Strategies to Grow and Expand a Nonprofit Business

The purpose of using rubrics for dissertation courses is to support the doctoral candidate’s commitment to continuous improvement during the process of developing their work. The doctoral candidate must strive for excellence and achieve their goals as a trained scholar with high levels of academic and professional research and writing skills. As they embark on the final stage of their doctoral program, referring to rubrics along with the template as often as they can will help them meet the goals.  See the following FAQs regarding rubrics and the assessment process.

FAQs about Dissertation Rubrics

Why is using rubrics helpful?

Rubrics include criteria quality indicators that describe the basic expectations for the content of the research proposal and each chapter. In short, rubrics will be used as a tool to help make the expectations clearer and transparent. The doctoral candidate may use rubrics to continue making progress toward improving the quality of their research proposal and each chapter. The doctoral candidate’s performance and contents of the research proposal presentation defense will also be assessed upon completion of the presentation defense session. 

Rubrics are not intended for grading doctoral candidate’s dissertation, however, the university encourages and promotes the highest level of academic excellence by meeting the expectations as guided in rubrics.  Additionally, rubrics should provide clear structure for the dissertation Committee to assess the doctoral candidate’s work thus far.  Rubrics will also help to avoid ambiguity, misinterpretation, and/or potentially biased opinions of reviewers.

Should the doctoral candidate consider all criteria when working on their dissertation development?

Some of the criteria listed within each rubric may not be relevant or applicable to the doctoral candidate’s particular study and/or research.  Thus, the doctoral candidate should consult with their dissertation Committee for additional guidance and more details as to criteria relevance. 

Where can the doctoral candidate and the dissertation Committee find rubrics?

A copy of the rubric contents for the research proposal, research proposal presentation defense, and all chapters are included in this document for the doctoral candidate’s use. The dissertation Committee will use rubric sheets (MS Excel) embedded in the faculty preparation (Faculty Only) page within the LMS.  The contents of rubrics in this document and rubric sheets that the dissertation Committee will use to assess the doctoral candidate’s submissions are the same.

The dissertation Chair, dissertation Committee members, and the doctoral candidate are expected to review and be aware of the criteria in rubrics for the research proposal, research proposal presentation defense, and all chapters. 

What is the assessment process? 

The dissertation Committee members will use a summary sheet, which will automatically generate the total scores and is located in the last tab of each rubric file, to write comments. It is especially important for the dissertation Committee to provide a short and specific explanation if they find any of the attributes from the doctoral candidate’s dissertation as deficient or not evident. 

How will all the assessments from the dissertation Committee be compiled?

After the assessment and providing written comments, the dissertation Committee members will send the summary sheet to the dissertation Chair. All the feedback provided throughout the modules, except Module 1 and Module 6, in the dissertation course is to flow through the dissertation Chair.  It is the dissertation Chair’s responsibility to both process and summarize the feedback using the Dissertation Assessment Form

What is the Dissertation Quality Assessment Form?

The Dissertation Quality Assessment Form is the compilation of the average scores of the overall assessment and summary of written comments. It will be provided to the doctoral candidate via the LMS and the dissertation Committee members will be able to view the compiled and summarized feedback by accessing the LMS. The completed Dissertation Quality Assessment Form will also be used to record the doctoral candidate’s completion of the applicable module and notify the Doctoral Studies Coordinator that the doctoral candidate has completed the module.  The Dissertation Quality Assessment Form is available in the faculty preparation (Faculty Only) page in the LMS. The doctoral candidate must consult with the dissertation Chair if they have any questions or need clarification on the feedback within the form.

Rubric Criteria List for Assessing Dissertation 

To the doctoral candidate: 

You must also refer to the template in addition to rubrics for additional information and correct order of the sub-section as per the template. Please also refer to the suggested Headings in the template and according to the most recent APA formatting style when working on your dissertation. Each criterion may combine more than one subtitles from the dissertation template. 

To the Dissertation Committee

Please select one checkbox; Evident, Not Evident, or Not Applicable, for each checkbox in the rubric. If criteria quality indicators are evident in the doctoral candidate’s work but there is still room for improvement based on your expertise and expectations, please consider providing written comments in the Summary of Feedback sheet in the rubric (dissertation Committee members). The dissertation Chair should summarize all the written comments to provide to the students when they upload the Dissertation Quality Assessment Form.  If there are more than three criteria quality indicators not being evident or the total achievement percentage is lower than 83%, please consider scheduling a virtual Class Meeting session to share the concerns and discuss what needs to be improved.   


Chapter 1 (10)

Foundation of the Study 


Criteria Quality Indicators Evident Not Evident Not Applicable

Study Introduction; Problem Significance Background; Summary 




1-1 Identifies problem(s) and grabs readers’ attention; introduces the topic or Problem of Practice (); provides a brief rationale to explain the reason why the topic was selected.

1-2 Describes the context of the topic; provides evidence of the topic or validates that the  exists.

1-3 Provides a map that helps guide the audience through the reading and understanding of the dissertation; provides the roadmap to illustrate the organization and conduct of the research; includes an example question to help drive the content of the Organization of the Study.

1-4 Provides introduction and background of the study and transition to Chapter 2.


 Problem Statement



Describes the topic clearly and attentively.



Purpose of the Study; Significance of the Study




3-1 States the primary goals of the research.

3-2 Discusses the study objective.

3-3 Describes the employed methodology.

3-4 Includes population, the setting, phenomena, or variables to be studied.

3-5 Includes a discussion of significance of the study.


Research Questions; Hypothesis Statement(s)



4-1 Addresses key questions to be answered through the research.

4-2 Explains an assumption to be tested during the research.

4-3 Includes hypothesis to inform the development of the research investigation.


Definition of Terms



5-1 Provides the operational definitions.

5-2 Defines the key terms utilized in the doctoral candidate’s proposed study.

5-3 Defines each of the key terms utilizing the APA style format (*See Stylistic Awareness criteria for the assessment of an effective use of APA style.


Assumptions, Delimitations, and Limitations



6-1 Articulates insights gained from the study to form valid assumptions.

6-2 Describes the boundaries that have been set in the study. 

*Delimitations should clarify the choices made by the researcher (doctoral candidate) which should be revealed. 

*Limitations should clarify the influences that the researcher (doctoral candidate) cannot control.

Stylistic Awareness

7-1 All arguments are written in coherent and convincing manner supported by credible, relevant, and substantive evidence.

7-2 Organizational structures (i.e. introduction, headings for core areas, transition between the paragraphs, and conclusion) are purposeful, effective, and skillful. 

7-3 Uses conventions of the academic writing style (grammar, punctuation, spelling) are at the level expected for publication; consistently uses an effective academic voice and scholarly tone.)

7-4 Adheres to APA style in text citations, references, and conventions to reduce bias in language.




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