Completing Your Qualitative Dissertation

Completing Your Qualitative Dissertation A Road Map From Beginning to End

Second Edition

Companion Website

© 2012 | 344 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc

"Because of its clarity, reliability and readability, Completing Your Qualitative Dissertation is the ultimate "DIY guide" for each and every chapter of the dissertation. This book will empower students as they work to prepare for conversations with advisors and committee members, through the various milestones en route to transcript approval. I strongly suggest that anyone embarking on the qualitative process procure a copy, as it has no equal on the market today."

Tal Grinfas-David Ph.D.
Emory University, Atlanta

This book fills a gap in the qualitative research literature by addressing one of the key challenges facing doctoral students: writing a dissertation. Authors Linda Dale Bloomberg and Marie Volpe distill years of experience into a first-of-its-kind, highly practical resource for graduate students. Blending the conceptual, theoretical, and practical, the book becomes a dissertation in action—a logical and cohesive explanation and illustration of content and process. This Second Edition offers doctoral students comprehensive guidance and accessible, practical tools for navigating each step of the qualitative dissertation journey. While key features that distinguish the book's unique approach are maintained, this edition responds to recent developments in the field.

List of Tables
List of Figures
List of Appendices
About the Authors
Part I. Taking Charge of Yourself and Your Work
Chapter 1. A Complete Dissertation: The Big Picture
Chapter 2. Gearing Up: There is Method in the Madness
Chapter 3. Choosing a Qualitative Research Approach
Chapter 4. A First Step: Developing Your Proposal
Part II. Content and Process: A Chapter-By-Chapter Road Map
Chapter 5. Introduction to Your Study
Chapter 6. Developing and Presenting Your Literature Review
Chapter 7. Presenting Methodology and Research Approach
Chapter 8. Analyzing Data and Reporting Findings
Chapter 9. Analyzing and Interpreting Findings
Chapter 10. Drawing Trustworthy Conclusions and Presenting Actionable Recommendations
Part III. Nearing Completion
Chapter 11. Some Final Technical Considerations
Chapter 12. Defense Preparation
Author Index
Subject Index

Sample Materials & Chapters


ch 1

ch 5 & 6


”I would definitely recommend the Bloomberg and Volpe text to students preparing a thesis or a dissertation because it provides such clear, practical guidelines and examples. It is the best guide I have read.”

Sharon Piety-Nowell
Bethune-Cookman University

“This book should be included in every qualitative methods course. It is unique in its approach. Students need samples together with explanations, which this book accomplishes well. The book does not oversimplify either. It complements whatever texts may be used with it because it serves a unique purpose that the others do not.”

Denise F. Blum
Oklahoma State University

best book out there on this topic.
my doctoral students use it constantly.

Dr Sylvia Mendez-Morse
Education Dept, Texas Tech University
August 20, 2014

The best (and only) textbook on writing qualitative dissertations! This book has filled an immense hole in my required qualitative research course in a professional psychology doctoral program. The combination of this book with Donna Mertens' book on educational and psychological research has served our students well.

Professor Susan Hawes
Clinical Psychology Dept, Antioch New England Grad Sch
February 21, 2014

I am not allowed to change the books for the dissertation mode, but I require all my qualitative dissertation candidates to order and read this text.

Robert Campbell
Education Dept, Argosy University - Phoenix
September 10, 2013
Key features

Elements new to the second edition include:

  • A revised format for and easier access to the "application" sections
  • Updated chapter objectives and chapter summaries
  • Updated "quality assessment checklists" for each chapter
  • Additional charts for organizing, managing, and presenting data
  • Updated references, citations, and websites
  • New and updated annotated bibliographies
  • A companion website at, which provides free access to SAGE journal articles and other resources relevant to the material in this book

This second edition of Completing your Qualitative Dissertation: A Roadmap from Beginning to End follows a similar structure to the successful first edition published in 2008, and continues to offer Doctoral students comprehensive guidance and accessible and practical tools for navigating each step in the qualitative dissertation process. While key features that distinguish the book's unique approach are maintained, this second edition responds to developments in the field as well as review feedback. Elements new to the second edition include:

Substantially rewritten Part I is presents the initial steps involved in thinking about and preparing for the complex dissertation process. Included are four new separate chapters that address the knowledge, skills, and attitudes required to successfully complete the required work, as well as a new figure for visualizing and conceptualizing the entire dissertation process.

