Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Writing Support for Doctoral Students: EdD Dissertation Resources

This guide provides multiple writing tools for doctoral students.

Dissertation General Information

NOTE: 

Dissertation Topic must be approved prior to the proposal defense.

Last day to defend for spring commencement: March 15

Last day to defend for fall commencement: October 15

The dissertation process is divided into benchmark stages designed to help you complete the dissertation in a timely fashion. Use the Dissertation Checklist to guide you as you proceed through the process.

These dissertation stages are guidelines for progress throughout the development of the dissertation. Some students will take longer, while some will take less time. You also should be aware and consider that holidays, semester breaks, summer, and committee members’ travel, research, and teaching commitments all impact the timing and completion of the dissertation process. Each committee member may take up to twenty business days to provide feedback each time you submit a document to them. A business day is defined as a working day; vacation days do not count as a business day.

Dissertation Phase Time Limits

Students may enroll in dissertation courses for no more than eight semesters (maximum of 16 credits of dissertation credits). If a student is unable to defend the dissertation before the end of the eighth semester in the dissertation phase, he or she may petition for a one-semester extension.

Click on the chapter tabs to read about each dissertation phase. 

 

The dissertation committee consists of a minimum of three members:

  1. The chair of the dissertation committee, who must be a COE faculty member with a terminal degree (assigned by the COE).
  2. A second reader with appropriate credentials and approval by the COE.  The second reader will function as the research methodologist (assigned by the COE).
  3. A third reader (typically a topic/content expert) with appropriate credentials and approval by the dissertation chair, Ed.D. chair and COE dean.

You are responsible to consult with your dissertation chair in the selection of your third reader from either within or outside SEU to serve on the dissertation committee.  The third reader must have:

  1. A terminal degree
  2. Verifiable graduate faculty status at the institution where he/she serves and/or outstanding professional experience that warrants inclusion on the committee.

Documentation of the external reader’s credentials should be submitted to the Ed.D. chair for approval prior to making a commitment to the third reader.

In general, you should request committee members who have specialized expertise in your specific area of research interest.

 

Before your chair can schedule your dissertation defense with the EdD administrative assistant, you must submit an Editor Verification form and receive approval for each chapter of the dissertation from the following:

1. each member of your dissertation committee 

2. the University Review Committee

Please be aware that each committee member may take up to twenty business days to review each chapter. The University Review Committee may take up to thirty business days to review your final dissertation. If revisions are required, the dissertation may be subject to an additional approval process. 

Therefore, submit your dissertation well in advance of defense deadlines and make travel plans to defend your dissertation only after your dissertation has received full approval.

 

Last day to defend for spring commencement: March 15

Last day to defend for fall commencement: October 15

 

Dissertation Proposal and Chapters 1-3

Complete an exhaustive review of relevant literature on your topic.

Note: You will not be writing your review during this phase; however, you will use this research to develop chapter 2.

Develop your research proposal in conjunction with your Dissertation Chair and the research methodologists.

Note:  Dissertation proposals are written in the future tense.  The proposal becomes the basis for chapter 1 of the dissertation, which is later written in the past tense.

Pre-Dissertation Discussions

  • Begin narrowing dissertation topic and design.

Proposal

  • Search library databases for studies/literature related to your topic.

  • Discuss proposal.

    • Communicate weekly or bi-weekly with your chair as you prepare the proposal.

    • Download Grammarly. (grammarly.com)

    • Send your chair the problem/purpose statement and 5-10 potential research questions and identify the type of study (qualitative/quantitative).

    • Discuss theoretical framework or conceptual framework with your chair.

  • Send the Dissertation Planning Guide to your chair.

  • Submit the Dissertation Topic Approval form to your chair. Your chair will obtain the needed signatures and email the completed form to the EdD administrative assistant upon approval.

  • Meet with your chair and then your methodologist to finalize the problem statement, purpose statement, research questions, and methodology.

  • Draft proposal. Be sure to use the proposal template.

  • Identify the third reader (see document for third reader qualifications).

  • Your chair sends the written proposal to the methodologist and the third reader.

  • Update your CITI Training (if necessary) in preparation for IRB application.

  • Your chair sets proposal defense date with EdD administrative assistant.

