You will find these styles within the template because they provide much of the APA formatting you need for a dissertation. If you want to have an APA formatted paragraph, just highlight the paragraph and click on the APA Body style. You should see your paragraph automagically turn into an indented paragraph with the correct font!
Level 0 is a special level used to label the chapter headings.
Level 1 is the L1 heading you all know and love. If you want a L1 heading, just highlight the text you want to make a L1 and click Level 1. Level 2 works the same way and gives you the L2 heading following a L1.
Rewrite your purpose statement using the mixed methods, qualitative, and quantitative templates found in chapter 6 of Research Design: Qualitative, Quantitative, and Mixed Methods Approaches. Aim to make each restatement of the purpose statement a single, simple, and clear paragraph. Reflect upon each of the rewritten purpose statements and think about which one best fits your study. Do you need to revise or replace your current purpose statement using one of the revised versions? If so, why? How would you go about revising your purpose statement? Post all three rewrites to the forum along with answers to the above questions. If you decided to revise your purpose statement, include it as part of the post and explain how you improved upon your old purpose statement. The posting should easily be one and one-half pages in length.
Reading Assignments Read chapters 1, 5, and 6 in Research Design: Qualitative, Quantitative, and Mixed Methods Approaches, Fourth Edition. Read chapter 1 in Fundamentals of Social Work Research. Review the Learning to Use LIRN Orientation PowerPoint.
Writing Goal 1: The Problem Statement
Usually, the problem statement is less than one page and appears as one or two paragraphs. Make sure you follow Creswell’s ideas and ensure your problem statement clearly states the problem, mentions the context, cites previous studies, mentions stakeholder groups, and states the selected research method. Be sure to tie this segment to the literature by citing sources.
Every dissertation needs a clearly worded problem statement as to focus the research effort onto a relevant and well-understood problem. Dissertations containing unclear problem statements tend to wander and rarely yield results. The problem statement has the following goals: To hook the reader and have them read your dissertation. Convince the reader your problem is relevant to stakeholders and a worthy focus of research. Relate your problem to previous studies and literature via in-text citations.
You may wish to visit LIRN and explore the problem prior to drafting the problem statement. Be sure to record which papers you wish to cite during the construction of the problem statement. If you need a little help with writer’s block, then take a moment and provide short answers to the following questions: Am I exploring something that is wrong within an organization? Am I trying to figure out why a group has allowed a problem to continue? Why does this problem remain a problem? Why does this problem matter to stakeholders? Am I considering a historically important problem? Am I evaluating a theory or new idea? What is missing and needed as to tackle the problem? …or am I trying to deduce a relationship between a variable and its factors?
Writing Goal 2: The Purpose Statement
The purpose statement clearly states the type of study, analysis goals, stakeholder groups, the context of the study, and handling of data. The statement leaves the reader with a clear sense of the perspective driving the inquiry into the problem. Be sure to tie this segment to the literature by citing sources. You must use one of Creswell’s purpose statement scripts!
Writing Goal 3: The Background of the Problem
The historical introduction organizes the history of the problem and leads the reader into the problem statement. Thus, you should expect the end of your historical introduction to land the reader at the doorstep of the problem statement! Be sure to tie this segment to the literature by citing sources.
Writing Goal 4: Significance of the Study
The significance of the study identifies the audience for the study, explains how the study adds to the literature, and mentions how stakeholders may benefit from the completion and dissemination of the results. Be sure to tie this segment to the literature by citing sources.
Chapter 7 introduced you to the three forms of mixed methods research questions. Review the three forms and prepare to use them.
Your study likely contains one or two research questions. Reflect upon Unit 1 and Unit 2 as to propose three or four mixed methods research questions that may benefit your study. Post the proposed questions to the forum and discuss whether one of the proposed questions should be added into your study.
