Poster Presentation

Thursday, July 12, 2007
9:30 AM - 10:15 AM

Thursday, July 12, 2007
3:15 PM - 4:00 PM
This presentation is part of : Poster Presentation II
Women Writing Doctoral Dissertations: Shared Stories from across the Disciplines
Jeanne M. Sorrell, PhD, RN, FAAN, USA and Christine Dinkins, PhD, Wofford College, Spartanburg, SC, USA.
Learning Objective #1: 1. Identify unique characteristics in the process of writing a doctoral dissertation.
Learning Objective #2: 2. Describe common themes in research related to women writing doctoral dissertations.

Purpose:  This interpretive phenomenological research study focuses on the experiences of women writing a doctoral dissertation. It is designed to help faculty and students better understand how to facilitate the process of writing a dissertation. 

Problem:  There has been little research undertaken to understand the factors that act as facilitators and barriers to the process of writing a dissertation. In view of the present shortage of doctorally prepared nurse educators, it is critical that research studies identify processes to eliminate barriers and facilitate the dissertation process. 

Research Question:  The researchers originally included men as well as women in the study, but early interviews suggested that women experience the dissertation in unique ways. Thus, the research question underlying findings for this poster presentation is: How do women describe the process of writing their doctoral dissertation?   

Methods: To answer this question, researchers from nursing and philosophy used a purposive sampling approach to interview nine women in five different disciplines about the experience of writing a dissertation. The interview employed a combination of Socratic interviewing and a “critical incident” storytelling approach. In addition, a critical incident storytelling approach was used to engage participants in describing an incident that stood out in their minds about the process of writing their dissertation. Transcripts were read and analyzed with a hermeneutic analytic approach framed by Heidegger and Gadamer.   

Findings and Implications:  Beginning themes that emerged will be featured in the poster presentation, illustrated with classic paintings of women writing. These themes include: Mystery of the Dissertation Process; Isolation of the Dissertation Writer; and Transformation of Personal Relationships.  Ongoing interviews and analysis of transcripts in this study are expected to result in enhanced understanding of the writing process that can help both faculty and students facilitate the process of dissertation writing.