Exemplars of Dissertations grounded in Qualitative Inquiry

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

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