Reading Assignments Read chapters 1, 7 in Research Design: Qualitative, Quantitative, and Mixed Methods Approaches, Fourth Edition. Read chapter 2 in Fundamentals of Social Work Research. Review the Learning to Use LIRN Orientation PowerPoint.
Writing Goal 5: Research Questions
Create the research questions for your study. Make sure the questions are simple, focus upon the appropriate stakeholder groups, emerge from the problem and purpose statements, somehow relate the important variables, and are compatible with the study.
Writing Goal 6: Nature of the Study
Illustrate the nature of the study by clearly completing and revising the following template:
Make sure your writing ties to the purpose and problem statements. The nature of the study must be a short, coherent essay allowing the reader a bite-sized view of your study and perspective.
Writing Goal 7: Hypotheses
Create your hypothesis tests, if desired. Think about which statistical test may help you either reject or fail to reject the null hypothesis. Please ask your chair for help in the case that you are uncertain about this optional writing goal.
Begin developing a literature map. A literature map is a visualization of the literature linking the concepts, ideas, and themes from the literature into a broad perspective of the field. The map may be extended while working on later dissertation chapters. The literature map also serves the following purposes: • Helps you detect themes in the literature useful for developing your dissertation. • Illustrates relationships between concepts, ideas, theories, and themes. • Helps you integrate old knowledge into the knowledge you create while dissertating. • Guide your literature searches. • Identify headings and subheadings you can use in chapter 2! • Keeps you grounded in the literature! There is no recipe for creating a literature map because they come in many forms: • An abstract framework grouping concepts using relationships—perhaps index cards! • Flowcharts involving events and their connections. • Causal networks of variables or influences. • Organizational diagrams/trees illustrating various kinds of relationships. • Venn diagrams in which overlaps (intersections) contain key concepts. • Bubble maps. • …any way you want to visualize the structure and relationships within the literature!
Reading Assignments Read chapters 2 in Research Design: Qualitative, Quantitative, and Mixed Methods Approaches, Fourth Edition.
Writing Goal 8: The Mini-Literature Review (MLR)
Visit LIRN, search for peer-reviewed journal articles about your topic and create a four to six-page miniature literature review. The following is a template for the MLR:
Miniature Literature Review: Create a short (3-4 sentence) paragraph introducing the elements of the MLR. The goal is to prepare the reader to engage your MLR and remain sane. Try to write this part after completing the rest of the MLR. (A complex or longer segment of a chapter always needs some sort of introduction!)
Context of the Problem: Take a few paragraphs and explain the context of the problem using the perspectives presented by the literature. You should expect several cited sources to appear here.
Contribution of the Study to the Literature: Take a few paragraphs and explain how your study contributes to the literature surrounding your problem. You should expect several cited sources to appear here.
Contribution to the Context of the Problem: Take a few paragraphs and explain how you expect the study to contribute knowledge and insight into the context supporting the existence of the problem. Remember, every problem has supporting context—without it, you do not have the people and processes allowing the problem to exist. So, make sure you have a contribution as to help others enhance their understanding of the problem. Usually, a few cites appear here.
Similar and Related Studies: Take a few paragraphs and discuss how your study relates to other studies. You should expect several cited sources to appear here.
Gap in the Literature: Take a paragraph or two and explain how your study fills in a missing segment (or gap) in the literature. Your unique perspective will contribute something no one has ever considered—and that is the niche you call home for the study. Describe that niche here and how it helps build upon previous literature.
Now that you have a template, your goal is to use it to outline the MLR task and fill it in! You may also wish to alter the L2 headings to your liking.
Review exercise 3.2 on page 70 of the PDF about conceptual frameworks. Create a second conceptual framework diagram for your study and think about the following questions: • Do both diagrams produce insight into what you think is going on with the variables in the study? • Which diagram would be easier or more practical to test? • Which diagram would fare better during testing? Why? • What are the implications of both diagrams? • Which diagram has implications more fitting of your study? • Is it easy to distinguish between the diagrams? • How could your study distinguish between the diagrams? Post a one to one-and-a-half-page response to the above questions along with the rationale supporting which diagram you want to use for your study.
