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Do Not Leave Graduate School Before You Get Your Degree | FinishLine, Tips Tools Techniques for Completing a Thesis or Dissertation from Dr Wendy Carter

December, 2007 spacerVolume 3, Issue 12

In This Issue:

10 Mistakes Graduate Students Should Avoid:
Mistake #10: Not Planning Out Your Graduate Career From Start To Finish

Happy Holidays to all of you from all of us at TA-DA! Thesis and Dissertation Accomplished.
We wish you all the best in the New Year.

The Dream Needs To Be Stronger than the Struggle
Author unknown

If you are writing your thesis or dissertation you have come to realization that Graduate school is unique, a very different experience from your undergraduate years. It requires far more work, more independence, more self-motivation, a stronger commitment, and concentrated effort on time and tasks management. We at TA-DA! Thesis and Dissertation Accomplished created the TADA-CD to help you smoothly make the transition from undergrad to graduate school.

Nonetheless, there comes a time in graduate school when you have to ask yourself “why did I come to graduate school?” “Why am I still here?” “How much education is enough?” The answers to these questions depend on your interests, abilities, and career goals.

I pursued a PhD because, as a single parent, I wanted a lot of flexibility in my career. I strongly disliked being micromanaged and knew that I did not want to pursue a regular 9-5 job. I wanted a job where I could use my brain and where my independent ideas were welcomed and appreciated.

By the time I attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison, I had already acquired two Master’s degrees. The goal was to secure a PhD; leaving with another Master’s degree was not an option. I went to graduate school fully committed to doing whatever was necessary to complete the degree. From the first day of graduate school, my approach to getting a PhD was to treat it like a 9-5 job.

Start with a “Exit Plan”. I went to the graduate school office to find out what the requirements were to complete a PhD in sociology. Next, I planned my schedule accordingly for the next 5 years. The requirements consisted of two advance statistics course, one research methods course, one theory course and four graduate seminars to fulfill a major in sociology. As a sociology graduate major you also had to complete a minor in an area (or areas) outside Sociology. These additional courses were selected according to the student's interests. I chose public administration.

With a Master’s degree in Management and Public Policy, I was able to transfer courses (from my previous school) to substitute for the minor requirement in Public Administration. Also, I was able to forego taking the required sequence of statistics courses because I had already taken and passed four graduate level statistics courses at my previous university. Taking these steps saved me three semesters’ worth of coursework! Afterwards, I set my sights on completing the major requirements for the PhD. Consequently I was the first in my cohort to finish my coursework. My advice is to:

  • Plan out your graduate career from start to finish.
  • Manage your time effectively.
  • Know the pre-requisites (thesis or no thesis?).
  • Be aware of the residency requirement for your university.
  • Be aware of Statute of Limitations on fulfilling the core requirements like, coursework, prelims or qualifying exams and finishing the degree.
  • Treat studying like a part-time job.
  • Study something you love then it won’t feel so much like a chore.
  • Acquire lab and research skills, hone critical thinking and writing skills.
  • Meet others who share your interests/goals, and who have valuable experience to share.
  • Establish relationships with faculty who can write strong letters of recommendation.
  • Reward yourself for every milestone you successfully complete.

Don’t waste time repeating graduate courses that you have already taken elsewhere. Once enrolled in your program, you can request a waiver of some of the required course. You will need to present syllabi from the relevant courses along with the grades you received. If the course waiver is approved, you won't have to take that specific course. But you will still need to accumulate the required credits in your department. Note that credits transferred from other universities might be applied toward meeting the degree requirements but the grades you earned will not be computed in your grade-point average.

Make those graduate seminars work for you; if know what your general research topic will be, use the seminar to explore it further. Most seminars require you to write a paper. You might as well use the seminars to write your first draft of the literature review or the methodology section of your Master’s thesis or doctoral dissertation. Note that success in graduate school does not come from completing a set number of courses but rather from successfully completing a research program. The sooner you can incorporate your research into your graduate school experience the better.

We have finally come to the end of our series on the 10 Mistakes Graduate students should avoid in graduate school. As I said many times, mistakes are a part of life. We all make them. The good news is that we can learn from our mistakes. The better news is that we can learn just as much – if not more! – from the mistakes of others.

