Narrator
After several terms and residencies, you are ready to face the most significant challenge of your doctoral program: the dissertation, an original contribution to the field demonstrating expertise and leadership. Walden’s Milestone Three residency helps you meet this academic challenge with a seminar called the Research Intensive, which orients all students—regardless of their program—to the rigors of the dissertation process ahead.

Dr. Bob Levasseur
(Faculty)

This plane up here is where all these great practitioner-driven ideas are that you have. But where you need to get is down on this plane down here … which is where research is that somewhat related to what you’re talking about, but has almost a little bit life of its own, right?

Dr. Nina Nabors
(Associate dean, School of Psychology)

Milestone Three is a point in the student’s program where they’re ready to begin their dissertation. So regardless of which program they’re in, when they get to Milestone Three, all students are focused on one goal: beginning and creating a prospectus to begin their dissertation. One of the great things about Milestone Three, then, is that students benefit from hearing about other students’ topics, and hearing how the students have to figure out which statistical analysis makes the most sense, how to really cull their research question to one that’s researchable. So they get to hear not only from students within their own discipline, but students across the university. So it’s a great experience for the students.

Holly Huang
(Ph.D. in Public Health student)

So there are a lot of questions. When and how can I get started? Who will be my advisor; who will be the chairperson? So I come here with questions and talk to the faculty members and advisors.

Narrator
You are likely to arrive at Milestone Three with a draft prospectus, which you will refine further during the residency.

Faculty
We’re here to help you get to the point of getting a prospectus done. Ideally what we want is for you to have the foundation of your prospectus finished by noon on Saturday.

Narrator
The prospectus describes in just one or two pages your problem statement, theories that will guide your research, and a description of your research design.

In the Milestone Three research intensive, you are encouraged to begin thinking about your dissertation proposal.

Student
Trying to implement an anger management program to see if it will affect the bullying rates in the schools.

Student
Computer forensics, specifically steganography. And I would like to find a way to put in watermarks on digital documents.

Student
It’s using emotional intelligence to create harmonious diversity in an organizational workforce.

Student
I want to look at virtual high schools and how they affect the cognitive level of adolescents

Student
What is the impact of reconstruction following a hurricane of coastal communities in havoc, predominantly by low income and middle class families?

Dr. Gary Burkholder
(Faculty)

The dissertation proposal is always going to be the first three chapters of your dissertation. Chapter 1 generally serves as the overview of the study. Chapter 2 is the literature review where you basically investigate the large body of knowledge that forms the basis of your particular topic of interest. It’s an exhaustive review of what we know, and also what we don’t know, about your particular area. And then Chapter 3 is the research, design, and methodology. This is how you’re going to actually conduct your study. A complete proposal is Chapter 1, Chapter 2, and Chapter 3 of your dissertation.

Dr. Sreeroopa Sarkar
(Faculty)
We spend a lot of time together talking about research designs, talking about research ideas. And the students bounce off their ideas with each other, and they give great feedback.

And we help them understand what exactly they need to do. Or the idea they’re coming up with, if it’s a feasible idea or not, if they can do it or not, if they’re coming up with a testable hypothesis or not.

Narrator
As you begin your dissertation, scholarly writing skills become more important than ever.

Jeff Zuckerman
(Writing Center director)

At the literature review, we’re going to talk about how the literature review builds up, leads up into the dissertation.

Jeff Zuckerman
(Writing Center director)
Our students bring so much into the program. They have so many wonderful experiences. They know a lot about what they consider to be the real world, and of course it is. We have wonderful nurses and managers and teachers, people who have been in the field a long time. And they do know a lot based on what they’ve seen. The leap to scholarly writing is learning how to take the research that they’re reading, the theory that they’re reading, and turning that into a dynamic argument, a research argument.

Narrator
But academic writing can only be as good as the research that underpins it, so Walden residencies also focus on library research and using Walden’s online research database. Through individual counseling, seminars in online research, and the use of library resources, you will leave residencies better able to mine for data, discern reputable sources, and search for academic journal articles in their field.

Dr. Gary Burkholder
(Faculty)

Faculty members work with students during the course of their education through coursework and also through the dissertation process to understand how to be effective consumers of literature, how to understand what is good research and what is bad research.

Narrator
You should leave the Milestone Three seminar prepared for the dissertation process and ready to undertake research that will create social change in your community, your professional field, or beyond.

Maryam Muhammad
(Ph.D. in Public Health student)
I gained from this residency the process of narrowing down my scope, processing my research, analytically planning the design so that I can actually write my paper and be able to present it to the proper faculty.

Jesus Borrego
(Ph.D. in management student)
It is a struggle to get sometimes but is very rewarding, so you just have to keep up with the work and get it there, and all of a sudden it’s a year later and I’m in Milestone Three. A year ago I was in Milestone One and I never thought I was going to finish. And here I am. I’ve enjoyed the ride; it’s a lot of work, but it’s very rewarding.

Jennifer Shambrook
(Ph.D. in Public Health student)

Probably the biggest change that I’ve experienced in myself is confidence. I really entered into this very tentatively. I didn’t know if I would be able to do this. I knew I was probably as intelligent as the next person, and that I could do it as far as that goes, but I didn’t know if I would have what it takes as far as the time management skills and the perseverance. And it’s really shown me that I have a lot more fiber than I thought I had, as far as setting a very difficult goal and working toward that goal.