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PhD Workshop Detail & Student Application
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The Workshop is oriented toward planning doctoral students who have passed their qualifying examination (or equivalent) and will be defending, or have recently defended, their PhD dissertation proposal within about 6 months prior to or following the workshop. Students will have multiple opportunities to present their work to their fellow students and workshop faculty in smaller breakout sessions. Students will be expected to submit a synopsis of their dissertation proposal about one month before the workshop. The workshop will be limited to approximately 20 students to ensure adequate time for participation and feedback. Workshop faculty will be drawn from several institutions. All have extensive experience advising PhD students in multiple domains.

The workshop will be held at the site of the ACSP 2016 Conference in Portland, the day prior to the official start of that conference. The workshop registration fee will cover on-campus lodging and meals during the workshop. Students will be expected to provide their own laptop computers for work, although e-mail and web connections will be provided by the hosts.

The workshop will include both plenary and small-group sessions. Each student will make at least two presentations about their research during the course of the workshop. The workshop organization will be based on four questions about your dissertation research: Who, Why, What, and How?

  • WHO: Who is the audience for your research? Will it be undertaken and presented in a manner that is understandable to your audience?
  • WHY: What purpose does your inquiry serve? Why should others care about your research? What difference will your inquiry and results make?
  • WHAT: What is your central hypothesis or proposition, or argument? What knowledge claims do you expect your research to support? What questions do you hope to answer?
  • HOW: How do you expect to conduct your inquiry? How will you organize your inquiry (Research design)? What tools do you need to answer your major questions (Methodology)?



7:30-8:00 Registration and Breakfast (Promptly at 7:30)

8:00-8:30 Overview and Introductions

8:30-9:30 Presentation: Research Audience, Goal, Question, and Design

9:30-9:45 Coffee Break

9:45-11:00 Breakout Exercise: Research Questions and Design

11:00-Noon Group Discussion – Report out and Pandora’s Box*

Noon – 1:30 Lunch and Panel Discussion: Getting Through the Dissertation

1:30-2:30 Presentation: Strategies for Selecting Appropriate Research Methods, Presentation of Findings

2:30-2:45 Coffee Break

2:45-5:00 Breakout Exercise: Student Discussion of Research Proposals (facilitated by faculty)

5:00-6:00 Group Discussion – Report out and Pandora’s Box*

7:00-8:30 Dinner and Panel Discussion: Life After the Dissertation – Finding a Job / Life in Academia

* Pandora’s Box = Discussion allowing students to express and discuss concerns and anxieties as they conceive of or undertake their research (will this approach/question/exercise be a fruitful endeavor or am I opening a Pandora’s Box?)

The workshop fee is still to be determined, but will likely range somewhere between $200 and $400; notice of the final fee will be provided as soon as possible. The fee will include one night of lodging (November 1) plus breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The workshop fee does not include travel costs. The fee for those not staying at the workshop venue is also still to be determined.

A limited number of scholarships will be available from ACSP to assist with workshop fee. Students are encouraged first to request funds from their universities to help offset travel and workshop-related expenses. Those requesting assistance from ACSP should do so as part of their application in the form of a brief statement describing your reasons for requesting financial support. You may ask the faculty who writes your letter of recommendation to address your need for financial assistance as well.


  • Application Deadline for both student and academic advisor's submission: August 26
  • Notification of Acceptance: September 9
  • Synopsis of Dissertation Proposal Due: October 7
  • Workshop: November 2



The application will include:

  1. A current resume or CV
  2. Completion of a short on-line application form
  3. Brief (no more than 500 word) abstract of the applicant’s dissertation project
  4. The name and email address of the applicant’s principal academic advisor. The advisor will be asked separately to respond a short form as well.


Applications will be reviewed by the ACSP PhD Committee. Previous years’ workshops have been able to accommodate about 60% of those who applied. Students accepted for the workshop will be expected to provide a short (no more than 4 pages, single-spaced) synopsis of their dissertation proposal no later than October 7th.

All those selected to participate must submit a four-page (single-spaced) summary of the student’s dissertation research proposal no later than October 7th, 2016. These will be distributed among participating students and faculty prior to the workshop. In addition, all participants will be expected to make an 8-minute, 5-slide presentation of their research during the afternoon of the workshop.

Contact Richard Norton at



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