Take heed, learned students! Following are some of the most common mistakes that graduate students make. Make note of them, and be sure to avoid the same pitfalls yourself. If you missed any of the previous nine issues, they are listed below for your review.


101 Great Ways to Improve Your Life

Have you had a chance to check out the new book, “101 Great Ways to Improve Your Life: Volume 3:? It is a compilation of 101 articles with practical, solid advice on how you can take action and improve your life. I am extremely excited to be a part of this, and am equally excited to be a contributing author along with Ken Blanchard, Les Brown, Mark Victor Hansen, Byron Katie and many other leading Self Improvement experts.

This book is the third volume in the “101 Great Ways to Improve Your Life” Series. Volumes 1& 2 include secrets from Zig Ziglar, Brian Tracy, Jim Rohn, Jack Canfield, Dr. Richard Carlson and many other people living a successful life. If you haven't seen Volumes 1 & 2, check them out. Right now the publisher is offering, a special discount plus great bonus gifts If you purchase the three volume set together.

To get more information or buy a copy, just go to: http://www.1shoppingcart.com/app/?Clk=1815028


Email Question of the Month:

Q:

. . . At present I am writing my PhD at the University of West Indies Trinidad and Tobago. I am pursuing a Doctoral Degree in the area of Health Economics. The topic I have chosen for my research is: “The implementation of National Health Insurance in the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago: The choice method of physician’s reimbursement services”. I am trying to find information on "literature review". I want to view a sample of a literature review using the Chicago style. Also, how long must a literature review be??????

Stay Bless
Wayne

A:

Thank you for contacting me at TADA! Thesis and Dissertation Accomplished. Writing a literature requires that you are able to tell a full story rather than worrying about the number of pages. See Part 2 of my newsletter on Writing a Literature Review.

I often suggest that students try to create a picture diagram of the debate in the literature. Afterwards add how your contribution fills the gap in the literature.

Also you should also create a spreadsheet listing each article separately. The headings of the columns should be: Author, Title, Year, Research Question, Methodology, Findings, Sample Size, Does this Research Support MY Research Question?

In the last column you can answer Yes, NO, Neither.

By creating this spreadsheet you can sort these articles accprdingly to help you write a literature review...i.e. what studies have the same methodology but different findings, or the same findings but different methodolgy? etc.

You can share this spreadsheet with your advisor to ask him or her if any major studies are missing.

A literature review using Chicago style would not be different a literature review using APA or IEE style. The format of your citations determine the style; Hence, you can use Endnotes software to format your citations using Chicago style or any other style format you need. I am sure that if you looked in the top journal in your field all of the articles would use Chicago style.

I hope this information helps you to move forward.

Dr. Carter


TA-DA!™ Graduates —
Congratulations on Your Success

Dear Dr. Carter,

. . . I am a student at Howard, or should I say former student since I actually completed my doctoral program. I am happy to say that your advice, CD, talk at Howard and newsletter helped in the process. Thank you very, very, very, much. . .

Sincerely,
Ainsley


101 Great Ways to Improve Your Life

Have you had a chance to check out the new book, “101 Great Ways to Improve Your Life: Volume 3:? It is a compilation of 101 articles with practical, solid advice on how you can take action and improve your life. I am extremely excited to be a part of this, and am equally excited to be a contributing author along with Ken Blanchard, Les Brown, Mark

This book is the third volume in the “101 Great Ways to Improve Your Life” Series. Volumes 1& 2 include secrets from Zig Ziglar, Brian Tracy, Jim Rohn, Jack Canfield, Dr. Richard Carlson and many other people living a successful life. If you haven't seen Volumes 1 & 2, check them out. Right now the publisher is offering, a special discount plus great bonus gifts If you purchase the three volume set together.

To get more information or buy a copy, just go to: http://www.1shoppingcart.com/app/?Clk=1815028.


What TA-DA!™ Users Have to Say...

If you're still wondering whether or not TA-DA! Thesis and Dissertation Accomplished™ can help you — don’t take our word for it. Take a few moments to read what some of our customers have told us. See how TA-DA!™ helped them...

