MSU Dept of Sociology

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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.


COMPUTERS

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.