It’s often hard to think through what a good qualitative dissertation could look like. If you’re fortunate enough to have access to a university library, one of these 13 might provide a model. All are fairly recent, but most importantly, all were published as well-received books. If you look you’ll note how few have 5 chapters. You’ll also see that many don’t have “literature reviews” (or even “methodology chapters”). You can download the dissertations through the library’s webpage — look under ‘databases’ and ‘dissertation abstracts’ and search by author or title. Don’t try to find them in the library catalog.
– Lewis, (2000). Race in the schoolyard: Reproducing the color line in school. Doctoral dissertation, University of Michigan. Book: Race in the Schoolyard: Negotiating the Color Line in Classrooms and Communities
– Andre-Becheley, (1999) To know otherwise: A study of the social organization of parents’ work for public school choice. UCLA.. Book: Could it be otherwise? Parents and the Inequities of Public School Choice
– Jacobs, Gregory Scott (1994). Getting around Brown: Desegregation, Development, and the Columbus Public Schools, 1954-1994. Masters Thesis. Book: Getting Around Brown: Desegregation, Development, and the Columbus Public Schools
– Modan, G. (2000). The struggle for neighborhood identity: Discursive constructions of community and place in a U.S. Multi-ethnic community. PhD Dissertation. Book: Turf Wars: Discourse, Diversity, and the Politics of Place
– Klinenberg, E. (2000). Dying Alone: A social autopsy of the 1995 Chicago Heat Wave. PhD Dissertation, University of California at Berkeley, Sociology.Book: Heatwave: A social autopsy of disaster in Chicago
– Jake Kosek, The Political Life of Forests in Northern New Mexico. (Dissertation, 2002). Book: Understories: The political life of forests in Northern New Mexico (2006)
– Loic Wacquant, “Urban Outcasts: Color, class, and place in two advanced societies” (Vols I-III) (1994). Book: Urban Outcasts: A Comparative Sociology of Advanced Marginality (2007)
– Karen Ho, “Liquifying corporations and communities: Wall Street Worldviews and Socio-Economic Transformations in the Post-Industrial Economy” (2003) Book: Liquidated: An ethnography of Wall Street (2010)
– Caitlin Zaloom, “The Discipline of Speculators: Trading and Technology from Chicago to London” (2002). Book: Out of the Pits: Traders and Technology from Chicago to London
– Pamela Perry, “Beginning to See the White: A Comparative Ethnography in Two High Schools of the Racial Consciousness and Identities of White Youth” (1998). Book: Shades of White: White Kids and Racial Identity in High School (2002)
– Christopher Kliewer, “The social representation of children with Down Syndrome” (1995). Book: Schooling Children with Down Syndrome: Toward an Understanding of Possibility (1998)
– Elizabeth DeBray, “The Failure of the 106th United States Congress to Reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965: An Analysis of Politics, Ideology, and Institutions” (2001). Book: Politics, Ideology & Education: Federal Policy During the Clinton and Bush Administrations (2006) – did additional fieldwork to extend the time frame into the Bush era.
– Amy Best, “Schooling and the Production of Popular Culture: Negotiating Subjectivities at the High School Prom” (1998). Book: Prom Night: Youth, Schools, and Popular Culture