Approved December 2015

These guidelines are designed to provide assistance for doctoral students and committees in creating dissertations that consist of multiple articles rather than the traditional format (with one large project). All dissertations should adhere to regulations and requirements from the University of Iowa Graduate College in addition to requirements from the College of Education. Moreover, programs can provide additional guidelines for this dissertation format. Students who are considering this format are strongly encouraged to confer with their dissertation chair as early as possible, since an article-style dissertation may not be the best approach for all students and dissertation topics.

  1. The dissertation should include at least two full-length articles that are of publishable quality within a peer-reviewed journal. At least one of these articles must be empirical in nature; that is, the student should conduct original data analyses of some kind (e.g., quantitative, qualitative, historical).
  2. Chapter 1 should provide an Introduction that discusses the need for these studies as well as the coherence among them, which may include an overarching conceptual or theoretical framework grounded within relevant literature. The end of the Introduction should provide at least one paragraph describing each of the articles. Each article then serves as an additional chapter. The last chapter should provide a Conclusion that discusses integrated findings, implications, and future directions that result from this collection of studies. The ideal length of the introduction and conclusion can vary at the discretion of the dissertation committee; for example, very closely related articles may require relatively less synthesis across studies (and therefore a shorter introduction and conclusion).
  3. The student must be the sole author or lead author on all articles. The student should be responsible for at least 85-90% of the conceptualization, data analysis, and writing of the articles.
  4. No more than one of the articles can be substantially complete before the dissertation proposal, but this study must have been conducted during the student’s current doctoral program. Moreover, if the student is only writing two articles, then neither of the articles can be substantially complete before the comprehensive examination. If applicable, students should secure appropriate copyright clearance to use a previously published article as part of their dissertation
  5. The intent of writing an article-style dissertation should be to publish the articles that appear in the dissertation. Therefore, it is strongly recommended that the student (with guidance from the committee) identify appropriate publication outlet(s) for each article, write the articles in a manner that adheres to the publication guidelines for the respective journals, and submit these articles soon after the completion of the dissertation
  6. The dissertation proposal for this format may differ from what is typically expected in a traditional format; the nature of the proposal may vary at the discretion of the dissertation committee. For instance, the proposal could consist of a longer version of Chapter 1 (introduction) that provides sufficient detail about each study so that the committee can provide feedback on the proposed articles.