Now that I have met with my mentors, it is time to update my dissertation roadmap and get it approved by my dissertation chair.
My dissertation roadmap is a 10-15 page document that has the general outline of my three papers in order to make sure that the course of study is cohesive.
As it stands, paper 1 is a literature review of Institutional Logics. This one is about 50 pages long, including tables and citations.
The second paper is about Innovation Diffusion. While it does not build on Institutional Logics, it does introduce the second theoretical framework that I will use in my third paper. It also introduces the methods.
The biggest problem with this paper is that there are no formal hypotheses. This paper looks at a phenomenon and discusses how our current theory does not account for what we observe. So I use data and forecasting to talk about the aspects that are new or missing in that theory. I think it is pretty cool. But I am worried my chair (and my school) might not like this.
The last paper brings in innovation and institutional logics to talk about the effects of policy. I have a model with a moderator and I have hypotheses. I use similar methods than in paper 2 as well.
I hope my chair approves! I have to defend my proposal by March!
Why do a Dissertation Roadmap?
A dissertation should be cohesive and show that you can be an independent member of the academic community. If you have a three paper dissertation like me, you are at risk of working on three ideas that do not belong together.
A roadmap is a short document that can help you see how your dissertation is progressing. In my case, it is a document that helps me ensure my three ideas make sense together. Because when I am done, I will have to write an overall introduction and an overall conclusion to stitch the three papers together.
What does a Dissertation Roadmap look like?
Each roadmap will be different for each dissertation. In general, you want to have a document that has:
- Research Question
- Theoretical Framework
- Model and Hypotheses
- Data and Variables
When you look at those five items they have to make sense together. In a longer document, like your dissertation, you might have dozens of pages in between each section, and you might not be able to immediately see the core elements of your research.
Having these elements in a page or two helps you see if it all belongs together. Does your data actually map back to your model? Is your operationalization actually measuring what you hypothesized?
Since I have a three paper dissertation, my roadmap is a bit longer.