Dissertation Chapter 1: Introduction

Describe the topic of the study, why the study needs to be conducted, and the potential positive social change implications of the study
Preview major sections of the chapter
Briefly summarize research literature related to the scope of the study topic
Describe a gap in knowledge in the discipline the study will address
End the section on why the study is needed
Problem Statement
State the research problem
Summarize evidence of consensus that the problem is current, relevant, and significant to the discipline
Frame the problem in a way that builds upon or counters previous research findings focusing primarily on research conducted in the last five years
Address a meaningful gap in the current research literature
Purpose of the study
Indication that this is a quantitative study.
The study intent (such as describe, compare, correlate, explore, and develop).

The independent, dependent, and covariate variables.

Research question(s)
State the research questions.
State the null and alternative hypotheses that identify the independent and dependent variables being studied, the association being tested, and how the variables are being measured.
Theoretical Foundation
Identify the theory or theories and provide the origin or source.
State the significant theoretical propositions concisely and major hypotheses regarding a more detailed explanation in chapter 2.
Explain how the theory relates to the study approach and research questions.
Conceptual Framework
Identify and define the concept and phenomenon that grounds the study.
Concisely describe the conceptual framework (a description of the body of research that supports the need for the study) as derived from the literature with a more detailed analysis in chapter 2.
State the logical connections among key elements of the framework regarding a more thorough explanation in chapter 2.
State how the framework relates to the study approach and key research questions, and  instrument development and data analysis, where appropriate.
Nature of the study
Provide a concise rationale for the selection of the design and tradition.
Briefly describe the key study variables (independent, dependent, and covariates).
Briefly summarize the methodology (from whom and how data are collected and how data will be analyzed).
Provide concise definitions of the independent variable, dependent variable(s), and any covariates (with a more detailed analysis of coding, described in chapter 3).
Define terms used in the study with multiple meanings (e.g., socioeconomic status, educator, health service professional). Do not include common terms or terms that can easily be looked up in a dictionary.
Include citations that identify support in the professional literature for the definition or operational definition.
Clarify aspects of the study that are believed but cannot be demonstrated to be true. Only include assumptions critical to the meaningfulness of the study.
Describe why the assumption(s) was (were) necessary in the context of the study.
Scope and Delimitations
Describe specific aspects of the research problem addressed in the study and why the particular focus was chosen (issue of internal validity).
Define the study’s boundaries by identifying populations included and excluded and theories and conceptual frameworks most related to the area of study (this is an issue of external validity).
Address potential generalizability.
Describe limitations of the study related to design and methodological weaknesses (including issues related to limitations of internal and external validity, construct validity, and confounder variables).
Describe any biases that could influence study outcomes and how they are addressed.
Describe reasonable measures to address limitations.
Identify potential contributions of the study that advance knowledge in the discipline. This is an elaboration of what the problem addresses.
Identify potential contributions of the study that advance practice and policy, as applicable.
Describe potential implications for positive social change that are consistent with and bounded by the scope of the study.
Identify potential contributions of the study that advance knowledge in the discipline. This is an elaboration of what the problem addresses.
Summarize the main points of the chapter.
Provide a transition to chapter 2.

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