ROUTE #1: Getting Started
ROUTE #1: Chapter-by-Chapter


Building the theoretical case

Once you have been given the green light by your supervisor to proceed with your planned main journal article, route, and approach within that route, it is time to build the theoretical case for your dissertation. By theoretical case, we mean the justification for your research based on the literature. This requires you follow five steps: (1) understand the broader literature within which your main journal article and chosen route fit; (2) critically evaluate the main journal article and its components parts; (3) justify the route you have chosen, and the approach within that route; (4) set the theoretical model for your dissertation; and (5) since building the theoretical case for your dissertation can be a time-consuming and challenging task, check that you have accomplished all the major tasks involved. These five steps not only help you to build the theoretical case for your dissertation, but will also give you the material you require when writing up your Literature Review chapter (often Chapter Two: Literature Review).

Even though the critical literature review process is easier when taking on a Route #1: Replication-based dissertation compared to other types of quantitative dissertation, you will probably find this one of the most challenging parts of the dissertation process. Therefore, be prepared to read through this article a number of times, as well as having to read quite a number of sources (i.e., journal articles, sections of books, and perhaps even conference papers or theses/dissertations published online). In fact, expect to read at least 1-2 review articles and 20-30 sources for a basic understanding of the theoretical case behind your dissertation. To achieve a higher mark, it is likely that you will need to read a lot more sources to gain a sufficient command of the literature underpinning your dissertation. By the end of this stage, you should be ready to move on to STAGE SIX: Setting the research strategy that you will use to collect data for your dissertation.

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