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Surviving Your Dissertation

Surviving Your Dissertation
A Comprehensive Guide to Content and Process

Fourth Edition

May 2014 | 376 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc

Perfect for graduate students as well as behavioral and social scientists who supervise and conduct research!


In the fully updated Fourth Edition of their best-selling guide, Surviving Your Dissertation, Kjell Erik Rudestam and Rae R. Newton answer questions concerning every stage of the dissertation process, including

  • selecting a suitable topic,
  • conducting a literature review,
  • developing a research question,
  • understanding the role of theory,
  • selecting an appropriate methodology and research design,
  • analyzing data, and
  • interpreting and presenting results.


In addition, this must-have guide covers topics that other dissertation guides often miss, such as the many types of quantitative and qualitative research models available, the principles of good scholarly writing, how to work with committees, how to meet IRB and ethical standards, and how to overcome task and emotional blocks. With plenty of current examples, the new edition features an expanded discussion of online research, data collection and analysis, and the use of data archives, as well as expanded coverage of qualitative methods and added information on mixed methods.

Part I: Getting Started
Chapter 1: The Research Process
Chapter 2: Selecting a Suitable Topic
Chapter 3: Methods of Inquiry: Quantitative and Qualitative Approaches
PART II: Working with the Content: The Dissertation Chapters
Chapter 4: Literature Review and Statement of the Problem
Chapter 5: The Method Chapter: Describing Your Research Plan
Chapter 6: Presenting the Results of Quantitative Studies
Chapter 7: Presenting the Results of Qualitative Research
Chapter 8: Discussion
PART III: Working with Process: What You Need to Know to Make the Dissertation Easier
Chapter 9: Overcoming Barriers: Becoming an Expert While Controlling Your Own Destiny
Chapter 10: Writing
Chapter 11: How to Complete Your Dissertation Using Online Data Access and Collection
Chapter 12: Guidelines for the Presentation of Numbers in the Dissertation
Chapter 13: Informed Consent and Other Ethical Concerns

Have used previous editions and found it extremely helpful to students.

Dr Fran Goldman
School of Public Policy and Administration, Walden University
January 7, 2015

Adopted Roberts The Dissertation Journey as a more general guidance than Surviving.

Dr Kelly Hall
Educational Professions Dept, Frostburg State University
November 4, 2014

Clear and lucid text. Easy to use. Appropriate for doctoral students in architecture.

Arijit Sen
Architecture Dept, Univ Of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
October 18, 2014

This text provides a good structure for the entire thesis/dissertation pathway. It is very useful in my department's required professionalization seminar for all incoming graduate students.

Dr Denise Lewis
Human Development and Family Science, University Of Georgia
August 13, 2014
Key features

This edition:

  • Walks readers through the dissertation process as an ideal mentor would.
  • Devotes more attention to qualitative work, and touches upon mixed methods.
  • Discusses online library resources and completing one's dissertation via the Internet.
  • Features new material on the use of graphics.
  • Includes information about informed consent forms.


This new edition has:

  • Updated the information on: the selection of an appropriate research topic, the review of the literature, the description of the methodology and research design, the collection and  analysis of data, and the interpretation, presentation, and discussion of the results and implications of the study.

  • Replaced older references with newer, more contemporary ones, including many new dissertation examples.

  • Added significant new content.

  • Discussed that the traditional null hypothesis significance testing model is being challenged and augmented by an emphasis on clinical or practical significance with measures of effect size and confidence intervals.  Have explained and illustrated this new approach to the presentation of statistical results. 

  • Acknowledged an emerging emphasis on theoretical "models" and the influence of model-building on the design and presentation of research.  Provided several examples of studies that incorporate this approach.

  • Expanded discussion of the Internet as a source of data, an opportunity for data collection, and a vehicle for data analysis, together with recommendations for potentially helpful websites and software programs that may be unfamiliar to the average reader. 

  • Acknowledged the parallel expansion of  available data sources in all  their varied forms, including data archives, social media, and what is currently known as "big data."

  • Expanded the sections on qualitative and multimodal methods of research that have an inductive, theory-building focus. 

  • Explained and illustrated the concepts with new tables and figures, and, in many cases provided very specific details for how to incorporate them into a research study.

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 3

Chapter 11