  • Complete the proposal defense

  • Your chair submits the proposal defense rubric to EdD administrative assistant

  • Work with your chair to develop an outline for chapter two.

IRB

  • Submit IRB application. Allow 4-6 weeks for approval

If you are proposing the use of human subjects in the research study, collaborate with your Dissertation Chair on the IRB application and submit to the IRB committee for review and approval.

Click here to access the Southeastern University IRB Homepage 

Your Dissertation Chair is the Principal Investigator [PI] on all dissertation research studies using human subjects; you are considered a Student Investigator.

PLEASE NOTE: The IRB paperwork (including IRB-E [exempt] forms) must be completed, submitted, and approved prior to conducting your study. 

After approval by the IRB and the dissertation committee, begin collecting data and ensure the protection of human subjects before, during, and after conducting research.

Demonstrate ethical and professional behavior when conducting research.

Chapter One: Introduction

  • Use the dissertation template. Carefully proofread Chapter One and edit the chapter according to APA and scholarly writing standards.

  • In consultation with your chair, polish Chapter One before submitting Chapter One to GWS.

  • When your chair believes Chapter One is ready for review, submit your best version of Chapter One to GWS two times (required). Additional reviews by GWS are not available.

  • After the GWS review, your chair will send Chapter One to the methodologist and third reader. The chapter should be a clean copy with all previous comments deleted and all track changes removed.

  • Revise Chapter One according to the recommendations of your committee members. Be sure to carefully edit the revised content.

Write a comprehensive review of the related literature (helpful article for guidance)

Chapter Two: Literature Review

  • Search library databases to saturate the literature. Helpful resources, “Writing Resources” and “Proposal and Chapters 1-3,” are available on the EdD portal,
    • Reminder: To review a study, please include the following elements: authors and date of publication, research question, sample population, method and approach (qual/quant), type of analysis (t-test, ANOVA, etc.), findings, and implications of the study. Download and save a copy of the notes template (see below). Use the template to guide you as you write your notes.
  • In consultation with your chair, write and polish Chapter Two. Carefully proofread chapter two and edit according to APA and scholarly writing standards.
    • When your chair believes Chapter Two is ready for review, submit your best version of Chapter Two to GWS two times (required). Chapter Two may be reviewed an additional two times (the maximum number of reviews is four times).
  • After the GWS review, your chair will send Chapters One and Two to the methodologist and third reader. Sending both chapters will enable the readers to check for continuity. The chapters should be clean copies with all previous comments deleted and all track changes removed.
  • Revise Chapters One and Two according to the recommendations of your committee members. Be sure to carefully edit the revised content.

 

Chapter Three: Methodology

  • Discuss Chapter Three with the methodologist.
  • Incorporating the advice from the methodologist and in consultation with your chair, write Chapter Three.
  • Carefully proofread Chapter Three and edit according to APA and scholarly writing standards.
    • When your chair believes Chapter Three is ready for review, submit your best version of Chapter Three to GWS two times (required). Additional reviews by GWS are not available.
  • After the GWS review, your chair will send Chapter Three to the methodologist and third reader along with Chapters One and Two so readers can check for continuity. The chapters should be clean copies with all previous comments deleted and all track changes removed.
  • Revise the chapters according to the recommendations of your committee members. Be sure to carefully edit the revised content.

Dissertation Chapters 4-5

Analyze, interpret, and report the results of the research.

Chapter Four: Analysis

  • Discuss data analysis with the methodologist.
  • Incorporating the advice from the methodologist and in consultation with your chair, write Chapter Four.
  • Carefully proofread Chapter Four and edit according to APA and scholarly writing standards.
    • When your chair believes Chapter Four is ready for review, submit Chapter Four to GWS two times (required). Additional reviews by GWS are not available.
  • After the GWS review, your chair will send Chapter Four to the methodologist and third reader along with Chapters One through Three so readers can check for continuity. The chapters should be clean copies with all previous comments deleted and all track changes removed.
  • Revise the chapters according to the recommendations of your committee members. Be sure to carefully edit the revised content.

