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Grand Canyon University’s innovative doctoral degree programs prepare learners for leadership roles in their professions, communities and society. Our dynamic online learning community, integrated dissertation process, wealth of resources and collaborative environment support a successful and meaningful doctoral journey. We believe earning a doctoral degree is a journey and similar to climbing a mountain—challenging, invigorating and completely rewarding when you reach the top. Our goal is to help you conquer your own mountain and succeed on your doctoral journey. Readers of The Doctoral Journey blog, presented by the College of Doctoral Studies, will find resourceful and knowledgeable posts regarding the doctoral process, research best practices and dissertation tips among other topics from GCU’s doctoral faculty.
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Category: Dissertation Resources
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By Dorina Miron, PhD
Doctoral Research Specialist, College of Doctoral Studies

The time and money you invest during your doctoral journey do not directly get you a more rewarding job. You will have to demonstrate doctoral-level expertise in order to advance your career to higher levels of responsibility and satisfaction.

Very briefly, as a doctor, you will be able to research a problem and develop research-based avenues to mitigate or resolve that problem. We live in a data-driven economy, where decisions are made on the basis of scientifically (i.e., systematically) collected and processed information.

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By Hazel Isaac-Smith, PhD
Office of Dissertations Research Specialist, College of Doctoral Studies

“Publishing a [literature] review demands art as well as skill to help readers to make sense of a particular world of evidence and make them want to go and find out more for themselves.” (Barbara Steward)

When approaching a literature review, doctoral learners are either overwhelmed by the task or they underestimate the importance of it. The College of Doctoral Studies at Grand Canyon University is here to help you get your literature review going in the right direction:

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When pursuing a doctoral degree, you most likely will end up writing a dissertation. A dissertation is a heavily researched piece of writing, written by a doctoral learner during their program.

While it can seem like a huge task, there are many ways in which writing a dissertation can be simplified. In many cases, the idea of such a large assignment can lead to lack of motivation. We previously discussed some tips for writing your dissertation. Here are a few more tips to help you during the dissertation-writing process:

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By Hazel Isaac-Smith, PhD
Office of Dissertations Research Specialist, College of Doctoral Studies

Doctoral learners are typically terrified of the proposal and dissertation defense – and rightly so! The dissertation defense is a defining moment of any doctorally prepared individual’s professional life.

At Grand Canyon University, learners in our doctoral degree programs will face two defenses: one for the proposal and one for the dissertation. The fear of facing a defense is primarily not knowing what to expect.

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By Kathleen Laity, PhD
Office of Dissertations Senior Research Specialist, College of Doctoral Studies

Perhaps you heard it in the military as I did: Plan your work, and work your plan.

It’s been in use a long time and in a number of different settings. The advice speaks to taking on a project of any size, from cleaning your house to writing a dissertation.

Planning your work includes what’s to be done, the sequence in which to do it and most importantly how to do it.  The rest is execution.

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By Wayne Schmidt, EdD
Doctor of Education Chair, College of Doctoral Studies

By Michael Berger, EdD
Dean, College of Doctoral Studies

It’s time for more talk about the dissertation. Writing the dissertation is the defining element of the doctoral experience—the end point of the doctoral journey. It’s also one of the most difficult academic tasks that anyone can accomplish.

The College of Doctoral Studies has an innovative, embedded dissertation process that gets you started early. Additionally, even though you’ll receive great academic support in the form of rubrics, templates and milestones, there are still ways that things can go wrong.

Previously, we discussed three of our first seven dissertation “don’ts” that are avoidable with some good planning! Here are the last four, focused on how to best manage your committee and your time while you are working away on the dissertation itself:

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By Wayne Schmidt, EdD
Doctor of Education Chair, College of Doctoral Studies

By Michael Berger, EdD
Dean, College of Doctoral Studies

We’re going to talk a lot about the dissertation on this blog, which should not be surprising. Writing the dissertation is the defining element of the doctoral experience, the end point of the doctoral journey.

It’s also one of the most difficult academic tasks that anyone can accomplish. Essentially, you have to write a book: a 200- to 350-page document of new original research that you yourself have created.

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By Ted Cross, EdD
Adjunct Faculty, College of Doctoral Studies

Recently, I went on a trip to Washington, D.C. and had the chance to tour the Pentagon. Amazingly, this building, the largest in the world when it was built, was completed in 18 months!

This really got me thinking: “If the Pentagon could be built in 18 months, why does it take forever to finish a freeway?”

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