Dissertation Formation – EDCO 737

CG • Section 8WK • 11/08/2019 to 04/16/2020 • Modified 02/03/2022

Course Description

This course explores strategies for selecting an appropriate topic, research question(s), and design for the dissertation in the Ed.D. program in Community Care and Counseling. (Formerly EDCO 737)

For information regarding prerequisites for this course, please refer to the Academic Course Catalog.


For most degree programs, the dropout rate for students who have completed all their coursework and only have their dissertation remaining hovers around 50%.  Proper understanding of specific strategies to develop a dissertation will reduce this percentage.

Course Assignment

Textbook Readings and all Blackboard-posted presentations and materials.

Course Requirements Checklist

After reading the Course Syllabus and Student Expectations, the student will complete the related checklist found in Module/Week 1.

Class Introduction & Initial Dissertation Interests

In Module/Week 1, you will create a brief personal biography introducing yourself to the class which includes some information on your topic and current dissertation development status.  Your brief biography/dissertation update can be a video or written post. Here is a non-exhaustive list on what it may include: Your current job, cultural/family background, hobbies, a recent picture, and your dissertation update.  Share only what you are comfortable with and feel free to add any other details that you wish.

Optional Webex Meetings with Instructor

I will reserve an hour each week specifically for any students in the class who want to talk about the dissertation process and their particular dissertation ideas. This is a wonderful opportunity to get the specific information you need to help you get started with how to investigate your ideas. The hour of my weekly meeting opportunity will vary.  For example, one week I may have an early morning dissertation office hour and the next I may have a late dissertation office hour.  You are strongly encouraged to attend as many of these meetings as possible in the 8-week class, so be sure to seize the opportunity to attend when you see it works with your schedule.  Several students may attend at the same time. (Meets learning outcomes A-C)

Dissertation Question and Answer Center (4)

The Dissertation Question & Answer Center (DQAC) will be our central hub of text-based communication around your dissertation.  Your first required post in week 2 should give me a sense of where you are at in your dissertation topic development currently.  Some students are further along the process than others.  That is fine because I will keep you moving in your dissertation development process wherever you are at.  Just give me a sense of your dissertation status right now in your first post.  After week 2, let's keep using the thread you posted each week to keep track of your progress, my feedback, and your goals all in one place.  Weeks 2, 4, 5, and 8 require posts and more are encouraged to keep you moving forward.  You can present a dissertation idea, update, or ask a question in your thread.  You can also post a response to other students' questions in their threads if you like. Subscription to your original post thread is required.  That way you can tell immediately when I reply to you and I can tell when you have a new post for me.  To subscribe to your original post thread, click on your thread, move the cursor and an icon will appear allowing you to subscribe in the upper right.  Click on it and an email message will confirm successful subscription. When I post a reply, you will receive an email alert. If you are subscribed and do not receive these email alerts, please contact the Help Desk.  You are encouraged to use the DQAC as much as you like to keep moving on your project (i.e., go beyond the required posts to keep communicating with me about your project). See Blackboard in the Course Guides & Assignments section, the Assignment Instructions folder for further information. (Meets learning outcome A-C)

Dissertation Bibliography

A good bibliography on your dissertation topic will be invaluable in helping you write your literature review for your dissertation in the future.  Your bibliography must contain at least 100 sources related to your dissertation topic.  The assignment is due in week 6.  See guidelines and the rubric in Blackboard in the Course Guides & Assignments section, the Assignment Instructions folder. (Meets learning outcome B)

Preliminary Research Outline and Chair Selection Application Survey

It’s important to articulate your preliminary topic, research gap, and research design so that the EdD faculty and adjuncts can consider whether your project is a good fit for them to serve as your chair or reader.  Accordingly, in this survey you will describe your preliminary topic and research gap in 1-3 paragraphs.  Afterwards, you will share a tentative research methodology to investigate the research gap.  We will use your document to match you with an appropriate chair and reader.  This is due in week 4 to permit revisions, updates, and further interaction with the instructor if necessary.  See guidelines in Blackboard in the Course Guides & Assignments section, the Assignment Instructions folder.