In today’s fast-paced and sometimes hectic society, many graduate students are juggling their academic studies while facing the demands of managing other high-priority life activities, such as work, family, and the need to maintain their own physical and mental well-being. In addition, people pursue graduate degrees—and especially the doctorate—for a variety of reasons both personally and professionally.
Add to this mix, the diversity of topic areas that learners can choose to explore and the variety of methodological approaches that can be used in studying any given topic, and the reality is that no university or department is going to be able to assemble a thesis or dissertation committee that aligns with and supports every graduate student’s unique profile of topic, research design, goals, and needs. A dissertation consultant can often help to fill in gaps that might exist in your committee and provide more focused and timely feedback, coaching, focused-training, and support.
We recognize the nature and complexity of these demands, along with the diversity of reasons why people pursue graduate education and the myriad goals each bring, and provide a wholistic framework to support learners in accommodating their unique individual needs, learning styles, and goals that considers multiple dimensions of a learner’s situation. Our goal is to work collaboratively to identify your needs, interests, and goals through a solution-focused assessment of your situation, for the purpose of helping you move forward in completing your thesis or dissertation in a timely manner!
We can help you achieve greater balance in managing the varied demands you face through our wholistic approach that allows you to gain clarity about your needs, goals, and priorities!
There is yet another dimension to the situation that many graduate students—perhaps even more so for doctoral students—face in today’s world: Varying levels of academic preparedness to meet the rigorous demands of their dissertation. There are likely many factors that contribute to this–including weak or incomplete research curriculum and lack of support in developing advanced doctoral-level writing skills–but regardless of the reason it can be a harsh wake-up call to any student who bumps-up against this reality, whether it happens in needing more than one attempt to pass their comprehensive exam, or experiencing difficulties in either conceptualizing or gaining approval of their dissertation proposal, or if you’re struggling with analyzing or making sense of your data.
Situation Analysis: Potential Factors for Lack of Preparedness for The Dissertation / Thesis
Either way, for the learner who has gaps in her or his knowledge or skill base, significant time and money can be saved through focused consulting, coaching, and additional training in key competency areas. Most dissertation chairs and committee members have limited time and energy to devote to any one graduate student, and often do not see their role in providing dissertation coaching / remedial training for a student who–for whatever reasons–has limitations in such things as their ability to critically review the literature, knowledge of research design or statistics, or who has deficiencies with advanced expository or scholarly writing skills. Attempting to “get up to speed” in furthering one’s knowledge or skills in key competency areas merely through self-study rarely seems to work, and frequently leads to students spinning their wheels for one or more terms until they realize they are stuck; a costly and often frustrating experience while the tuition clock is ticking away! Ph.D. Students facing such a situation are particularly well-suited for the scaffolding provided by focused dissertation consulting or personalized dissertation coaching that includes focused training as needed to address any developmental needs related to required core knowledge and skills. To help off-set the costs of working with a dissertation consultant, some Ph.D. students choose to take a term off (i.e., formal Leave of Absence) to work with us in strengthening their knowledge or skills in one or more core competency domains through an intensive program of dissertation coaching and training.
Are you unsure of yourself? Do you want to gain greater confidence
in your knowledge or skills? We are here to help you succeed!
Our goal is to provide timely and personalized dissertation consulting support to help you succeed in meeting your goals and timeline for completing your thesis or dissertation. Because we are a small, crafts-based firm, and no single member of our team takes on more work than they can manage with care, we can offer the kinds of in-depth, focused, and personalized support to meet your unique interests, needs, and goals. We take pride in serving graduate students who seek to become full-members of the scientific community, and scholar-practitioners who serve as advocates and leaders for evidence-based practice. Our goal is to help our clients fully grasp the craft of scientific and disciplined-inquiry as an approach to creating empirically-supported and actionable knowledge that can lead to positive social change in their respective professional endeavors.
For some Ph.D. students, our ability to provide in-depth personalized support at a level that few dissertation chairs can offer—given their other workload demands (e.g., other jobs, teaching multiple courses, research / writing obligations, advising as many as 10 or more other graduate students, etc.)—may lead them to take a one-term “leave of absence” (i.e., thereby saving tuition, if their program allows for this), and work closely with one of our dissertation coaches on a weekly schedule of focused and intensive development of their dissertation project and core competencies.
Our solution-focused approach to situation analysis and problem-solving serves to identify those key competencies areas which are holding you back from achieving success in completing your dissertation or thesis!
Our dissertation and thesis consulting services are generally
aimed at graduate / Ph.D. students who seek to:
Let us show you how we can bring order to chaos, and help you make sense of the complex and sophisticated terms, concepts, and decisions you face in completing your dissertation or thesis!
At Creative Adventures we target the following goals in serving graduate students:
- Expeditiousness / Expediency – It’s been said that “the best thesis / dissertation is a done dissertation,” and given the alternative—being one of the thousands of doctoral students who never complete their degree and remain “all but dissertation” (ABD) in perpetuity–we agree with this phrase as a general principle.
If your primary goal is to complete your thesis or dissertation in a timely manner, we can assist you by providing focused and timely review of documents, detailed and constructive feedback tied to specific core competencies, consultation in a more directive manner, and targeted training to build your knowledge and skills across the full profile of core competency domains.
