includes a greater focus on how qualitative traditions or genres can encompass a critical social justice agenda, and this broader coverage allows the book to have wider application for dissertation work within the constantly evolving field of qualitative inquiry. This edition also addresses some significant changes in the field that have come about since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, impacting how to conduct dissertation research both ethically and credibly by adopting new and innovative methods and approaches. A greater focus on ethics, rigor, researcher positionality, and reflexivity is highlighted and interwoven throughout.

The companion website with multiple supplementary instructive materials to support the book is available at:

Part I: Taking Charge of Yourself and Your Work
1. A Complete Dissertation: Viewing the Big Picture
2. Gearing Up: There Is Method in the Madness
3. Choosing a Qualitative Research Design
4. Ensuring Rigor and Ethics in Qualitative Research
5. Achieving Alignment Throughout Your Dissertation
Part II: Content and Process: A Chapter-by-Chapter Road Map
6. Introduction to Your Study
7. Developing and Presenting Your Literature Review
8. Presenting Research Methodology, Design, and Methods
9. Analyzing Data and Reporting Findings
10. Qualitative Meta-Synthesis: Analyzing and Interpreting Findings
11. Drawing Trustworthy Conclusions and Presenting Actionable Recommendations
Part III: Nearing Completion
12. Some Final Technical Considerations
13. Defense Preparation and Beyond


I wish I had known about this fantastic book early in my dissertation process. I came across it in chapter 4, and it rescued me. It gave me a clear idea of what I needed to work on and helped me refine my chapter 3 drastically. It is very informative, structured, detailed, and has a road map for you.  Honestly, this book became the best resource I had, and I cannot emphasize enough how vital it was for me to finish my dissertation. Highly recommended.

Pascale Koayess

I had the privilege of having Dr. Bloomberg as my dissertation chair, and I can testify that this book is truly a roadmap to completing your dissertation. This updated edition provides student-friendly tables and figures with examples to support your dissertation journey. The companion website also provides resource templates that will save time and guide you through every step of completing your qualitative dissertation from beginning to end.

Janelly L. Garza
Northcentral University

I cannot recommend this book enough. Dr. Bloomberg's writing style is accessible, practical, and organized, as well as inspirational and motivating. This book provided conceptual guidance to me as well as hands-on checklists and examples to ensure my research methods and writing were aligned, clear, and concise. This updated fifth edition continues Dr. Bloomberg's focus on relevance and applicability with information guiding research post-pandemic, as well as continuing to push the envelope of cutting-edge qualitative design. This should be on the shelf of every qualitative researcher--student or practitioner!

Mickey Fitch-Collins

Dr. Bloomberg has given qualitative researchers the practical map needed to reduce intimidation and empower students to succeed. When I supervised doctoral students, the first advice I gave to new mentees was: buy this book. This new edition updates the material and references, and is revised for added clarity. The book is written in a straightforward, jargon-free manner that students find reassuring. Helpful tables, checklists, and worksheets tame the chaos of the research process. The overall message of the book is: you can do this.

Janet Salmons
SAGE Methodspace

This is an excellent resource for doctoral dissertation students wanting a step-by-step formula to help them on their qualitative dissertation journey.  The book is easy to navigate, informative, and easy to read. New to this edition is a chapter on ethics and rigor: the clarity of discussion and depth of information on trustworthiness, rigor, ethics, the Belmont Report, and the challenges amid and after the COVID-19 pandemic, is exceptional.

Janet A. Boberg
Arizona State University

I would have been lost in the process and given up my doctoral journey if had not found this book. This straightforward, comprehensive, well written road map helps researchers, both naïve and experienced, to reach their destination in a timely manner. The author uses scholarly language that is not overly complicated, and there are templates, checklists, reflexive questions to guide and model each step of the dissertation process. In the fifth edition includes more focus on reflexivity, positionality, inclusion, ethics and trustworthiness. A ‘must have’ for doctoral students.

Meral Muyesser
Rowan College at Burlington County

Great resources, easy to read and implement

Dr Shon D Smith
Counseling Dept, North Carolina A&t State Univ
October 25, 2023

The comprehensiveness and clarity of the text and supporting resources.

Mr Ian Godfrey Finlayson
Business Administration, European School of Economics
January 8, 2023

This is a great book for students who often feel very uncertain about qualitative research and if it is good enough. This book offers guidance and normalises any uncertainty and emphasises the role that the researcher plays in qualitative studies.

Dr Angela Loulopoulou
Department of Psychology, London Metropolitan University
November 28, 2022
Key features
  • The focus throughout is on conceptual understanding as it relates to the practical aspects involved in navigating the dissertation process.
  • The concepts of rigor and ethics; both of which are integral to qualitative research are interwoven throughout, to ensure a focus on issues pertaining to power, positionality, criticality, and reflexivity.

  • Throughout all chapters, the importance of maintaining alignment among all elements of the dissertation is reinforced in order to ensure methodological congruence and, therefore, maintain high academic standards.

  •  Because reflection and reflexivity are cornerstones of qualitative research, each chapter of Part II includes a set of reflexive questions to stimulate critical thinking and reflection.

  •  The author acknowledges that there are often institutional and/or program-related differences in requirements vis-à-vis the dissertation content, structure, and process. Where appropriate, possible instances of differences in the content and structure of the dissertation are flagged so that students are aware of these.

  •  The dissertation process can be conceptualized as a journey, and the metaphor of “road maps” is carried throughout the book.

  • Additional road maps in the form of quality assessment checklists, which are provided for each chapter of Part II.

  • A set of annotated resources for further reading and exploration are presented at the end of each chapter for referral to additional cutting-edge and relevant literature and research.

  • A comprehensive checklist of all the activities and tasks that constitute the entire dissertation process is provided.

Sage College Publishing

You can purchase this book and request an instructor sample on our US College site:

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