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FinishLine | Tips Tools Techniques for Completing a Thesis or Dissertation from Dr Wendy Carter

February, 2007                                                                                                                                                Volume 3, Issue 2

In This Issue:

Life After Your Defense: Dealing with Deadlines and Depositing

You’ve done it! You’ve successfully cleared one of the final hurdles of completing your degree: your thesis/dissertation defense. Passing your defense is definitely worthy of celebration … so, by all means, celebrate! But don’t overdo it, because after the hangover wears off you will still have numerous tasks that must be completed before you are finally finished!

If you’re like most students, you didn’t pass your defense with a grade of “Pass As Is,” which would mean that you wouldn’t have to complete any revisions. It’s far more likely that you received a grade of “Pass With Minor Revisions” or “Pass With Major Revisions.”

Making the required revisions represents the bulk of the work still left to do.  However, several additional tasks that you might need to complete include:

•  Making an appointment to get your final copy reviewed for format;

•  Printing the final copies on acid free/specialty paper;

•  Collecting all necessary signatures;

•  Paying all necessary fees; and

•  Depositing the work to the library, graduate school office, bookstore and wherever else you are required to file it.

When these tasks are complete, you will be officially done!!!  Following are some guidelines to help you complete these final tasks as quickly as possible so that you can enjoy the satisfaction of reaching your long-sought-after goal.

Making the Required Revisions:

After finishing a major task such as completing your defense, gearing up emotionally to get back to work on revisions can be almost as challenging as writing the original document itself.  But gather yourself up and jump back in; the finish line is now definitely in sight!Pace yourself!  You don’t have to accomplish everything in one day.  Some revisions may take only a few seconds to complete, while others will require a great deal more time and thought. And some days you will feel far more motivated and productive than on other days.

The TADA theory for success is to complete at least 12 minutes of work each day.  As a starting point, look at the list of changes you have to address and make notes next to each revision.  Which of these tasks will take only about 12 minutes?  When your energy levels are low, tackle those items that will take only a few minutes to complete.

Other larger tasks may require more time, but consider carefully how you might break them down into smaller, more manageable tasks.  For example, if you have to complete additional research, you might consider the following 12-minute steps:

Task #1: Find an/the article you need to review and download it.

Task #2: If the article isn't available in full text, go to the library, find the article, and copy it.

Task #3: Read the article, paying close attention only to the information you need to address.

Task #4: Add this citation to the bibliography of your thesis or dissertation.

A helpful hint: Make absolutely certain that you have made all corrections and revisions. Carefully reviewed them yourself before giving it back to your advisor or the committee member responsible making sure the revisions get done and especially before undergoing the official final review of your document.  A final review is, indeed, final.  You will not be allowed to make changes on the copy that you submit/deposit with the graduate school after the final review is completed.

Making Appointments and Checking Schedules and Deadlines:

Once the revisions are made to your satisfaction, you’ll need to make an appointment to have the revised copy reviewed by your committee chair, as well as for format.

Much as you might like them to be available to you during this stressful period, not all offices/departments/personnel are open around the clock.  As a result, it’s important to be acutely aware of the critical deadlines you must meet and plan accordingly.

For example, if your defense is scheduled close to the degree deadline, it’s important to call immediately afterward to make all necessary appointments.  Time slots fill rapidly during the two to three weeks prior to any deadline, so the earlier you can call, the better.

A thorough review of the entire document is the responsibility of both the student and committee chair, so be sure you find out when your chair will be available to sign off on those revisions, and how long it will take to turn it around.

Many universities also require someone to officially sign off on the format of your document, even if you followed your format manual to the letter.  A format reviewer will check your work against the Graduate College Format Manual requirements and the requirements of your selected style guide or journal, and will also spot-check for misspellings, inconsistencies and typographical errors.


If you are not depositing your document electronically, find out where and when you are required to deposit your thesis/dissertation, as well as the hours of operation.  Are there any fees associated with depositing your document? Do they accept checks, or credit cards? You don’t want to have your dreams dashed by finding out that you’ve missed a deadline because the office closed an hour earlier than your arrival.

When you deposit your document, you are officially finished with your degree program, regardless of whether or not you participate in the ceremony.  Congratulations!

If you wish, it’s always a nice touch to send additional bound copies to friends and committee members.  Whether or not you choose to do so largely depends upon the customs of your department.  You’re on the final lap of your long, long journey; now would not be the best time to go against the prevailing customs!

Pomp and Circumstance

February is not too early to start thinking about graduation.  Will you be participating in the upcoming graduation ceremonies?  Many doctoral students skip the graduation ceremony, as the process requires a cumbersome allotment of steps, deadlines, fees and paperwork. Keep in mind that the ceremony is generally for you but for the family who supported you throughout this long journey.

