Skip to main content

Lamson Library

Today's hours:  
(more hours)

Dissertation Guide

Information for doctoral students preparing for, writing, or submitting their dissertations

For Theses

Master's students should refer here instead:

Citing Your Work

Citation Managers


Welcome to Plymouth State University’s Doctor of Education (EdD) program. The information contained in this guide will support you in your journey toward completing your dissertation and earning your degree.   

Program Characteristics and Overview

The Doctor of Education is a degree oriented to the improvement of professional practice by extending the knowledge, expertise, and skill of candidates through the application of research to leadership issues. The purpose of the Doctor of Education program is to provide challenging professional growth to experienced practitioners and professionals, including educators, administrators, counselors, and individuals working in higher education and related community agencies or organizations.

In this program we promote intellectual inquiry, research, and creative thinking from global and integrative perspectives through a commitment to five hallmarks

Leadership and Advocacy

Leaders influence others to stay on course and keep moving toward their goal. Leadership describes how a leader carries out, or does, his/her leadership; it is the practice of being a leader. To advocate is to encourage others and promote activism.  Leadership requires a capacity to lead as well as a willingness to inspire action.

Scholarship and Application

Scholarship refers to the qualities of a scholar, or learned individual. The purpose of graduate study is to contribute to the knowledge base of professionals, but gaining knowledge is not enough; it is the application of knowledge and the act of putting it into practical use that makes the difference.

Reflection and innovation

Reflection is the practice of looking back to contemplate the journey one has taken. Reflective practitioners consider where they were, where they are, and where they’re going; they learn from their experiences. The act of reflecting allows for innovative thinking so that new ideas can be born.

Professionalism and Service

Professionalism refers to the way trained specialists (professionals) conduct themselves. At Plymouth State University the purpose of graduate study is to master the skills necessary to become a qualified professional and to apply those skills in service to others. 

Global Awareness and Social Responsibility

Global awareness requires students to remain conscious of the worldwide community. Doctoral study promotes an understanding of the social systems in which people, organizations, and communities thrive. As members of worldwide social systems we have an obligation to act for the benefit of society. Social responsibility pertains to everyone whose actions impact the environment.

The doctoral dissertation represents the candidate’s contribution to the educational knowledge base. The dissertation should display mastery of, and the ability to apply research findings to, new analyses, syntheses, interpretations, and other research methods and procedures in order to contribute to the improvement of practice in leadership. The purpose of the dissertation is to produce knowledge, insight, materials, and/or new methods in the candidate’s field of specialization. It may replicate and extend an earlier study for the purpose of correcting errors, eliminating shortcomings, and enhancing or clarifying it. The dissertation must be meaningful and provide evidence of familiarity with existing research in the field.

The student is responsible for certifying that the dissertation has been prepared in accordance with the regulations in this guide and that it is the student’s own work. The text should be proofread and free of grammatical errors and typos. For support with editing, students may contact the Writing Center. The dissertation author bears ultimate responsibility for meeting all of the formatting and style requirements set forth by the University and the dissertation committee. It is extremely important that the author carefully review and proofread the dissertation before the final submission. If format errors exist, the dissertation will be returned and this may delay graduation. After the dissertation has been submitted to and received by library staff, changes will not be permitted.

The overall dissertation format is standard, with the dissertation having five chapters that are completed in three blocks.

  • Chapter 1: Introduction and Purpose of the Study
  • Chapter 2: Literature Review
  • Chapter 3: Methodology
  • Chapter 4: Data Analysis and Findings
  • Chapter 5: Conclusions and Suggestions for Further Research (or Analysis and Synthesis; or Conclusions and Recommendations)

The reference list for the completed dissertation is placed after Chapter Five and before any appendix. Documents, tables and figures whose importance to the text is tangential may be handled as appendix material.

Once accepted, your dissertation will be searchable and available in: