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Palgrave Macmillan

Our Dissertations, Ourselves

Shared Stories of Women's Dissertation Journeys

ISBN 9781137395238
Publication Date February 2014
Formats Paperback 
Publisher Palgrave Macmillan

Our Dissertations, Ourselves engages readers in intimate stories from twenty women who wrote doctoral dissertations across nine disciplines: biology, English literature, modern languages, history, mathematics, music, nursing, philosophy, and social work. Their stories bring to light the common experiences, emotions, and challenges in the sometimes overwhelming process of writing a dissertation amidst a full and complex life. Through dialogue with these women, the authors found that much of the dissertation journey is shaped by the challenges and transformations in the writer's own identity and relationships. Designed to invite readers into shared experiences, this book provides support and guidance for women writing dissertations, their advisors, and all those on the journey with them, inviting readers to gain new understandings of the often-isolating world of the dissertation writer and celebrate the courage and creativity that these twenty women demonstrate.

Christine Sorrell Dinkins is Associate Professor and Chair of Philosophy at Wofford College, USA.
Jeanne Merkle Sorrell is Professor Emerita at George Mason University, USA, and Senior Nurse Scientist in the Department of Research and Innovation at the Cleveland Clinic, USA.

1. Writing the Unknown
2. Mystery, Confusion, Isolation
3. Realigning Relationships
4. Transformation of the Self
5. Advisor and Committee: Dancing with Strangers
6. End of a Journey and a New Beginning
7. Looking Back
Appendix: Gathering the Stories


"This mother-and-daughter team, both successful PhDs, claim that theirs is not a 'how to' guide for dissertation writers, but I can't think of a better help for the person, female or male, embarking on the journey or in the midst of the struggle. If you're an advisor or a doctoral program chair, you, too, should read this book. You'll be moved by these twenty researchers' stories and by the authors' wise reflections on them." - Christopher Thaiss, Clark Kerr Presidential Chair and Professor, University Writing Program, and Director, Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning, University of California, Davis, USA
"This study of the dissertation experience of women offers invaluable insights for doctoral candidates and their faculty advisors, regardless of sex, making the dissertation process not only less painful but more productive of new understanding." - Mary Catherine Bateson, author of Composing a Life
"This talented mother-daughter pair of qualitative researchers has taken on an interesting evaluation of women's relationships with their dissertation process. Studying this elite group of aspiring scholars, Dinkins and Sorrell offer a candid look at the dissertation journey through the eyes of the women travelers. Insightful, honest, revealing stories make it a must read for all doctoral candidates and their loved ones. It should be required reading for faculty advisors, committee members, and chairs who coach these students to successful completion of doctoral work." - Karen Drenkard, Executive Director, American Nurses Credentialing Center
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