Ph.D. Dissertation Guidelines

The Dissertation

Dissertation research is the vehicle through which students learn to independently conduct, complete, and communicate research. The doctoral dissertation should reveal the student’s ability to discover, analyze, interpret, synthesize, and disseminate information through the process of:

  1. Generating a research question of interest and import to the student’s chosen field;
  2. Placing the research question in the context of research literature relating to the project with a particular emphasis on prior scholarship on which the dissertation is built;
  3. Describing and executing appropriate methodology;
  4. Presenting results in a logical manner; and
  5. Fully and coherently discussing the meaning of the results.

The dissertation should be:

  1. Original (i.e., it builds on or extends what is currently known).
  2. Substantial and researchable (i.e., it addresses a significant problem that:
  3. Poses a puzzle to the field at a theoretical, methodological, or policy level;
  4. Requires an analytical discussion, beyond simple cataloging or describing; and
  5. Employs a reasonable research methodology).
  6. Manageable (i.e., the scope of the project is appropriate given limited time and resources).


Educational Psychology Department Dissertation Rules and Guidelines

The Department of Educational Psychology maintains a number of online resources to help students successfully navigate and complete the dissertation process:

Educational Psychology Department Dissertation Proposal Guidelines

University of Connecticut Graduate School Dissertation Specifications


*Note on the dissertation embargo: In academia, an “embargo” is a restriction placed on a thesis or dissertation that allows only the title, abstract, and citation information to be released to the public for a limited period of time. See Georgia Southern Library Guide for more info.