Most incoming or interested graduate students have heard of a dissertation, but not everyone knows what a dissertation entails.

A dissertation is a substantial paper that is based on original research. It provides evidence that the student has developed a strong foundation in both the coursework as well as the topic being explored. Listed below are the five main chapters of the dissertation. It is important to note that the first three chapters of a dissertation are called the Proposal. Once the proposal is approved, the last two chapters explain the results and conclusions.

Chapter 1:

The Introduction provides preliminary background information that puts your research into context. The reader needs to know why your research is worth doing. The focus of your study is provided and the rationale for your study is explained. The value of your research is shared. The statement of the problem demonstrates the need for the research. In addition, the audience will learn how they benefit from the new knowledge.

Chapter 2:

The Literature Review must describe relevant scholarship and theories as it pertains to the stated research question and overall topic of the study. The purpose is to demonstrate the major published works about your areas of interest. Via analysis and synthesis, the Literature Review is a scholarly argument around the primary themes or findings for the topic and/or sub-topics.

Chapter 3:

Chapter 3 outlines the methodology and specific methods chosen to research the problem. In this chapter, details will outline whether the study will be qualitative, quantitative or a mixed method, which is a combination of both qualitative and quantitative research, and specifics will be provided. The methods, or the ways that data will be collected, will be included as well as how data will be analyzed. In addition, ethical considerations of the study are included.

Chapter 4:

Chapter 4 is the Results Chapter. The purpose of Chapter 4 is to summarize the collected data and analysis. The research questions and/or hypotheses is restated. The findings or results of the study will be discussed and explored.

Chapter 5:

Chapter 5 is the Discussion Chapter. In this chapter, areas that are discussed are: an in depth discussion of the research study, major findings, interpretations, significance for the study, recommendations for future research, and how the study has contributed to the body of knowledge.

These are the basics of what will be expected in the dissertation as a DBA student. In the Concordia University Wisconsin DBA Program, faculty and staff will be there to support you every step of the way.

Stay tuned over the next few weeks for Demystifying the Dissertation Pillar 3: What Support Will I Have to Complete the DBA Dissertation.

Learn more about the Concordia University DBA Program here:

— Dr. Jennifer Knowles, serves as assistant professor of business in the DBA program at Concordia University Wisconsin-Ann Arbor.

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