The Structure of Issues: a suggestion
©2001 Edward G. Rozycki, Ed. D.
Organize the issues you discuss in chapter two on the model of a simple systems analysis flow:
Here is an example from a dissertation proposal dealing with the topic --
Special Education: does it improve the life chances of persons with disabilities?
0. Pre-analysis: what concerns lead people to support or reject any kind of Special Ed program, e.g. Moral concerns, fairness issues, etc. prior to implementation;
1. Input Issues: e.g. ID-ing students, intake procedures,IEP issues, vaguesness of criteria, etc.
2. Process Issues: e.g. placements, resource availability, class interactions, teacher and other perceptions
3. School Outcome Issues: e.g. improved perceptions of disabled, self-concept, rejection, teasing, grades, etc., effectiveness issues, related justice issues.
4. Life Outcome Issues: e.g. job placement, quality of adult life, etc.
Examining the literature in this sequence should provide ample justification for your research proposal, particularly after having gauged somewhat the degree of expert consensus in the technical areas. (See Organizing Your Literature Review on this site.) It will help you make it explicit to the reader what you are doing and why.
1) Don't make charts unless you have more than two items to compare. Two items can be dealt with easily in a written paragraph. But do make charts: they will be particularly helpful when you have to make presentations on the dissertation.
2) Do offer criticisms and reservations about the research in the literature review. But be careful to do it consistently so that you won't be seen as having a prejudice.