Module 5 Assignment 2a: Interview Doctoral Researchers

Module 5 Assignment 1: Course Project Task IV/Preparing for the Literature Review

In Module 1 you identified a research topic of interest and some preliminary questions around that topic. Exploring databases set you on the path to look for, select, and examine existing studies for their relevance and usefulness to your topic. Then you examined them in detail and wrote a critique of one of the articles, looking for strengths and weaknesses and gaps in the research that may have been overlooked. With the annotated bibliography, you selected several relevant articles and not only did you evaluate them, but you also looked at patterns of similarities and differences between how they have presented aspects of your topic and question, continuing to consider how you might refine your research question.

In this assignment, you will attempt to complete a preliminary and preparatory document towards your final literature review. This is a short assignment and need not be more than one-two pages.

The first section of the paper should be an introductory paragraph that states your research question using the relational model; a clear purpose for this assignment; and a map that outlines the patterns/themes you have found so far from the sources you have reviewed.

The second section of the paper (Body) will be an outline of the literature review. To create the outline, examine your selected sources, note the common patterns or themes, and create 3-4 clear headings that reflect the main themes. Next to each theme/heading, cite the sources that indicated this theme. Under each theme, include sub-topics that reflect key points of discussion for that theme. Make sure that the sub topics you include align with their associated headings. These headings and subtopics can then be used as sub-headings and discussion points to structure and organize your literature review in Module 6.  Please read the Module 5 Overview page to understand how you would search for common themes in the literature.

The final section of the paper is a brief conclusion where you would re-state the purpose and map, while broadly summarizing key patterns/themes as they currently exist, noting any gaps and/or suggestions for future research identified by the researcher where your research question could be added to the conversation

Two important concepts/terminology to emphasize here are “literature” and “themes”:

  • A single source cannot be termed as “literature”. The word, Literature refers to numerous and major scholarly writings presented on a specific topic. Depending on your discipline and field, “the literature” can include: journal articles, books, published essays, government reports, and so on. The main thing to keep in mind is that “the literature” is the body of scholarly, professional information that is used by researchers working on that topic area. When we refer to a literature review, the implication is an examination and evaluation of a collection of sources relevant to a specific area of research. A well written literature review helps you to establish the rationale for your particular research and provides the framework in selecting a particular research question
  • A concept cannnot be designated as a theme if you only come across that perspective in a single source. However, if you see the same or differing opinions/perspectives expressed across numerous articles, then you can identify that perspective as a pattern or a theme.

Review the grading criteria below for additional details on how to structure the  content.

By Wednesday, July30 submit your assignment as a Word document to the Discussion Area. 



Module 5 Assignment 2a: Interview Doctoral Researchers

Please note that this assignment is to be completed in two parts. M52a is to be completed and submitted to the M52a drop box and response to M52b is to be posted to the M52b discussion forum. 

During this course, you have begun to understand that a dissertation is a multi-faceted research project. You may have heard of the term ABD (all but dissertation). There are a sizeable number of doctoral students who have completed their coursework, passed their comprehensive examinations, but never have completed their dissertations.

You may wonder how this might happen. For example, were these students who did not complete their dissertations really scholarly impostors who did not possess sufficient knowledge and skills? What can you do to avoid this?

This assignment requires you to interview two people who have successfully completed doctoral programs.

Your goal in this assignment is to carefully consider and organize the body of your paper around these three key ideas:

  • What most assisted your interviewees in completing their major research projects or dissertations?
  • What challenges did your interviewees experience?
  • What specific recommendations do your interviewees have for successful completion?

Use the following guidelines as you conduct your interview to help you achieve the above three goals:

  • Select individuals to interview, if possible, who are not AU faculty or staff members, since one purpose of this assignment is to broaden your perspectives regarding conducting doctoral research.
  • Each interview should take 30–45 minutes, depending on how responsive your interviewees are.
  • You may conduct your interviews in person or by phone.
    Prior to meeting your interviewees, develop 10–15 interview questions you will ask each of them that will hep you to address the above three goals. It is important to ask the same questions to both.
  • The first question or two should help you understand their research topics and why the topics were of interest to your interviewees. In addition it could be very useful to your research to ask questions like these: What tips do they have for locating good materials, especially research articles? How long did it take the interviewee from start to finish? What resources were required, such as technology, postage, and other costs? Another important area of information concerns the role of the committee chair and the committee members.
  • Several questions should be asked to help you explore what assisted each person the most in completing the research or dissertation.
  • Trying to understand the challenges each interviewee faced will also require several questions.
  • As you conduct each interview, you may ask related, follow up questions to help you better understand each interviewee’s response, such as: “Could you give me a specific example of what you meant when you said …?” or “Could you provide a little more detail about …?” This will help you provide details in your paper as well as enhance your understanding of the challenges faced.
  • Toward the end of your interview, ask what recommendations each interviewee could provide to help you be successful in the completion of your dissertation.
  • In order to capture the information from the interview, be prepared to take detailed notes. Some students even request permission to tape record their interviews so they can replay and listen to them to better understand the information provided by each interviewee.

Collate the information gathered from your interviews. Write a three- pages analysis comparing and contrasting the information from the two interviews. Do not present the analysis in a question and answer format. 

Consider the following as you write your paper:

  • Introductory Paragraph: Begin your paper with a purpose statement and a map of how you intend to organize your paper. Using the 3 main goals listed above as broad themes/categories with sub headings could be a most useful way to organize this paper. Be sure to also include in this introductory paragraph the name of each or pseudonym [if confidentiality is needed] as well as the basic nature of their research or dissertation study.
  • Your paper should be an analysis of the interviews and a comparison of their experiences, not just a summary of each specific question asked.
  • Attach your interview questionnaire to the end of your paper.

By Friday, August 1, 2014, post your interview analysis in Microsoft Word format to the M5:

Assignment 2a Dropbox.


Module 5 Assignment 2b: Reflections on Interview of Doctoral Researchers

Based on the information gathered during the two interviews and your analysis of the information, you would have gleaned some key concepts or take aways from the interviews.

Once you have posted your interview analysis to the Assignment 2a drop box, use the Discussion Area provided below to summarize a minimum of 2-3 key concepts that you generated through these interviews. Explain what you have learned from this interview assignment that could be of assistance in your success, and help you avoid becoming an ABD.

Review your peer submissions and respond to a minimum of two posts in a thoughtful manner.

By Saturday Augast 2 , post your reflection in Microsoft Word format to theM5: Assignment 2b Discussion forum. Name your file W7000_M5_2b_lastname_firstinitial.doc. 

All written assignments and responses should follow APA style in formatting and attributing sources.


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