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Step 1: Program Course Work

Students may begin conceptualizing, reading, and running pilot studies (with faculty oversight and IRB approval) connected to dissertation interest at any time in the program. At the same time, before beginning official work on your dissertation, students must:

  • Complete all 57 credits of required course work including RES 8001 Qualifying Paper Seminar
  • Obtain a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.25
  • Be in good academic standing including a grade of B- or higher or a P (Pass) in all coursework
  • Complete all residency requirements

Step 2: Forming Your Dissertation Committee

Composition of Committee

As you begin to formulate the topic and thrust of your dissertation, carefully consider the composition of your committee. Make certain that the interests and expertise of the faculty members on your committee coincide with your dissertation efforts.

Committee Membership

Your dissertation committee membership will include the following:

  1. Chair: Must be a terminally degreed faculty member at Indiana Tech within your related discipline/dissertation topical area.
  2. Methodologist:  A strong research faculty member (possessing a terminal degree), either qualitative or quantitative depending on your dissertation methodology.
  3. Content Expert: This individual must have a terminal degree and extensive knowledge within your general research discipline.

Step 3: Qualifying Paper

The qualifying paper is a starting point for dissertation research. In the qualifying paper process, a PhD student will:

  • Explore a potential research topic (that could lead to a feasible, original, and applied research project)
  • Demonstrate readiness to engage in research
  • Present an overall understanding of the field of global leadership studies

The paper should describe what might be studied and why a particular phenomenon needs to be examined. In addition, a student has to provide a brief explanation of how this phenomenon might be studies. The intention of the how component is to offer preliminary thoughts on potential research hypotheses and research design. The main focus, however, is placed on the what and why components.

Writing the qualifying paper provides an opportunity for a student and committee members to engage in discussions about:

  • Significance of a suggested topic to scholarship and practice
  • Relevance of this topic within the field of global leadership studies
  • Appropriateness of a conceptual framework
  • Feasibility of a study

Discussion with committee members at the qualifying paper defense will help a student prepare a better developed research question, refine theoretical framework, and review research limitation and potential challenges.

Elements of the Qualifying Paper

  • Introduction: Overview of what will be included in the paper and why
  • Statement of the Problem: Overall global conditions where a proposed global leadership phenomenon is observed; understanding of global leadership; arguments about what we know, do not know, and need to know about a suggested global leadership phenomenon to enrich global leadership scholarship and aid practitioners in global organizations
  • Theoretical framework: Description of main concepts suggested for the study and appropriate theories
  • Significance of the study: For scholars and practitioners
  • Research Purpose and Questions: Overall study purpose, research gap(s), and broad research questions to address in the study
  • Method: Brief statement on proposed research method, hypotheses, research design, potential variables and instruments (where applicable), sample description, etc., and explanation of choices. This section represents a student’s understanding of the connection between a research question and a chosen research method.

Qualifying paper defense signifies comprehensive exam completion.

Step 4: Dissertation Proposal

The dissertation proposal comprises the first three completed chapters of a dissertation.

  • Chapter 1 – Introduction to the study
  • Chapter 2 – Literature Review
  • Chapter 3 – Method section

The purpose of the proposal is to present an exhaustive, coherent, and compelling argument for the study, and to describe the comprehensive method that will be used to obtain research data. The student is required to argue for the merits of the dissertation research at the dissertation proposal defense. This defense should present a strong case by identifying a research gap, demonstrating relevance of the dissertation project to global leadership studies and practice, and by demonstrating a student’s expertise in a selected research method. You may either “pass,” “pass with qualification,” “recess,” or “fail” the defense.

Step 5: Final Dissertation Defense

Any interested member of the Indiana Tech community may attend your final defense. Although the format may vary, the purpose of the defense is to argue appropriateness and value of your dissertation research, interpret your research findings, and explain how your research contributes to global scholarship and practice. Generally, you will be asked to make a short presentation of your study and findings after which members of your committee ask specific questions about the study. A dissertation defense typically lasts one to two hours.