Book by Dan W. Butin
Review by Dr. Carita Harrell
Academic Advisor, School of Life Sciences
Arizona State University

The Education Dissertation: A Guide for Practitioner Scholars compares strategies for success to instrument flying, which is when a pilot can’t see well visually due to weather conditions. As an instrument can provide guidance to the pilot, the author claims to provide key indicators for success through the doctoral experience. These indicators or strategies are the highlights of the book.
This book provides an introduction to common issues of doctoral students in the field of education and an overview of the doctoral process. It also suggests helpful tips before, during, and after the dissertation. It provides concrete suggestions such as committee expectations, setting a timeline, choosing a topic, and publishing after the dissertation. Some of the ideas are common to many of the popular books in the field such as Creswell’s Research Design: Qualitative, Quantitative, and Mixed Methods Approaches or Hart’s Doing a Literature Review. They all provide suggestions for writing the dissertation. Characteristics that are unique to Butin are that he shares an honest, realistic, but optimistic view of the doctoral experience.
Many advisors consider furthering their career by pursuing the doctoral degree. Butin (2009) comments on the typical doctoral student in education. The student desires to link theory and practice, typically older, married, and experienced. He comments on theories of adult learning, the academic culture, and the hidden curriculum. These comments with the strategies for success make this book a must read before deciding to pursue a doctoral degree. It gives a clear idea of the personal, program, and institutional expectations. An individual will encounter unique circumstances, but this book is a welcome guide.
The downside of this book is the lack of depth about how to write the dissertation. Although it is a good reference during the doctoral process, it is not a step by step guide about how to write each chapter of the dissertation. Other books by Creswell (2009) or Hart (2008) would supplement the doctoral library. Overall this is an excellent book to read if you are considering a doctoral degree and would recommend it to any colleague. 

Creswell, J. (2009). Research design: qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage: ISBN-13: 9781412965569
Hart, C. (2008). Doing a literature review. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. ISNB-13: 9780761959755

The Education Dissertation: A Guide for Practitioner Scholars. (2009) Book by Dan W. Butin. Review by Dr. Carita Harrell. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press (SAGE Publications) 160 pp., $33.95 ISBN # 978-1-412-96044-1
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