Alternative Dissertation Proposal Design

The doctoral student may, in consultation with the committee chair and committee, undertake an alternative proposal design that will produce a dissertation that is different than the traditional 5-chapter format. For example, an alternative proposal and dissertation design might involve 4 chapters with a more extensive appendix that includes supporting material such as the literature review (usually chapter 2 in the traditional format). Under this alternative format, the dissertation is organized as follows: Chapter 1 Introduction; Chapter 2 Method; Chapter 3 Results; Chapter 4 Discussion, followed by: References, Appendix A Definition of Terms; Appendix B A Review of the Literature and other needed appendix items. Thus, chapters 1-4 can be developed as an article while the extended literature review in the appendix can also be submitted for publication as a research review.

While the alternative format facilitates publication at various stages of the dissertation process, it includes much of the information contained within the traditional format. Because it is structured along the lines of a research paper or article, much of the redundancy in the traditional format is removed. Students should exhibit a desire to be innovative in the development of the dissertation. If a student is interested in this alternative form of the dissertation or another alternative form, it will be important to discuss this with the dissertation chair and committee well before beginning work on the dissertation proposal.

Examples of this alternative form of the dissertation can be reviewed by a dissertation chair and doctoral students. See for example:

Mallette, M. H. (1999, May). Learning to teach literacy: A beginning kindergarten teacher’s developing pedagogical content knowledge. Las Vegas, NV: The University of Nevada, Las Vegas. (Chair, Dr. John E. Readence)

Smith, M. M. (1999, May). The influence of an intermediate intervention model on two teachers literacy practices. Las Vegas, NV: The University of Nevada, Las Vegas. (Chairs, Dr. John E. Readence and Dr. Marilyn McKinney)