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    Phase 1:

    Starting to Design Your Doctoral Research

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Problem Statement Generator

 The following is an exemplary thesis or problem statement from one of the award-winning dissertations we studied. In his study, evaluating the influence of stakeholder relationships on corporate performance, Finch (2010) takes care of all of these issues directly and concisely.

Researchers have argued that relationship capital is intrinsically linked to shareholder value (Bontis & Serenko, 2009; Daum, 2002; Kaplan & Norton, 2004; Lacey, 2007; see also Ledingham, 2003; MacMillan et al., 2004; Porter, 1985, 2008; Prior, 2006, 2007). The problem is how to understand the empirical relationship between the quality of a firm‘s relationship with its stakeholders and shareholder value. To confront this problem, I designed and tested a statistical model and instrument that enables researchers to empirically link stakeholder generated relationship capital to shareholder value. (p. 6).

What makes this examplary and how can you emulate it?


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Problem Statement Examples

We can't say too often that a problem or thesis statement is:

  1. Grounded in evidence/has data to support the need for the study
  2. Opens with a compelling statement
  3. Demonstrates the thesis in literature.
  4. Is brief
  5. Sets a time frame for the study (Krathwohl & Smith, 2005, p. 49).  

Follows are three of many good ones taken from the award winning dissertations

we use to help students distinquish between good and award winning. 



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Writing Your Problem Statement

Doctoral students frequently ask for dissertation examples, probably because within every research proposal there is a chain of logic that needs to be addressed and they want to see how that logic unfolds. It is easier to write from an exemplar, and that is why is currently collecting examples of the best in sample dissertations.

Unfortunately, writers tend to use slightly different words to describe the necessary components of the research design. Whatever specific methodological terms are used, the following are always in place:


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