2016-2017 Student Catalog | Doctor of Ministry Program | Academic Program | Dissertation

Chapter Checklist

Typical Dissertation Chapter Checklist
(May vary depending on research method employed)

Front Matter

  • Title page
  • Copyright page
  • Abstract
  • Acknowledgements
  • Table of Contents

Chapter One

  • Problem introduced, often with personal vignette
  • Purpose of study stated clearly and concisely
  • Brief description of theoretical framework and grounding in literature
  • Context of study established
  • Research question(s) identified
  • Research methodology described
  • Design of study described
  • Instrumentation explained
  • Key terms defined
  • Data collection and analysis described
  • Independent and dependent variables identified
  • Delimitations and generalizability described
  • Biblical/theological foundations introduced
  • Overview of remaining chapters

Chapter Two

  • Relevant sources identified and discussed
  • Critical interaction with sources
  • Themes emerging from literature developed in essay style
  • Structure developed logically and coherently around themes, not around specific resources
  • Discussion related clearly to problem of the study
  • Quality of literature discussed as important as quantity (use primary sources as much as possible)
  • Theoretical framework summarized by end of chapter

Chapter Three

  • Clear description and analysis of key biblical passages and themes
  • Discussion of central theological and ecclesiological issues
  • Demonstrate sound exegesis and astute theological reflection
  • Integrate relevant insight from the history of the church and leading theologians  

Chapter Four

  • Problem/purpose restated
  • Research questions restated and explained
  • Detailed description of every component of the research
  • Selection of participants described and explained; rationale given
  • Population and sample described
  • Instruments explained
  • Independent and dependent variables explained
  • Control procedures described
  • Data collection and analysis detailed
  • Reliability and validity data provided
  • Ethical guidelines described
  • Describe study with such exhaustive detail and clarity that another researcher could easily replicate your study in order to verify it

Chapter Five

  • Provide the answers to the research questions
  • Focus on significant findings
  • Use statistical analysis correctly and appropriately
  • Use tables, graphs, and figures as appropriate                        
  • Organize chapter around answers to the research questions
  • Evaluate and discuss findings

Chapter Six

  • Describe implications and significance of research
  • Key contributions of this research
  • Limitations of research
  • Unexpected observations
  • Recommendations for further research
  • Practical applications
  • Personal impact
  • Concluding thoughts

Back Matter

  • Appendices (Copies of research instruments such as surveys, questionnaires, curriculum, letters, etc.)
  • Bibliography