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Documenting Dissertation Quote

Students must be registered in dissertation (or dissertation extension if they have already completed all regular dissertation sequence courses), during the term in which they achieve dissertation clearance. Dissertation clearance means not only successful defense, but completion of any required revisions and submission of the dissertation in its final form to the University library.

  1. CONTACT ACADEMIC & ADMINISTRATIVE SUPPORT SERVICES for an informational meeting. Review any questions about your program's or university's requirements for completing the dissertation clearance process. Ensure you are meeting deadlines relevant to DEX and related fees.

  2. FINAL ORALS: successfully complete the final orals for your dissertation and make all edits requested by your committee.

  3. FORMAT your final draft: follow both APA and Alliant's style guidelines. See "Formatting - 6th Ed. APA Guidelines" and "Formatting Manual & Forms" tabs above.

    If you need an editor to help with formatting or writing, see the "Editors" tab above for recommendations.

  4. LIBRARY DISSERTATION CLEARANCE FORM: obtain program director, chair, and committee member approval of the revised document in writing on the "Library Dissertation/Doctoral Project Clearance Form." See "Formatting Manual & Forms" tab above.

    Note that ‘Section 1’ of the Library Dissertation/Doctoral Project Clearance Form’ must be signed by the dissertation/doctoral project committee and the Program Director after all final edits have been made and approved. Committee signatures on this form indicate that the student has successfully defended the dissertation and that the final written dissertation/doctoral project as submitted to the library is acceptable in content and format.  The Program Director signature indicates that the student has successfully completed all program requirements related to the dissertation (e.g., submitted departmental forms or any supplemental documentation the program requires for the dissertation/doctoral project).

  5. CATALOGING FORM: Complete the "Alliant Library Dissertation/Doctoral Project Cataloging Form," found under the "Formatting Manual & Forms" tab above.

  6. CONTACT THE LIBRARY: Phone or send an email to the person listed under "Who to Contact" on the right side of this page to schedule a preclearance meeting. Schedule this appointment at least seven business days in advance. When you meet with the dissertation clearance representative, bring the following two items:

  7. SUBMIT: After this meeting, you can then upload an electronic (pdf) copy of the manuscript to ProQuest.  See "Submitting to ProQuest ETD" tab above.

a)      As soon as you upload, library staff is notified that your
         dissertation is ready for review.  This review does not
         include proofreading.

b)      Within three business days of your submission, you
         will receive e-mail notification of revisions you need to
         make, if necessary.  Make the changes and re-upload.
         Repeat until all necessary revisions have been made
         and the library approves the format.

c)      If this three-day period must be extended due to
         unusual circumstances, the DCR will notify the
         student about when he or she can expect feedback.

d)      The student repeats this process until the document is
         acceptable.  Allow three business days for review of
         any revised, reuploaded version of the manuscript. 
         The time frame for completing the entire clearance
         process will vary depending on the time of year (e.g.,
         allow more time as graduation or other due dates
         approach), the extensiveness of problems,
         responsiveness of the student to initial feedback, etc.

  1. ACCEPTANCE! Once the manuscript has been accepted, The DCR officially verifies that the electronic version has been uploaded to ProQuest and cleared.  Library DCR completes ‘Section 3’ of the Library Dissertation/Doctoral Clearance Form and sends the form to the Registrar, retains a copy, and e-mails a copy to the student, the dissertation chair, the Academic Affairs Staff member associated with the Program, and the student’s Program Director..
  1. PUBLICATION! The Library DCR approves and delivers the electronic copy of manuscript to UMI/ProQuest.

  by Chelsea Lee and Jeff Hume-Pratuch

In this post you will learn how to present data gathered during surveys or interviews with research participants that you conducted as part of your research. You may be surprised to learn that although you can discuss your interview and survey data in a paper, you should not cite them. Here’s why.

Retrievability Versus Confidentiality

In APA Style, all sources must provide retrievable data. Because one purpose of references is to lead the reader to the source, both the reference entry and the in-text citation begin with the name of the author. But rules for the ethical reporting of human research data prohibit researchers from revealing “confidential, personally identifiable information concerning their patients, . . . research participants, or other recipients of their services” (APA Publication Manual [PM]; 6th ed., § 1.11, p. 16; APA Ethics Code, Standard 4.07). In other words, you must prevent the reader from identifying the source of information.

In this clash of principles, which one should triumph? The value of protecting participants’ confidentiality must always win out. “Subject privacy . . . should never be sacrificed for clinical or scientific accuracy” (PM § 1.11)—not even for APA Style.

Strategies for the Discussion of Research Participant Data

Although you don’t cite data you gathered from research participants, you can discuss them, provided that you preserve the confidentiality you guaranteed the participants when they consented to participate in your study (see PM § 1.11). In practical terms, this means that “neither the subject nor third parties (e.g., family members, employers) are identifiable” (PM, p. 17) from the information presented.

Strategies for the ethical use of data from research participants include the following:

  • referring to participants by identifiers other than their names, such as
    • their roles (e.g., participant, doctor, patient),
    • pseudonyms or nicknames,
    • initials,
    • descriptive phrases,
    • case numbers, or
    • letters of the alphabet;
  • altering certain participant characteristics in your discussion of the participants (e.g., make the characteristics more general, such as saying “European” instead of “French”);
  • leaving out unimportant identifying details about the participant;
  • adding extraneous material to obscure case details; and
  • combining the statements of several participants into a “composite” participant.

Choose the strategy that makes sense given the degree of confidentiality of information you must maintain and what details are important to relate to the reader. Keep in mind that in employing these strategies it is essential that you not “change variables that would lead the reader to draw false conclusions related to the phenomena being described” (PM,p. 17). 

Examples of How to Discuss Research Participant Data

Here are a few examples of how participant data might be presented in the text. The most appropriate presentation will depend on context.

  • One respondent stated she had never experienced a level of destruction similar to that caused by the 2008 Sichuan earthquake.
  • “Madge,” a 45-year-old Red Cross social worker, was in Sichuan province when the earthquake struck. “It was unlike anything else I have experienced,” she said.
  • MJ, a European social worker, said the earthquake was “unlike anything else I have experienced.”
  • A non-Chinese social worker said the 2008 Sichuan earthquake “exceeded levels of devastation I have ever seen before.”
  • Case 24 was injured in the earthquake.
  • Participant M said she had never experienced anything like the earthquake or its level of devastation.
  • Several employees of a humanitarian aid organization said that they were emotionally distressed by the devastation the earthquake left behind.

Data can also be presented in a table or figure provided these same standards are abided by. 

Going on the Record

If the research participant is willing to go "on the record," or include his or her name in the paper, use a personal communication citation (see PM § 6.20). In that case, you should write up the material you intend to use, present it to the participant, and get his or her written permission before including it (see PM § 1.11). In your paper, the information might be presented as follows:

  • M. Johnson (personal communication, May 16, 2008), a Red Cross social worker who assisted in the Sichuan earthquake recovery efforts, stated that “the earthquake exceeded levels of devastation I have ever seen before.”

Further Reading

The issues surrounding participant privacy in research reporting are complex and exceed what can be presented in this post. For further reading, consult the APA Publication Manual (6th ed., § 1.11) as well as the APA Ethics Code. 

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