Chapter Five: Discussion

  • Discuss Chapter Five with your chair and the methodologist.
  • Incorporating the advice from the methodologist and in consultation with your chair, write Chapter Five.
  • Carefully proofread Chapter Five and edit according to APA and scholarly writing standards.
    • When your chair believes Chapter Five is ready for review, submit your best version of Chapter Five to GWS two times (required). Chapter Five may be reviewed an additional two times (the maximum number of reviews is four times).
  • After the GWS review, your chair will send Chapter Five to the methodologist and third reader along with Chapters One through Four so readers can check for continuity. The chapters should be clean copies with all previous comments deleted and all track changes removed.
  • Revise the chapters according to the recommendations of your committee members. Be sure to carefully edit the revised content.

Editing Process

  • After Chapters One through Five have been approved by your chair, methodologist, and third reader, contact the EdD administrative assistant to secure an EdD approved editor.
  • Submit the complete dissertation to the approved editor. Be sure to send your best product to the editor to decrease the need for additional submissions and to reduce expenses.
  • Obtain verification of completed editing from the editor (use the Editor Verification form).

The Defense

In Preparation for the Dissertation Defense

Begin preparation for your defense well before the scheduled date and make sure to apply for graduation by the appropriate due date listed in the academic calendar.

Last day to defend for spring commencement: March 15

Last day to defend for fall commencement: October 15

Your chair will schedule your dissertation defense after all the necessary approvals are received.

  • After your chair and committee are satisfied with the edited dissertation, your chair submits the edited dissertation along with the Editor Verification form to the University Review Committee via email to urc@seu.edu.  The dissertation should be a clean copy with all previous comments deleted and all track changes removed. Allow 30 business days for review.
  • Make revisions as requested by the University Review Committee.
    • Submit revised dissertation to editor if required by URC.
  • Receive final approval of the written dissertation from dissertation committee. The dissertation must be ready for publication prior to defending the dissertation.
  • Your chair will set dissertation defense date with the EdD administrative assistant.

The final step in the dissertation process is an oral defense of your dissertation. Your chair can schedule a dissertation defense only after you have received approval from the University Review Committee.  You must be enrolled during the term in which you defend the dissertation. All members of the dissertation committee must be present either in person or remotely.  The EdD Chair, the COE Dean, and guests may also attend the dissertation defense as observers.

Dissertation Defense 

  • Defend your dissertation. The dissertation defense presentation should be no longer than 30-35 minutes. Please be sure to use the dissertation defense PowerPoint template.

A typical dissertation defense may follow the following sequence:

  • Introduction and Overview of the defense by the Dissertation Chair
  • Presentation of the dissertation by the student (typically a PowerPoint presentation)
  • Committee comments and questions for the student
  • End of the public portion of the meeting
  • Committee Executive Session without the student
  • Committee private conversation with the student – decision and next steps

Final Processes

  • Your chair will submit the defense rubric to EdD administrative assistant after the dissertation defense.
  • If revisions were requested at the defense, complete the revisions and send the revised dissertation to your chair. Your chair and committee must approve final revisions before the dissertation is considered the final version.
  • Obtain signatures for the signature page. Place signature page in the final copy of the dissertation.
  • Submit the completed, edited dissertation to ProQuest.     

Evaluation of the Dissertation Defense

Based on the committee’s evaluation, the members may make one of the following decisions:

Pass. You have completed the dissertation with no more than minor revisions and have passed the dissertation defense.

Reconsider.  Revisions to the dissertation are necessary, but the committee is willing to examine the rewriting without requiring another oral defense. If a committee member still has doubts after the rewriting, he or she may request another oral defense. You will have four weeks to complete requirements by the committee.  Revisions should be sent first to the Dissertation Chair, who will circulate the revised dissertation to the dissertation committee and call for an up-or-down vote by a specific date.  If successfully revised, you will be notified of your completion of the dissertation requirements.  If unsuccessfully revised, you will have eight additional weeks to revise the dissertation and will be asked to re-defend the dissertation.

Re-defend.   Revisions are needed, and the dissertation must be re-defended.

Fail. The committee has determined that the dissertation is unsatisfactory after revisions and/or re-defense and that you may not rewrite.

When you have successfully defended your dissertation, you may call yourself “Dr.”   The title becomes effective immediately even though graduation may come later.

However, all changes and revisions to the final dissertation document must be made and approved by your Dissertation Chair prior to graduation and prior to submission for public distribution in ProQuest and other online venues.

Steelman Library, 1000 Longfellow Blvd. Lakeland, Florida 33801 · 863.667.5089