Before the Dissertation
A Textual Mentor for Doctoral Students at Early Stages of a Research Project
Foreword by John M. Swales
“This very readable book is what every graduate student needs as they start a program. I wish my own MA and PhD students, during my 40 years of supervising, could have been demystified by having Casanave's ‘textual mentor' as a companion."
--Merrill Swain, Professor Emerita, OISE, University of Toronto
“Before the Dissertation is an insightful, relevant, and accessible resource for doctoral students at any stage. Full of reflections and advice not found in other books, it serves as an indispensable guide for students and their supervisors. And the dispelling of myths is a superb idea!”
--Robert Kohls, PhD candidate, University of Toronto
Before the Dissertation concerns issues to consider before students start writing, indeed before they commit to a major high-stakes dissertation project, whether qualitative or quantitative or something in between. It is especially relevant for students who wish to do projects that involve a lengthy research period (which can add to stress), and that also involve reading, data collection, and writing in more than one language. From the earliest stages of doctoral work, even before the proposal stage, and during intermediate stages of preparation for a project as well, there are things to think about and discuss with friends, family, and advisers such as: Why do you want to pursue a doctoral degree? Do you fully understand what you are getting into? How will you manage to develop an appropriate topic? What will your role be in your project and what languages will you use with multilingual participants? How might you engage with reading, people, and personal writing at early stages in ways that will contribute to your project's development? How much attention should you pay to quality-of-life issues?
Before the Dissertation speaks to an audience in the social sciences, but in particular to doctoral students who have experience with and interest in international, multilingual, as well as native English speaking students and settings and who wish to investigate topics in (second) language and multicultural-transcultural education. Athough appropriate for use in English-dominant doctoral programs throughout the world, the book will relate more closely to students in the North American educational system than to ones, for example, in the British system. The main audience for this book is thus doctoral students who are first or second/additional users of English, who are interested in pursuing topics in one of the social sciences, including education and multilingual inquiry, and who may just be finishing course work in an English-dominant university and are wondering what might happen next.