· Chapter 1 outlines of each element involved in the dissertation process, and includes "reason", "quality markers" and "frequent errors" for each element. This broad guideline overview is a precursor of what is to come, with each element being more fully explored and developed further along in the book.

· Chapter 2 provides additional information and practical tips regarding organizing and managing the research project, as well as expanded discussion pertaining to student and faculty as partner stakeholders in the dissertation process. In addition to choosing an advisor, the chapter elaborates on standards of good advisement practice, including student and faculty responsibilities, expectations, and obligations. Organizing and managing your project is also outlined in chart-form for easy reference.

· Chapter 3 which deals with choosing an appropriate qualitative research approach incorporates additional detailed and more critical discussion around qualitative traditions or genres, with a greater focus on comparative analytic and representational strategies. The chapter is also enhanced by way of the inclusion of Action Research and Postmodernism/Poststructuralism.

· Chapter 4 includes additional updated references to a variety of style manuals used in the social sciences, guidelines for strong academic writing, expanded discussion around plagiarism in academic and professional contexts, including accidental plagiarism, and ways to avoid this offense, as well as expanded discussion around Institutional Review Board (IRB) application and approval.

The chapters of Part II continue to mirror the chapters of an actual dissertation. Chapters 5 through 7 set up the study and constitute the study's framework. As pointed out in Part I, these three chapters form the research proposal. Chapters 8 through 10 discuss how to analyze and present the data that is collected.

· Chapter 5 (previously Chapter 1), developing the proposal, remains largely unchanged except for the addition of new figures and updated references.

· In appreciating how doctoral students struggle to comprehend the nature of the conceptual framework, a notion that is largely abstract notion due to lack of uniform and consistent definitions, additional discussion in Chapter 6 (previously Chapter 2) serves to enhance and clarify this integral and significant aspect that has significant implications for the design and analysis of Qualitative research. We expand on the theoretical definitions, how to develop a conceptual framework, how it functions in analysis, and how an initial rendition can be revised to reflect findings and analysis of data. Additionally, we introduce the idea of core concept mapping, that is, plotting the conceptual "space" of ones research.

· Chapter 7 (previously Chapter 3), methodology and research approach, remains largely unchanged except for additional discussion regarding distinction between limitations and delimitations of a study.

· Chapter 8 (previously Chapter 4) continues to acknowledge analytic distinctions among traditions and genres, emphasizing how each tradition is sensitive to particular analytic methods and strategies. Additional ways of presenting categories of findings on a macro thematic level are provided. New references to various computer-aided qualitative data analysis software resources (CAQDAS) are included, as well as an overview of the most commonly used analytic software packages currently available, including description of key features and practical relevance vis-à-vis the various qualitative genres.

· Chapter 9 (previously Chapter 5) provides additional material and references regarding data analysis and representation within the different qualitative approaches, development of analytic categories, and trustworthiness and credibility of researcher interpretation.

· In Chapter 10 (previously Chapter 6) we have researched additional strategies for drawing original conclusions from qualitative data and related trustworthiness issues are elaborated upon.

Reorganized and restructured Part III focuses on the final stages of the dissertation process, and now includes two new stand-alone chapters:

· Chapter 11 deals with various technical considerations and expands on what an abstract is and the art and science "how to" of crafting an effective and comprehensive abstract. In addition, new to the second edition is an all inclusive and comprehensive quality assessment checklist for the complete dissertation.

· Chapter 12 deals with the challenges encountered in pre and post-defense preparation. Additional defense questions pertaining to the study's conceptual framework are provided. Regarding post-defense preparation, this chapter includes an expanded section devoted to the presentation and publication of dissertation research with the inclusion of new resources and references.

New organization throughout the second edition includes:

· Revised format and easier access for Application sections of Chapters 6-10

· Updated chapter objectives and chapter summaries

· Updated tabulated "quality assessment checklists" for each chapter as well as a final summary checklist. Previously long checklists are clustered in chart-form.

· Updated references, citations, and websites throughout that include new and cutting edge research and practice, as well as attention to new editions of previously cited works.

· Inclusion of new and updated annotated bibliographies throughout

· New charts for organizing and managing data

· New appendices

In addition, the new companion website for this book provides free access to recent journal articles relevant to the material in this book. Through an online blog the companion website also offers access to materials, resources, and student exercises.

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ISBN: 9781452202709