- Quality – Many students are driven less by expediency and more by a desire to do the best they can in completing their thesis or dissertation, with a focus on quality. This may be because they hope to use their dissertation to land a particular job, to launch themselves into a new career path (e.g., write a book based on their dissertation; become a consultant, speaker, advocate), or simply to do justice to the culminating phase of their graduate learning experience.
Given the real-world limitations for dissertation chairs and committee members, some graduate students seek additional coaching and support in order to achieve their goal of high quality not necessarily just in terms of their project or study, but also the overall learning experience that takes place in the capstone phase of their graduate training. These students seek a higher-level of synthesis in pulling together all the knowledge and skills they’ve developed throughout their entire graduate journey and in actively engaging their meta-cognitive self in developing their skills as a critically reflective professional, scholar-practitioner, or in seeking to maximize the return on their investment in themselves and the time and energy they’ve devoted to their studies by conducting a high quality capstone project. For those students who hope one day to teach and supervise doctoral students in their dissertation, our process-consultation approach is particularly appropriate due to the collaborative, highly transparent, and executive processing level skills in learning to manage the complexities of scientifically meritorious and ethically sound research projects.
- Problem-solving – The process of designing and developing a research project—whether it’s a literature-review based thesis or a data-based dissertation–involves making dozens of design decisions. Each decision represents a potential problem to be solved–or opportunity to seize–most of which require a foundation of knowledge not only in their topic area but even more so in the sophisticated aspects of research design upon which one draws in making the research design decision or solving the problem.
We recognize the nature and complexity of research design decisions, and work with you to help improve both your knowledge of research methods and design types, but even more importantly to support you in developing your problem-solving and decision-making skills based on one or more problem solving tools with which we work. Closely related to this is our own model that addresses the very common—and quite natural—problem of “getting stuck.” Whether you’re facing what’s often referred to as a “writer’s block” or any other “sticky point,” barrier, or place from which you simply do not know where or how to move forward, we are experts in helping you in re-framing that moves you past whatever it is that’s preventing you from making progress, in helping you move from ideas to action, and in helping to unleash your creative intellect!
- Depth – Similar and often related to quality, some learners are driven by a desire to dig deeper into some aspect of their capstone project, and may find that no one on their committee possesses either the expertise or the time to support them in this goal. For instance, this could entail going deeper into critically reviewing the literature, creating a more complex theoretical framework, the need to go deeper into a specific and perhaps more complex research design, or in handling deeper more complex data analysis, interpretation of the data, or in writing up and presenting the results of your thesis or dissertation study.
- Distance – For yet other graduate students, it’s not necessarily how deep they want to go, but how far they want to take their capstone project. This could entail “spanning” kinds of activities—for instance building connections across disparate topic areas or disciplines—or a goal to use their thesis or dissertation as the foundation for work after graduation. An example of the former might be that a student in education seeks to connect with the business literature in building a bridge between the education and business worlds, but has yet to do so through any focused coursework, and no one on their committee can assist them in such an endeavor.
With respect to the latter where the thesis or dissertation serves as a foundation for what takes place after graduation, there are a number of common situations. For instance, you may want to re-tool your thesis or dissertation into a manuscript to be submitted for publication or into a book that might launch work as a speaker, consultant, or advocate. Others might see opportunities for conducting follow-up work with the people with whom, or organization where, they conducted their study in an advocacy or consulting role. We can provide guidance on the front-end in planning your project with an eye towards how you’ll leverage to accomplish your personal or professional goals after graduation, and on the back-end in helping bring your project full-circle.
- Scaffolding – As noted above, another not-so-uncommon situation that many graduate students face is that they enter the capstone phase of their program with some limitations in their knowledge or skills, and lack the confidence needed to navigate the myriad design decisions they face in planning their project. Regardless of the reasons for a lack of “readiness” in any of the core competency areas (e.g., theoretical understanding, writing, critical thinking, research design, statistics, etc.), we can provide targeted training that increases your level of readiness through knowledge and skill building exercises targeting your unique developmental level.
- Clarity – We pride ourselves on our ability to present complex and sophisticated concepts and ideas in straight-forward and easy-to-understand ways; to bring order to the seemingly chaotic array of terms, constructs, types of research designs, methods, ethical considerations, logistics, and procedures with which you need to be familiar in moving through the various phases of your project.
Our goals relate to helping you address specific problems you are facing in completing your thesis or dissertation in a timely manner, and to facilitate your learning, development, and growth as a critically reflective professional, scholar-practitioner, and ultimately wholistically as a person who faces the challenges—and opportunities—of balancing the myriad demands that most adults and professionals face in the 21st Century.
In accomplishing this goal, we seek to provide a safe and supportive environment where we encourage you to temporarily step off the treadmill of your everyday life, slow down, and take some time for deeper analysis, thought, and reflection on your work in completing your graduate studies. One of the key success factors for those completing a dissertation—or thesis—appears to be attention to detail, and for many students the pace with which they move through their daily life is simply too fast, leading them to miss critically important details, for instance those that are required to gain approval for their dissertation or needed to be able to analyze or interpret their study’s findings through a theoretical framework.
By helping you learn to be able to slow down, be more strategic in your problem solving, and attend to the details—where the deeper meaning resides—we help you learn to work smarter, not harder, and seek to empower you with the knowledge, skills, tools, and strategies that unleashes your creative intellect.
“How deep or far do you want to GO; how good do you want to BE!”