Dissertation Process | College of Education and Human Services | SIU

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Dissertation Process

A successful dissertation should represent the most extensive and intensive scholarly work the student has performed to date. Inherent in the process of completing the dissertation is the expectation that students will take initiative to engage in a high level of scholarship that contributes significantly to the national dialogue.

A dissertation must address a significant research question and demonstrate the author can interpret findings and formulate conclusions that are the result of independent thinking and sustained evaluation of source materials. These findings must be expressed in clear and grammatically correct language that is organized into a cogent and coherent argument.

Research Involving Human Subjects

Any research involving human subjects must be reviewed and approved by the SIUC Institutional Review Board (IRB) prior to the start of the research project HERE.

If a student’s dissertation involves human subjects, a completed Southern Illinois University Human Subjects Committee (HSC) Application (available HERE) must be included in the final copies submitted to the Graduate School. Please note: If the research does not involve human subjects a waiver must be obtained from the Human Subjects Committee and included in the final copies.

If this form is not included, then the document will not be accepted by the Graduate School. For more information, contact the SIUC Human Subjects Committee at (618) 453-4540 or visit the websites listed above.

Dissertation Procedures

In the dissertation process, doctoral candidates should:

  • prepare a dissertation prospectus outlining the planned research, including statement of the problem and methodology which typically consists of first chapters (Introduction to the problem, literature review, when appropriate, and methods section including research design, overview of materials/instruments being used, research methods and analyses;
  • present the dissertation prospectus to the doctoral committee for approval;
  • after doctoral committee approval, work with the chairperson to make appropriate revisions and submit application to Human Subjects Committee;
  • work with the chairperson to forward one copy of the approved prospectus with the prospectus approval form to the Dean of the College of Education and Human Services for approval;
  • complete the dissertation research and writing;
  • work with the doctoral committee to set and publicize a date for the final oral examination after dissertation research and paper are complete, and;
  • successfully defend the dissertation.

Satisfactory completion of the dissertation requirement includes passing the oral examination covering the dissertation and related areas. In preparation of the dissertation and final oral examination, the candidate should work with the doctoral committee chairperson and consult with other members of the dissertation committee, as needed, and as required by the chairperson. Students should follow the Guidelines for Preparing and Submitting the Dissertation. (See HERE.)

Any member of the graduate faculty may attend the final oral examination and may participate in questioning and discussion, subject to reasonable limitations imposed by the student’s dissertation committee. Only members of the committee may vote or make recommendations concerning the acceptance of the dissertation and final examination.

The student's dissertation committee is responsible for judging the acceptability of the dissertation from all standpoints, including writing quality, mechanical considerations, and technical and professional competency.

A student will be recommended for the degree only if at least 80% of the dissertation committee members judge both the dissertation and the performance at the final oral examination as satisfactory.

The dissertation committee chairperson retains responsibility for reviewing the final copy of the dissertation and securing other committee members’ signatures.

The committee chairperson will sign only after all final revisions have been made to the dissertation and signatures of other committee members have been obtained. An original copy of the signed approval form should be placed in the student’s file.

The signature page (with dissertation copy) must then be shared with the Dean for his/her approval.