You will be familiar with techniques to locate relevant information for projects and essays. However you may find that you need to ‘step up a gear’ when you write your project or dissertation and this section provides some search tips and resources. Before deciding the topic of your project or dissertation you will want to do some background research to gain familiarity with the evidence-base for your topic. This will help you to refine a title. Throughout the stages of planning and writing your project you will undertake a range of search activities from quite general to very specific. The biggest challenge is to be efficient in your use of time because so much information is now available. Information is easily available via the Internet, but that brings its own challenges for locating, reviewing, relevance, authority, sifting for quality, organising and using information appropriately. So good search skills are essential, as well as techniques for recording and organising your findings.
This funding opportunity announcement will use the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Dissertation Award (R36) mechanism. The predoctoral student is the Project Director/Principal Investigator (PD/PI) of the application. As an applicant, you will be solely responsible for planning, directing, and executing the proposed project under the supervision, and with the approval, of a university-approved and appointed doctoral committee. The student-PD/PI must have an appointment at the applicant institution (e.g., research assistant).
When you conduct a search, you locate a book that your search has highlighted and you can't help but notice what’s placed around it – and those books can also assist you! Not everything that you need for final dissertations will be in the Library. Even with the growth of electronic resources such as full text databases and package journals deals there will be a conference report, journal article, thesis, newspaper report or book which is not instantly available. Librarians are happy to explain the different schemes for obtaining such materials, the most obvious one being the British Library Document Supply Service.
In addition to the learning experience of writing a dissertation which helps you to gain a good degree, you will learn skills of information literacy that you can use again and again.
Letter of Certification: A letter from the faculty committee or university official directly responsible for supervising the development and progress of the dissertation research must be submitted with the application. The letter must: (a) fully identify the members of the dissertation committee and certify their approval of the dissertation proposal; (b) certify that all requirements for the doctoral degree, except the dissertation and, if necessary, the clinical internship, are completed or will be completed by the time the grant award starts; (c) note that the university official or faculty committee expects the doctoral candidate to proceed with the approved project proposal with or without CDC support; and (d) briefly describe the facilities and resources for the project and certify that they are adequate to conduct the proposed research. This should be placed in the Letters of Support attachment.
Because the nature and scope of the proposed research will vary from application to application, it is anticipated that the size and duration of each award will also vary. Although the financial plans of the Centers, Institutes, and Offices (CIOs) provide support for this program, awards pursuant to this funding opportunity are contingent upon the availability of funds and the submission of a sufficient number of meritorious applications. The total project period for an application submitted in response to this FOA may not exceed one year and may be extended without additional funds for up to 12 months. Grants to support dissertation research will provide no more than $35,000 in direct costs per year.
Virginia Tech has had an international leadership role in ETD initiatives since the 1980s, leading to its January 1, 1997, mandate that graduate students submit their theses and dissertations online. A collaboration between the Graduate School and the University Libraries, VT ETDs are available through the and since 2013 in , the university’s repository of digital research and scholarship. VT's ETDs and others are also linked from the and other resources.
These awards support research activities related to preparation of a dissertation and do not support study leading to the M.D., D.O., D.D.S., or similar professional degrees unless they are part of a combined degree program.
Information on the student's academic standing as well as a commitment from the school to implement the study as proposed must be included in the application. The student's advisor must submit with the grant application a letter of recommendation in support of the candidate and the proposed research dissertation.
Investigator/Mentor:Is the work proposed appropriate to the experience level of the doctoral candidate-investigator? Does the student show promise as a research investigator in areas relevant to the proposal? Is the proposed research project consistent with the long-term research interests of the applicant? Are the faculty advisor/dissertation chair and other doctoral committee members appropriately qualified to provide guidance as needed? Have the faculty advisor/dissertation chair and any other participating members of the committee indicated that they will provide sufficient time to allow completion of the dissertation? Will the faculty advisor/dissertation chair provide the necessary supervision and mentoring to the student?
Environment: Do(es) the scientific environment(s) in which the work will be done contribute to the probability of success? Do the proposed studies benefit from unique features of the scientific environment, or subject populations, or employ useful collaborative arrangements? Is there evidence of institutional support?