Ph.D. Doctoral Students…

•  I am just beginning my doctoral coursework but I wanted to get a jump on this thesis stuff so I purchased your product just about the same time I enrolled in my classes! Darlene G

•  Hello Dr. Carter, I met with you a few months ago. I had an impossible deadline to meet: to complete my dissertation proposal in 6 weeks time. I just wanted you to know that I successfully defended the proposal on October 3rd!! Thanks for your help and encouragement! All the best, Harriette W.

•  TA-DA provided me with some useful ideas for how to use short amounts of time that would normally be unproductive completing small tasks that move the dissertation forward. Donnell B.

•  How it (TADA) Helped: In many ways but I will mainly highlight two areas for now. 1. The TADA Calender. The main problem I faced before was how to get down and do my work. But with the TADA Calender, I have made a committment and I everyday I have the motivation to fulfill this commitment. 2. The 12 Minutes Tasks. I was never even aware of some of those requirements. Now I feel more confident since each day I know exactly what is expected of me and I can make an exact plan of how to accomplish them. Dear colleagues in Thesis/Dissertation writing. Anybody wanting to have a peace of mind and confidence in whatever she/he does during the whole Thesis/Dissertation writing, you have no choice but to buy the TADA CD. I won't explain what wonders it will do to you, but buy it and experience it."   Connie, U.K.

•  The commitment to a deadline and to working 12 minutes a day actually reduces stress. I can always do 12 minutes--even if I'm tired, sick, uninspired or grumpy. Facing a deadline makes it feel like I will actually get done! "I have to do my 12 minutes" we say in our house these days. I've been progressing steadily on my dissertation by committing to 12 minutes, and my husband has covered huge amounts of material for an upcoming professional exam. My friend has committed to completing the annulment papers she has procrastinated on for 10 years, and my father-in-law has started studying Spanish 12 minutes a day. Thanks!
Christine, Seattle, WA

•  It helped me to set goals for my chapters and give me some practical strategies for finishing. Also I believe it's good to list your finish date. It gives you something to strive for rather than letting the thesis become nebulous. Martha; Albany, CA

•  TA-DA explains the dissertation process and lifts the curtain to a process that seems impossible to accomplish. It provides strategy for selecting the committee and provides timelines that enable accomplishment of the dissertation within a specific time frame.
Randall; USMC Jacksonville, NC

•  The program helped me to understand the dissertation concept much better. I am a visual individual; the tutorial was a great help.
Deborah; U.S. Army

Master’s Thesis Students …

•  It has helped with the fact that my graduate school does not have a formal format for the proposal. The Journal has helped a lot.
Talia; Naranjito, Puerto Rico

 •  This is a great tool for those who will be starting either their Master's Degree or Dissertation. I highly recommend it.
Teresa; Naguabo, Puerto Rico

•  Requesting that I set a goal date for finishing, kept me focused and it was the first step in accomplishing the task. Also, I kept remembering the words; a good thesis is a done thesis.
Gladys; NY, NY

•  It guided me to a fair start. Gracias!
Jess; San Francisco, CA /p>


 

Sincerely,

Wendy Y. Carter, Ph.D.
email: drcarter@tadafinallyfinished.com
www.tadafinallyfinished.com

About the Author: As a single mother, professor Wendy Y. Carter, Ph.D., completed three masters' degrees and a PhD. Her motto is a Good Thesis/Dissertation is a Done Thesis/Dissertation. She is the creator of a new innovative interactive resource tool on CD—TADA! Thesis and Dissertation Accomplished. To learn more and sign up for her FREE tips and teleclasses, contact us at info@tadafinallyfinished.com. Privacy is our policy. TADA™ Finishline does not give out or sell our subscribers' names or e-mail addresses.

Published monthly.
To subscribe to FinishLine, see below.

Inside This Issue:

10 Mistakes Graduate Students Should Avoid: Mistake #10: Not Planning Out Your Graduate Career From Start To Finish.

Email Q & A of the Month

Congratulations Graduates

What TA-DA!™
Users Say

Dr. Carter Is Co-author of a New Book


Next FinishLine Features:

No More Excuses: Academic Resources to Help You Finish



 




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