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# Doug Chung- Starting the Dissertation

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• 1.      STARTING  THE  DISSERTATION   Doug  J.  Chung,  Harvard  Business  School   2014 Winter AMA DocSIG Pre-Conference Symposium
• 2. IMPORTANT  QUESTIONS  TO  ASK  YOURSELF   When   ¡  ¡  Ideal:  As  soon  as  you  can…0th  year…never  too  early  to  think  about  a  topic   Reality:  A;er  taking  the  full  set  of  coursework  :  end  of  2nd  year     In  what  area/topic   ¡  ¡  Ideal:  An  area/topic  that  you  have  PASSION  for   Reality:  data  constraints,  ideas  from  advisor/other  faculty  members/hot   current  topics
• 3. CHOOSING  AN  AREA   Relevance   ¡  Ideally,  your  topic  has  to  be  relevant  to  the  REAL  world     Importance   ¡  Ideally,  it  has  to  be  an  important  problem  worth  solving     Rigor   ¡  Ideally,  want  to  apply  the  latest  state-­‐of-­‐the-­‐art  technology  in  methods
• 4. WHAT  IS  “IMPORTANT”?   QuesKon  to  ask  yourself:   ¡  Given  the  (expected)  ﬁndings  of  the  research,  how  will  these  ﬁndings  alter   standing  thought  in  an  area?   New  boundaries  to  an  established  empirical  phenomenon   ÷  New  theoreKcal  explanaKon  for  an  established  phenomenon   ÷  New  method  that  allows  improved  measurement  and/or  predicKon     ÷    Traps  to  Avoid   ¡  ¡  ¡  Simply  being  the  “ﬁrst”  to  do  something  (e.g.,  analyze  certain  data,  apply   an  established  method  to  a  new  area)  does  not,  by  itself,  make  it  valuable;   the  exercise  has  to  have  the  potenKal  for  a  belief  shi;  (see  above)   Picking  a  topic  simply  because  it  is  “hot”   LeXng  data  drive  the  topic
• 5. LEARNING  THE  TOOLS   Start  from  the  absolute  basics   ¡  Take  demanding  and  rigorous  courses  from  Economics,  Psychology,  StaKsKcs   to  develop  the  fundamental  skills   ¡  Don’t  try  to  take  the  easy  route  –  simple  courses,  MBA  courses,  etc.   ¡  If  you  don’t  have  the  fundamentals,  it  will  hurt  you  even  a;er  geXng  a  job.       Apply  to  ideas  that  YOU  come  up  with   ¡  Methods  are  important  but  the  substanKve  contribuKon  is  MORE     Don’t  worry  too  much  about  publishing  at  this  stage!     ALWAYS  follow  your  PASSION!     ¡  Remember  why  you  started  this  (PhD)  in  the  ﬁrst  place…
• 6. ANY  QUESTIONS?