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Selecting a dissertation topic: range and scope

Charles Tilly's tips to select a dissertation topic

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Selecting a dissertation topic: range and scope

  1. 1. graphical reproduction based on a conceptual illustration by Charles Tilly (2006) selecting a dissertation topic: range and scope based on a conceptual illustration by charles tilly, columbia university 2006 powerpointpreparedbysinamossayeb
  2. 2. graphical reproduction based on a conceptual illustration by Charles Tilly (2006) SCOPE OF CONCLUSIONS RANGEOFCONTRIBUTION(RESULTS) fills in information gap an instance all instances medial contribution: you contribute more evidence / support to existing arguments significant contribution: you contribute new evidence / support to an existing argument, that has bearing on a controversy of the topic innovatory contribution: you contribute a seemingly new idea outside of existing arguments in the field an instance: one time and place confirms accepted answers to old questions modifies accepted answers to old questions confirms contest answer to old questions challenges accepted answer to old questions provides new answer to old question changes accept answer and questions several instances
  3. 3. graphical reproduction based on a conceptual illustration by Charles Tilly (2006) IM PA C T O N TH E FIELDR ISK ASSO C IATED SCOPE greatestimpact degreeofimpact however, there is a direct correlation between impact of innovatory research / more instances AND risk of strong opposition to your research findings The potential for impact on the field increases as scope and range of research increase fills in information gap confirms accepted answers to old questions modifies accepted answers to old questions confirms contested answer to old questions challenges accepted answer to old questions provides new answer to old question challenges both accepted questions and answers greatest risk leastimpact least risk
  4. 4. graphical reproduction based on a conceptual illustration by Charles Tilly (2006) IM PAC T O N TH E FIELDR ISK ASSO C IATED SCOPE areaofimpact fills in information gap confirms accepted answers to old questions provides new answer to old question changes accept answer and questions least impact / least risk greatest impact / greatest risk the blue shaded area represents the ideal range and scope of research for dissertation work the red shaded area represent the most risky area but potentially bears the greatest impact leave this for post- doc career modifies accepted answers to old questions confirms contest answer to old questions challenges accepted answer to old questions
  5. 5. graphical reproduction based on a conceptual illustration by Charles Tilly (2006) AN ALL-PURPOSE QUESTIONNAIRE FOR RESEARCH PROPOSALS What main questions will your study address? Why, how, and to whom do those questions matter? What sorts of answers to those questions are worth considering? How will your study address the questions? What form will the evidence take? What are some possible conclusions from the evidence? What are the main technical problems you will have to solve? What are the main conceptual problems you will have to solve? What are the main theoretical problems you will have to solve? What are the main practical problems you will have to solve? Where will you start? Why there? What form will the final product(s) take? AN ALL-PURPOSE QUESTIONNAIRE FOR PAPERS, THESES, & BOOKS In one sentence, what question(s) does this work answer? In one sentence, what answer(s) does it give? Who should care about the question(s)? Why and how? What other answers must we reject if we accept yours? Why should we prefer your answer(s)? How have you investigated the question(s)? What arguments and evidence are you presenting for your answer(s)? Why should we believe your arguments? Your evidence? If you are right, what general conclusions should we draw?
  6. 6. graphical reproduction based on a conceptual illustration by Charles Tilly (2006) phenomenon procedure argument articles books reports outcome feedback interaction between research & writing
  7. 7. graphical reproduction based on a conceptual illustration by Charles Tilly (2006) phenomenon procedure argument articles books reports outcome feedback interaction between research & writing

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