Reading Assignments: Read the PDF about Conceptual Frameworks. Review chapter 3 in Fundamentals of Social Work Research. Read chapter 3 in Research Design: Qualitative, Quantitative, and Mixed Methods Approaches, Fourth Edition.
Writing Goal 9: The Conceptual Framework
Review your miniature literature review and visit LIRN while creating a five to six-page conceptual framework. Use the PDF about conceptual frameworks to create an integrated conceptual framework and an accompanying diagram.
The conceptual framework (CF) provides your view of the problem and facilitates exploration of the purpose and research questions driving the study.
Your goal is to review the literature and reflect upon experiences as to identify factors enabling the existence of the problem. You express each factor and then link them into a system facilitating exploration of the purpose and research questions driving the study.
The first step is to identify the factors you want to integrate into the CF. Each factor may be illustrated by: Defining and describing the factor. Citing or explaining how you got the factor. Explaining how the factor behaves.
The problem described by the factors likely requires them to interact. For example, if you see two people arguing, then you may deduce that the argument is the result of meshing the people, perspectives, attitudes, and beliefs into a problem resulting in the argument. Such a meshing of factors establishes the framework for an argument—and your study! The framework allows the factors to interact as a system giving rise to the problem while helping you grapple with the purpose of the study and research questions.
All of this thinking and visualization leads to the rough outline for a CF:
Notice how the last part requires you to assemble the factors into a framework (or system)!
You have been asked you to explore the assumptions and delimitations underlying your study. Review your selected method and conceptual framework as to find new assumptions and delimitations. Revise your draft as to include your newly discovered assumptions and delimitations. Strive to find at least one assumption and delimitation from your conceptual framework and at least one assumption from the selected method.
Post your revision, highlighting your changes, to the forum. Justify your changes.
Reading Assignments: Read chapter 5 in Research Design: Qualitative, Quantitative, and Mixed Methods Approaches, Fourth Edition.
Writing Goal 10: Assumptions, Limitations, and Delimitations
Limitations and delimitations represent potential points of constraint within the study. Limitations are constraints upon the study we cannot control. Conversely, delimitations are the constraints we impose upon a study. Review the miniature literature review, and the conceptual framework as to uncover the assumptions, limitations, and delimitations appearing within your study. Argue about how their acceptance is required for the study and whether they may influence your study.
Writing Goal 11: Definitions
It is important to inform your reader about the meaning of jargon, special words, and acronyms appearing in the study. Be sure to define terms that: Have a special meaning in your study. Appear in the conceptual framework. Denote variables. Are only known to specialists in your field. May remain subjective without additional clarification. May utilize their origin or history as to clarify some aspect of your study
A definition uses simple terms allowing your reader to understand the word. Further, a definition has the following three parts: The term you wish to define. An association to a concept allowing the term to be generalized. At least one attribute allowing the reader to differentiate the word from other words associated with the concept.
For example, let us say you had to define the term coffee:
Notice that we generalize coffee as a beverage and then make its definition concrete by including an attribute about making coffee. Tying a term to an attribute via a concept allows you to classify and describe a term such that the reader knows exactly what you mean!
Define your terms and make sure they are clear, simple, and contain all three parts.
Writing Goal 12: Introduction and Summary
Chapter 5 in Research Design: Qualitative, Quantitative, and Mixed Methods Approaches introduced you to the nature of an introduction. The introduction should hook the reader and prepare them to engage the dissertation. Ideally, an introduction follows Creswell’s deficiency model of an introduction.
The summary of the chapter should briefly summarize the chapter and signpost the reader regarding future chapters. Here is a template you may use and revise as you see fit.
Unit 6 is all about proofreading and obtaining additional feedback on Chapter 1. Please proofread the document and revise accordingly.