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Doctoral Program in Leadership Studies


Leadership Studies Dissertations

Dissertations are designed to provide students with the opportunity to engage in original inquiry of leadership phenomena of interest. A rigorous, and virtually exhaustive, exploration of related published literature, combined with a substantive and indisputable application of research methods, should produce a dissertation which contributes new knowledge to the field of leadership in the selected cognate area.

To support a successful culmination of the dissertation experience the Leadership Studies Ed.D. Program provides four benchmark opportunities for assessment of progress:

1.      Problem Identification. This assignment occurs near the end of the completion of the first 18 hours of Core Group 1 foundation courses. Each candidate is expected to identify a research area of interest using the form of a brief concept paper. The paper should be submitted to the program director no later than the third week of the fourth semester of classes. This assignment will be revised and resubmitted in the context of the research proposal completed in the Proposal Development course taken in the fourth semester.

2.      Initial Literature Review and Research Methods Identification. Following completion of the Proposal Development course and at least two of the courses in the cognate area, each student should submit an initial review of the literature for the dissertation, along with a confirmation that the proposed research methods are in alignment with the questions and initial design of the dissertation. These items should be submitted to the program director and the chair of the doctoral committee, if one has been identified by that time.

3.      Final Literature Review and Dissertation Proposal Update. Each candidate will present his/her dissertation proposal to the program chair, chair of the doctoral committee, and doctoral committee members for approval to proceed with research. This meeting should occur during the third year in order to support a timely completion of the dissertation.

4.      Quality Review of Dissertation. Prior to the dissertation defense and during the last three semester hours of dissertation course enrollment, each candidate must obtain approval from his/her advisor and doctoral committee that the following element are in order:

a.      review of the literature has been conducted in a reasonably exhaustive manner,

b.      references and narrative are in quality alignment with the most current edition of the APA Publication Manual;

c.       the narrative in the review of the literature presents a well-synthesized  analysis of the related published works;

d.      the methods, data collection, data analysis have been appropriately planned and implemented; and

e.      findings, limitations, recommendations for future research, and conclusions are all appropriately aligned with the dissertation package as a whole.