(We will not address APA style, grammar, headings, etc.If you are interested in help with the research design or nature of the study, please register for the methodology drop-in by clicking here).You should understand how to use a theory to frame research questions.
Every dissertation needs to have a theoretical foundation or a conceptual framework (or both) that is discussed in the literature review section.
The theoretical foundation is important because it will be the lens through which you evaluate your research problem and research questions.
Grounded in the tenets of Tinto’s (1993) “theory of graduate communities and doctoral persistence”, the grad SERU Survey conceptualizes the graduate student experience as a three-stage process that encompasses the entry/transition stage, the development stage, and the degree completion/exit stage.
The theory posits that individual attributes, such as demographics, prior educational experience, and financial resources, shape students’ goals and their educational, occupational, and institutional commitments.
Student research and teaching experiences will differ depending on the type of assistantship they have.
Students in research positions will probably have either limited or no teaching experience, whereas students in teaching positions will still have research experience while doing their dissertation research.
Providing this information will help you to highlight why the theory you have selected is valid for use in your study, and will make it easier for you to demonstrate how the theory relates to your own study.
Once you’ve introduced and discussed your selected theory in the Theoretical Foundation section of your literature review, you need to outline why the theory is relevant to your study and how you will use the information from it to conduct and evaluate your research and findings.
For example, if you conduct a study on employee engagement and opt to use Maslow’s (1943) Hierarchy of Needs as your theoretical foundation, discussing the fulfillment of needs as outlined in Maslow’s theory will help you to establish what his theory is and why it is relevant to your research.
Once that is done, you can discuss how the fulfillment of needs (based on Maslow) relates to motivation in employees and how your study will use Maslow’s theory to evaluate and address your identified problem.