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Doctorate of Public Administration University of Illinois Springfield

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Student Handbook: Dissertation in Three Article Fomat

Three Article format (Handbook Home)

The Graduate Office policy states students who use the “publishable articles format” for their dissertation are required to have three fully developed parts.

  1. An overall introduction explaining why the previously published or publishable papers were used including a substantive discussion of the theme or themes that tie together the articles.
  2. The previously published or publishable papers.
  3. And overall conclusion comparing/contrasting the previously published or publishable papers and the significance of the research completed in the articles, what additional aspects of the topic still need to be explored, and so on.

If the dissertation contains articles that have been published previously, the student should note the copyright requirements and documentation required elsewhere in the Dissertation Guidelines.

DPA Program Policy

It is acceptable to submit a doctoral dissertation composed of some number of previously published or publishable papers. A student who wishes to use this format should seek the approval of his/her dissertation chair before beginning the project, at the dissertation proposal stage, and should notify the Graduate Office when submitting the dissertation. The use of the publishable article format is entirely at the discretion of the student’s dissertation chair and committee. Your dissertation committee, not journal editors or reviewers, will determine whether the chapter substantially meets the content and submission guidelines for a credible submission for publication as well as the meeting the program’s dissertation goals.

Articles published previous to the defense of the dissertation proposal are not eligible for use in the dissertation.

In the multiple article format, it is important that the introduction and conclusion be very substantive, that the three articles be integrated by a theme and include a strong literature review, and that these opening and closing chapters integrate the whole dissertation while providing a meaningful context for the article chapters. The articles included must be such that it is possible to see a real unity in the content of the dissertation. While there is no requirement that the articles used in the dissertation be published, there is the real expectation that the introduction and conclusion be very strong and that the articles contained in the dissertation be publishable.

When using tables or materials from collaborators, footnotes must acknowledge the contribution of the collaborators, including any figures, tables, or data that were not created by the author alone.

DPA Suggestions/Guidance for Publishable Article Format

This section contains helpful guidance and suggestions for students and committees and should be seen as advising and orientation rather than formal policy.

Don’t force what should be a more “traditional” dissertation into the publishable chapter format. For instance, describing the methodology and approach for your research will not produce a “publishable article.” Journals want original research that contributes new knowledge or tests existing theory. Often you will spend more time on the research work and analysis in order to successfully produce multiple publishable articles than if you used a more traditional approach to your dissertation.

Publishable article chapters need to look and feel like articles that have been published in scholarly journals. A specific publishable chapter should conform (as much as dissertation formatting guidelines allow) to the submission guidelines for the targeted journal.

Students are strongly encouraged to use electronic citation software for their dissertations. In the case of the publishable article format the use of such software is highly recommended. With differing requirements for formatting and the possibility of submissions to multiple journals if not accepted upon the first submission, electronic citation software is very useful.

Advantages of Multiple Article Dissertation Format

1. Multiple Articles foster identity as a reflective practitioner by learning and experience in publishing process and provide an opportunity for publishing for students interested in an academic career. The format accelerates publishing for competitive job markets.

2. Recommendations and comments from reviewer can improve quality, but this can take a lot of time.

3. It is easier to disseminate knowledge.

4. Facilitates a variety of methodologies (i.e., qualitative, quantitative, etc.).

5. Helps monitor progress for advisor.

6. Assists in building a research program.

Disadvantages of Multiple Article Dissertation Format

1. May be unfamiliar to some advisors and committees.

2. Sometimes difficult to determine how to break up projects, danger of dissertation that struggles for coherence.

3. Not always applicable; some studies are too big or don’t divide easily.

4. Managing time between dissertation and publishing “revise and resubmit” cycle.

5. Risk of more work or longer time (many small projects).

(The lists above are modified from a presentation by Hector German Rodriquez, Ph.D.)

Copyright Issues

Copyright issues may get complicated in the publishable article format for DPA dissertations.

For students who wish to publish the chapter articles after the dissertation has been submitted, ProQuest allows any work submitted to them to be reused by the author without permission from ProQuest. In some cases a student might choose to “embargo” her/his dissertation. This will allow submitted manuscripts from the dissertation to be published first in a journal. Working closely with the journal editor on these issues is very important in this process. See the Office of Graduate Education Dissertation Guidelines for more on the embargo process.

Inclusion of work in the dissertation that has been previously published by the degree candidate is a common practice in research institutions across the country. Students who wish to publish articles before completion of the dissertation should carefully review the Dissertation Guidelines section on “Using Your Own Previously Published Material in Your Dissertation.” This section details the contacts and agreements a student will need to make with journal editors in order to use articles published in these journals in a dissertation. Permission letters from journals will be required at the time of the submission of the dissertation.

Students with questions regarding copyright should review the Graduate Office guidelines for dissertations and/or contact the Graduate Office.

Note: Some of the text above has been used or modified from the policies of the University of Arkansas, UIC and other sources.