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PsyD - Chicago: Dissertation


If you feel like:

  • Everyone else is further along!
  • I'm starting over or moving backwards 
  • I have no idea how to start

Then, you're feeling like everyone else at dissertation time!

Kuhlthau's Information Search Process. Caraveo

Poster of Kuhlthau's Information Search Process: Art by Katelyn Caraveo in collaboration with Frances Brady. Produced by Adler University.

Rutgers School of Communication and Information. (2020). Carol Kuhlthau: Information Search Process.

I'm overwhelmed! Where do I start?

Congratulations! You're ready to start working on your dissertation! Feeling overwhelmed and unsure where to start is pretty much how everyone feels at first.

  1. Determine a topic. You might already have a general idea or a broad starting goal. That's ok for now.
  2. Literature -  Get a feel for what literature has been written already on this topic. Remember, at this stage, you're just looking for ideas. Pay attention to:
    • What sparks your interest? Why? (There might be different aspects that interest you - don't worry about how to make connections yet - you're just getting a feel for things right now)
    • What are most of the articles focusing on? What are the trends? Where are the gaps?
    • What isn't interesting to you? Why not?
  3. Get support! Talk to people:
    • Faculty members (your seminar instructor and those you might want to serve on your committee)
    • Frances
      • Finding resources (books, articles, etc.)
      • Your topic (get a feel for what others in this specific field have done)
    • Center for Learning and Teaching
      • Structuring thoughts and concepts coherently

I highly recommend you check out the "Entering the Scholarly Conversation" Library Guide (link in the box to the right) to learn more about the first two steps. And I can't stress enough to make an appointment with me - find my scheduling page in the box to the right.