Doctoral Writing Center
After the Completion of the Dissertation
You have spent a monumental amount of time completing your dissertation, and now, you might be thinking, has the journey finished? Is this the end of it? Did this project even have an impact? Will anyone see it? These and more questions arise once your dissertation has been approved. The last thing you want to do is put it on the shelf and forget about it. You put so much time and energy into the creation of a quality document that verifies your expertise… but it is up to you to disseminate that information to the right audience.
What Happens to My Dissertation upon Completion?
After you complete your dissertation, the digital version will be stored in a repository through Westcliff University’s library. This is a locked repository, meaning it is not accessible to the public. Storing the dissertation in the repository will allow you to access this document at any time in the future.
Repository vs. Publication?
Repository. Your dissertation will be automatically uploaded to the repository after you receive final approval. Thus, the document is evaluated internally by members of Westcliff University that are affiliated with your department.
Publication. A publication is only possible after the document has been adapted to meet a journal’s specific submission requirements and format. A publication must be reviewed by the journal’s selected peer reviewers to evaluate the work and its alignment with the journal’s theme/purpose.
What Options Do I Have?
Step 1: Begin by asking yourself three questions:
- Who is the desired audience?
Consider who would be most interested in your research and in your findings. Could it be individuals from your target population, other scholars who study similar topics, policymakers who could use your findings, or organizations who work in an area related to your study?
- Where is the audience located?
Questions to consider include: Is your audience dispersed across geographic regions? Are they located in an area that is within your reach to travel to?
- What is the most effective way to approach/reach them?
Questions to consider include: Would that audience be most likely to read a journal article on the topic, attend a conference, read a blog or social media post, or attend an academic event at a university?
Step 2: Evaluate the information to determine if it is best to proceed forward with oral dissemination or written dissemination.
Oral dissemination consists of sharing your research and findings through a presentation of the material. In the simplest terms, you communicate your research verbally, either in-person or digitally.
Advantages to Oral Dissemination
- Allows you to put your best foot forward! For some people, they feel their presentation skills are stronger than their writing skills. If this is you, oral dissemination might be the way to showcase your research in a way you feel most comfortable with.
- Provides you with a way to gain visibility in your field.
- Creates an environment for you to network and connect with potential future collaborators.
- Shows you how your research connects to what other researchers have found.
- Provides you the space to learn to talk about your data and the overall impact of your research.
Types of Oral Dissemination
The most common option for individuals who wish to share their findings via a presentation is to find a regional, national, or international conference. For a list of conferences, see here.
Steps to consider:
- Select a suitable conference
- Consider location (regional, national, international)
- Consider cost of attending the conference
- Examine the focus of the conference and if your research falls in line with their objectives
- Ensure you are not attending a predatory conference
- Summarizing vs. reading your paper
- PowerPoint, Prezi, Peardeck, or other slides
- Interactive presentation
- Hands-on activities
- Do not try to cover all of your information (nor all of your chapters)
- Prioritize the information that connects to the purpose of the presentation
- What were the most important findings? What information do the participants NEED to know to understand your findings?
- Always finish by offering ideas for future studies to continue to make progress on your topic
- Articulate your desire to further discuss your research after the presentation
An option for sharing your findings is to do so through a webinar. A webinar is a web version of a seminar and can consist of a workshop, presentation or lecture style format. Webinars are conducted using webinar software.
Steps to consider:
- Select a specific idea from your research
- Do not simply cover the chapters of your dissertation project. Instead identify a specific idea or finding that considers a topic from a fresh perspective, or even one that is provided in a ‘how-to’ format
- Will it be interactive? Will it be an interview session? Will it be a panel discussion? Will there be a single presenter?
- Do you know how to promote yourself after creating the content?
- Think through who you will send it to, how, and when is the best time.
- There are a variety of platforms that will host your webinar, some of which include: GoToWebinar, Demio, EasyWebinar, Webinarjam
- Fully familiarize yourself with all its functions and capabilities
Written dissemination consists of sharing your research in written form through a journal or book publication.
Advantages to Written Dissemination
- Widens the scope of individuals you can reach with the content.
- Increases credibility of your research as it will undergo a review process to evaluate the merit of the work.
- Allows you to keep track of who is using your work and where.
Types of Written Dissemination
The most common type of publication is that of a journal article in the academic community. There are a variety of scholarly journals and each has a specific mission and scope that can be found on the journal’s main website.
Steps to consider:
- Select an appropriate journal
- Each journal has a specific scope and set of requirements that must be met prior to consideration.
- Consider looking at your literature review – which articles did you cite often and which journals were those articles published in? That might give you an idea of where to start looking.
- Journals are all at different stages of development which means their impact factor will vary. Those with lower impact factors may be easier to publish in, while those with higher impact factors will make your work more discoverable/visible. Determine what is important to you.
- Open access (OA) journals do not require a subscription or download cost for the individuals to view the articles they publish (no costs affiliated with viewing your work for the public)
- Transitional journals do require a subscription or a download cost for each article they publish.
- What are the main differences? Consider learning more about it here
- Even though your dissertation is already in a written form, it will not suffice to simply copy and paste content for a journal article.
- A journal article will: be shorter, include only the most important findings (or limit the article to one finding), be limited to one research question, and be cohesive and focused.
- For additional information on the differences between a journal article and a dissertation, please see here
An alternative option is to publish the content of your dissertation in a book format. This option will also require work in revising and reformatting as well as a shift in engagement as the audience is no longer reviewers/examiners.
To learn more about the process, consider the following resources:
European University Institute (n.d.) – From PhD to Book
Taylor & Francis Group (2021) – Turning your PhD into a Successful Book