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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 begins in the first semester in the ED 820 Leadership Theory and Development course, and is open for revisions each semester thereafter until enrollment in the ED 817 Data Collection and Methods course. Each student is expected to identify a research area of interest using the form of a brief concept paper that will involve the investigation of leadership in an organization. Students will be assigned their dissertation chair when the research problem is approved, and should continue to consult the chair on a regular basis to give updates on progress.  While enrolled in ED 895 Proposal Development, students will identify the remaining members of their dissertation committee; complete Chapters 1-3 of the dissertation; and successfully defend the proposal to their dissertation committee. 

2.      Initial Literature Review and Research Methods Identification. During enrollment in ED 817 Data Collection and Methods, students will submit possibly their third version of a research proposal with a strong review of the literature for the dissertation, an introduction, and a methodology section that confirms that the proposed research methods are in alignment with the research questions and research design of the dissertation. These items should be submitted to the ED 817 instructor, the chair of the dissertation committee, and to the program director (via Moodle), in that order. 

3.      Dissertation Proposal Update and Next Steps. After a student successfully defends the dissertation proposal near the end of the ED 895 Proposal Development course, any changes to the dissertation topic are to be cleared by the dissertation chair. Next steps for those who successfully defend the proposal are (a) passing the Written Comprehensive Exams before the last semester of master's-level concentration classes; and (b) getting LSUS Institutional Review Board approval to conduct the research.

  • Students should complete the Written Comprehensive Exam Request form (found in the EDD Moodle site) and submit it to the program director at least 30 days prior to the desired date to take the Written Comprehensive Exams (during the first two semesters of Year 3).
  • Students must confirm that the online Human Subjects Tutorial has been successfully completed by attaching the Human Subjects Results page as the last page of the IRB proposal. The IRB proposal should be prepared under the guidance of the dissertation chair, and forwarded to the program director, department chair, and the Graduate Dean's Office. Absolutely no data can be collected prior to IRB approval! 

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 dissertation chair and dissertation committee that the following elements 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.

See the dissertation chair and program director for the paperwork required for scheduling the dissertation defense, preparing for dissertation publication, and commencement.