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Section 1 Foundations of Doctoral Study / Chapter 1 Welcome to the Doctoral Journey

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The 10 Strategic Points


In the Prospectus, Proposal, and Dissertation, there are 10 key or strategic points that need to be clear, simple, correct, and aligned to ensure the research is doable, valuable, and credible. These points, which provide a guide or vision for the research, are present in almost any research.


1. Topic—Provides a broad research topic area/title.


2. Literature review—Lists primary points for four sections in the Literature Review: (a) background of the problem/gap and the need for the study based on citations from the literature; (b) theoretical foundations (models and theories to be foundation for study); (c) review of literature topics with key theme for each one; and (d) summary.


3. Problem statement—Describes the problem to address through the study based on defined needs or gaps from the literature.


4. Sample and location—Identifies sample, needed sample size, and location (study phenomena with small numbers and variables/groups with large numbers).


5. Research questions—Provides research questions to collect data to address the problem statement.


6. Hypothesis/variables or Phenomena—Provides hypotheses with variables for each research question (quantitative) or describes the phenomena to be better understood (qualitative).


7. Methodology and design—Describes the selected methodology and specific research design to address problem statement and research questions.


8. Purpose statement—Provides one sentence statement of purpose including the problem statement, methodology, design, population sample, and location.


9. Data collection—Describes primary instruments and sources of data to answer research questions.


10. Data analysis—Describes the specific data analysis approaches to be used to address research questions.