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The Qualitative Doctoral Dissertation Proposal


by Brent Kilbourn — 2006

This article discusses the primary qualities of a doctoral dissertation proposal and how those qualities relate to the qualities of a dissertation and to the nature of a research university. Typical parts of a proposal are discussed—problem, significance, literature review, theoretical perspective, questions, methods, and ethics—and reasons are given for the role that each part plays in the development of a dissertation. Emphasis is placed on the nature of argument and on the integrity of the proposal as a whole. Examples, including notes on writing, are drawn from several qualitative proposals.


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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 108 Number 4, 2006, p. 529-576
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 12361, Date Accessed: 4/23/2014 5:15:14 AM

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About the Author
  • Brent Kilbourn
    University of Toronto
    E-mail Author
    BRENT KILBOURN teaches in the Center for Teacher Development at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto. His interests include constructive feedback in teaching, world views and curriculum, and qualitative inquiry. Recent publications include “Fictional Theses” in Educational Researcher, December 1999; “The Art and Structure of a First Paragraph,” Teachers College Record, January 2001; and “Balancing Feedback and Inquiry: How Novice Observers (Supervisors) Learn From Inquiry Into Their Own Practice,” to appear in the Journal of Curriculum and Supervision.
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