An additional consideration is that every doctoral student participating in the ceremony is called to the stage to have the commencement regalia hood conferred by either an advisor or dissertation committee chair.  Hence, if you want to participate in the ceremony, it’s important to ask your advisor if he or she will be available to participate.  If so, be sure to remind your advisor of the deadline for ordering regalia in the event that he or she doesn’t own a cap and gown.

Following are additional tasks you will need to complete:

  • •  If you want your name printed in the commencement program, you must inform your department early in the semester of your intention to graduate.
  • •  You will need to order your regalia, usually from the on-campus bookstore within a specified timeframe, and pick it up when instructed.
  • •  You must settle all outstanding university debts with the cashier.
  • •   Make sure you make the deadline for submitting the original and one copy of your final dissertation to the graduate school.
  • •  Complete and submit the Survey of Earned Doctorates other necessary forms for graduation.
  • •  If diplomas are available to you, determine whether you would like to pick it up personally or have it mailed to you, and then advise the graduate school of your preference.
  • •  Update your home address via the web or in person prior to leaving campus.
  • •   Purchase and send out invitations to everyone you would like to attend.
  • •  Get a "Certificate of Completion" and an official copy of your transcript before leaving the university.
    Enjoy the ceremony!
Email Question of the Month:


Dear Dr. Carter, I'm one many who benefited a lot from your ideas and support, and this high degree of generosity, encouraged me to as for more and more for such a great person. I've chosen the following topic for my Dissertation: The impact of organization culture on employee and customer statisfaction and investigative study on the Pharmaceutical industry. I need your help in designing the dimessions of these three variables with OC being the depeendent variable, the employee mean/mediating variable and the CS being the indpendent one. And, what are the most known and acknowlege measures of these factors? Thanks and anxioulsy waiting for your reply. Mohammad F.


Hello Mohammad

Thank you for contacting us at TADA. I assume that your research question is "What is the impact of organizational culture on employee and customer satisfaction in the Pharmaceutical Industry?" Congratulations on finding a dissertation topic. At some point I suggest that you find an editor to deal with the misspellings that I see. Nonetheless, It is up to you to refer back to your Research Methods course, your advisor or committee to figure out how you should measure some of the concepts that you have mentioned. Reading, reading and more reading will tell you what has been written on these measures. Your dissertation topic should be built on what you already know and what your advisor is an expert in. Thus, you are not really starting from scratch. You should start by doing some research via academic journals and scholarly texts; you should also communicate your possible topic with your advisor and ask for his/her help.

Wishing you all the best, Dr. Carter

TA-DA!™ Graduates —
Congratulations on Your Success

Just wanted to let you know, I have completed my dissertation, I have graduated from Texas A & M University, College Station, I am Dr. Judy T. Thanks but I don't think I need FinishLine any longer.

Congratulations...Welcome to the club...Thanks for sharing the news with us at TADA!Thesis and Dissertation Accomplished. We love hearing that!!!!!!!!!! Our readers like to know that it is possible to finish. Please share the TADA Newsletter with others who come behind you and with others whom you might advise. In the meantime, we will take your name off the list. Thanks again for contacting us. Have a happy New Year.
Dr. Carter

101 Great Ways to Improve Your Life

I want to tell you about a new book that I have the privilege to be a co-author in. The book, “101 Great Ways to Improve Your Life: Volume 3,” is a compilation of 101 articles with practical, solid advice on how you can take action and improve your life. I am extremely excited to be a part of this, and am equally excited to be a contributing author along with Ken Blanchard, Les Brown, Mark Victor Hansen, Byron Katie and many other leading Self Improvement experts.

This book is the third volume in the “101 Great Ways to Improve Your Life” Series. Volumes 1& 2 include secrets from Zig Ziglar, Brian Tracy, Jim Rohn, Jack Canfield, Dr. Richard Carlson and many other people living a successful life. If you haven't seen Volumes 1 & 2, check them out. Right now the publisher is offering, a special discount plus great bonus gifts If you purchase the three volume set together.

To get more information or buy a copy, just go to:

What TA-DA!™ Users Have to Say...

If you're still wondering whether or not TA-DA! Thesis and Dissertation Accomplished™ can help you — don’t take our word for it. Take a few moments to read what some of our customers have told us. See how TA-DA!™ helped them...

Ph.D. Doctoral Students…

•  I am just beginning my doctoral coursework but I wanted to get a jump on this thesis stuff so I purchased your product just about the same time I enrolled in my classes! Darlene G

•  Hello Dr. Carter, I met with you a few months ago. I had an impossible deadline to meet: to complete my dissertation proposal in 6 weeks time. I just wanted you to know that I successfully defended the proposal on October 3rd!! Thanks for your help and encouragement! All the best, Harriette W.

