The Dissertation

The Dissertation

Suggested Dissertation Proposal Outline

1. Introduction and Statement of the Problem

2. Theory and Literature

This section of the proposal should review only the literature which is directly relevant and pertinent to the topic of the dissertation. Lengthy and wide ranging reviews are not appropriate.

3. Specific Hypotheses to be Tested

A concise statement of the hypotheses and variables which will be investigated. Specific attention is given to how the concepts and variables will be operationalized.

4. Data

A discussion of how the data will be gathered, their adequacy and limitations, and why the methods of data collection are superior to others for testing the hypotheses.

5. Analysis of the Data

A description of how the hypotheses will be tested, the kinds of analysis to be used, the kinds of statistics to be used, and the formats for presenting the findings.

6. Contribution of the Dissertation

A discussion of the importance of the dissertation, including its theoretical,
methodological, and substantive contributions.


The Department provides some computer resources in the Useem Library and in the Graduate Assistant offices. There is also a public computer lab on the second floor of Berkey Hall. The department has a computer consultant available for questions and problems.

Research Participation

Throughout the graduate program, students are encouraged to participate in research projects as assistants, apprentices, or through directed research credit. Students are also encouraged to present their research at professional meetings and to submit it to professional journals. Joint publication with faculty is especially encouraged and often occurs.

Teacher Training

The department is well known for its commitment to, and success in, teacher training. A very large number of the winners of the university's "Excellence in Teaching" Award, which recognizes outstanding graduate student teaching, have been from the Department of Sociology.

Every year, the department conducts a teaching workshop for graduate students. Part of each year's workshop is held with the fall orientation during registration. All new graduate students are required to attend.

A three credit professional training course largely devoted to college-level teacher training, taught in the spring semester SOC 989 Topics in Sociological Methodology is available for graduate students. They are strongly encouraged to enroll.

All Ph.D. candidates are strongly encouraged to obtain teaching experience as part of their graduate training. Considerable experience can be gained as a teaching assistant (TA). TA's begin by assisting a faculty member in teaching an undergraduate course, but with experience, may eventually be given their own course to teach.