•  TA-DA provided me with some useful ideas for how to use short amounts of time that would normally be unproductive completing small tasks that move the dissertation forward. Donnell B.

•  How it (TADA) Helped: In many ways but I will mainly highlight two areas for now. 1. The TADA Calender. The main problem I faced before was how to get down and do my work. But with the TADA Calender, I have made a committment and I everyday I have the motivation to fulfill this commitment. 2. The 12 Minutes Tasks. I was never even aware of some of those requirements. Now I feel more confident since each day I know exactly what is expected of me and I can make an exact plan of how to accomplish them. Dear colleagues in Thesis/Dissertation writing. Anybody wanting to have a peace of mind and confidence in whatever she/he does during the whole Thesis/Dissertation writing, you have no choice but to buy the TADA CD. I won't explain what wonders it will do to you, but buy it and experience it."   Connie, U.K.

•  The commitment to a deadline and to working 12 minutes a day actually reduces stress. I can always do 12 minutes--even if I'm tired, sick, uninspired or grumpy. Facing a deadline makes it feel like I will actually get done! "I have to do my 12 minutes" we say in our house these days. I've been progressing steadily on my dissertation by committing to 12 minutes, and my husband has covered huge amounts of material for an upcoming professional exam. My friend has committed to completing the annulment papers she has procrastinated on for 10 years, and my father-in-law has started studying Spanish 12 minutes a day. Thanks!
Christine, Seattle, WA

•  It helped me to set goals for my chapters and give me some practical strategies for finishing. Also I believe it's good to list your finish date. It gives you something to strive for rather than letting the thesis become nebulous. Martha; Albany, CA

•  TA-DA explains the dissertation process and lifts the curtain to a process that seems impossible to accomplish. It provides strategy for selecting the committee and provides timelines that enable accomplishment of the dissertation within a specific time frame.
Randall; USMC Jacksonville, NC

•  The program helped me to understand the dissertation concept much better. I am a visual individual; the tutorial was a great help.
Deborah; U.S. Army

Master’s Thesis Students …

•  It has helped with the fact that my graduate school does not have a formal format for the proposal. The Journal has helped a lot.
Talia; Naranjito, Puerto Rico

 •  This is a great tool for those who will be starting either their Master's Degree or Dissertation. I highly recommend it.
Teresa; Naguabo, Puerto Rico

•  Requesting that I set a goal date for finishing, kept me focused and it was the first step in accomplishing the task. Also, I kept remembering the words; a good thesis is a done thesis.
Gladys; NY, NY

•  It guided me to a fair start. Gracias!
Jess; San Francisco, CA



Wendy Y. Carter, Ph.D.

About the Author: As a single mother, professor Wendy Y. Carter, Ph.D., completed three masters' degrees and a PhD. Her motto is a Good Thesis/Dissertation is a Done Thesis/Dissertation. She is the creator of a new innovative interactive resource tool on CD—TADA! Thesis and Dissertation Accomplished. To learn more and sign up for her FREE tips and teleclasses, contact us at Privacy is our policy. TADA™ Finishline does not give out or sell our subscribers' names or e-mail addresses.


Published monthly.
To subscribe to FinishLine, see below.

Inside This Issue:

Life After Your Defense: Dealing with Deadlines and Depositing

Email Q & A of the Month

Congratulations Graduates

What TA-DA!™
Users Say

Dr. Carter Is Co-author of a New Book

Next FinishLine Features:

10 Common Mistakes Graduate Students Should Avoid

Dr. Carter's

Getting What You Came For...
The book explains the entire process of completing graduate school, from selecting and applying to a graduate program to obtaining a teaching position. Selected chapters provide overall practical advice on selecting an advisor, managing the committee, selecting a topic, writing a proposal, writing the dissertation, and preparing for the defense.

Getting What You Came For...

The Dissertation Cook Book
The authors uses a cookbook metaphor define the ingredients of a dissertation. This book provides useful information on each section of the five-chapter dissertation common in the social and behavioral sciences. It also contains practical tips, hands-on exercises, and checklists dealing with getting started, choosing a topic, types of research instruments, statistics, sampling, and analyzing data. Most of the information is relevant for writers at the proposal stage.

The Dissertation Cook Book

The Artist's Way
This book by Julia Cameron and Mark Bryan leads you through a comprehensive twelve-week program to recover your creativity from a variety of blocks, including limiting beliefs, fear, self-sabotage, jealousy, guilt, addictions, and other inhibiting forces, replacing them with artistic confidence and productivity.

The Artist's Way


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