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Research and Dissertation Resources

At the NSU Fischler College of Education and School of Criminal Justice, we understand the importance of providing our students with the resources and support they need to succeed in their research endeavors. Here, you will find a comprehensive guide with information on a variety of topics, including:

  • Identifying a research topic
  • Conducting literature reviews
  • Collecting and analyzing data
  • Writing and formatting your dissertation
  • Presenting your findings 
We are also available to meet with you one-on-one to discuss your research project and provide personalized guidance.

Applied Dissertation Procedures

54-credit Doctoral Program

In the 54-credit doctoral program, the student will need to pass FOUR ‘benchmarks’ in the applied dissertation process. Each benchmark is worth 3 credits as follows:

Please note that the student will work directly with his/ her dissertation chair to progress in the benchmarks. There is no online course in Blackboard. The guides above provide an outline of what needs to be completed to pass the benchmark.


69-credit Doctoral Program

In the 69-credit doctoral program, the student will need to pass THREE ‘benchmarks’ in the applied dissertation process, credits awarded as follows:

Please note that the student will work directly with his/ her dissertation chair to progress in the benchmarks. There is no online course in Blackboard. The guides above provide an outline of what needs to be completed to pass the benchmark.

Writing Guidelines and Resources

The NSU Write from the Start Writing and Communication Center offers individualized writing and communication assistance to all NSU students. You can make an appointment with a professional writing consultant online or in person. Visit to schedule one of the following available appointments (be sure to select one of the following schedule types):

  • Grad/Professional - Alvin Sherman Library - in person - These 45-minute consultations are offered to graduate/professional students in the Alvin Sherman Library, 4th Floor, Rm. 430. 
  • Martin and Gail Press Health Professions Division Library - in person - These 45-minute consultations are offered to students in room 3148 of the HPD Library.
  • Grad/Professional - online - Graduate/professional students from online or on-site courses may make online appointments. These sessions take place using GotoMeeting. 

Please select one of the professional consultants (Richard, Lori, Gary, Jane, or Jose) when making your appointment; if you are unable to make an appointment, please contact the director of Dissertation Support Services, Jennifer Reeves, Ph.D. at or 850-727-8994. Repeat appointments are encouraged. 

  • APA Style Web site
  • APA Style Guide to Electronic References — This 2012 guide is a supplement to the sixth edition of the APA manual. It is available, at no cost to NSU students, through the NSU library (login required)
  • APA Style Blog, an ongoing series of contributions from APA editorial staff for clarification of style guidelines.
  • Mastering APA Style: Student's Workbook and Training Guide
  • Guide to APA Style — This guide from NSU's Alvin Sherman Library contains sections on Quick Examples, Formatting, Citing in Text, How Do I Cite . . ., I Can't Find It, and Video Tutorials.
  • CrossRef DOI lookup — APA, in its Publication Manual, requires a digital object identifier (DOI) in reference-list entries for articles that have been assigned a DOI and have been found online. Additionally, APA recommends that DOIs be included in entries for articles found in print form.
  • Creating an APA-Style Table — This video, though imprecise for some details of style (see user comments), provides useful directions for formatting a table in Microsoft Word 2007 according to APA guidelines.
  • Creating an APA-Style Figure — This video offers directions in creating a bar graph in Excel 2007 according to APA guidelines.

Students who contract with an editor or typist must provide that person with the Format Guide for the Applied Dissertation. Editors and typists must communicate with the student, not with university personnel. The university does not assume responsibility for a student's contractual agreement with an editor or typist or for the quality of the editor's or typist's work. 

The Fischler College of Education and School of Criminal Justice cannot recommend a freelance editor, nor does it employ editors. If you require professional editing, speak first with your dissertation committee chair; ask if he or she is able to put you in touch with a former student who had success with an editor. Contact within your network of College of Education doctoral students may also yield specific recommendations. 

Dissertation editors and typists may be found through a variety of other sources, including the Internet, phone directories, and college and university bulletin boards. Please be aware, however, that the skill levels of editors vary widely. If you do find it necessary to hire a nonreferred editor, ask beforehand if he or she has successfully worked on a College of Education doctoral dissertation. If the answer is "yes," request at least one reference so you can verify the editor’s qualifications with the College of Education graduate; if the answer is "no," it would be advisable to continue your search. 

Once a decision is made, be sure that all aspects of the contractual agreement are clearly spelled out. For example, your edited manuscript may require substantial content changes during the final-review process. In such a case, your manuscript will need to be re-edited. Establish an understanding with your editor in regard to a procedure—and payment, if necessary—for additional work that may be required after the initial editing. 

Editors and typists must not make changes that affect the content of your dissertation. You are responsible for ensuring that the applied dissertation is correct prior to its submission to the dissertation committee. Therefore, the manuscript should be edited before the committee recommends it for final approval.

Hiring an editor to prepare your manuscript does not preclude the usefulness of learning as much as possible about APA style and College of Education format requirements. Having a familiarity with style and format guidelines will help you to determine early in the process whether your editor is fulfilling his or her contractual obligations.

A professionally edited dissertation gives you an opportunity to learn proper style by comparing—line by line—your final manuscript to your pre-edited manuscript. The knowledge that you gain from this exercise will be a benefit to you throughout your professional career.

Additional Resources

The NSU librarians are here to assist you! They can show you how to:

  • locate current literature for your literature review
  • find tests and measurements for data collection
  • use citation resources to assist you with learning APA style
  • use Endnote
  • and more... 

Assistance in Spanish is also available.

Meet in-person or online with a librarian: 

Schedule a research appointment

There are multiple ways to locate dissertations. This comprehensive guide provides step-by-step instructions for finding NSU and other dissertations and theses. 

Find Dissertations

All students will automatically have their dissertations published in the NSU Major Applied Research Projects (MARPs) database; however, this database is only limited to those with a email address. In order to have your dissertation available to the public, you will need to publish it.

Learn More About Publishing Your Dissertation

Each year the Abraham S. Fischler College of Education & School of Criminal Justice (FCE&SCJ) recognizes the excellent work of our doctoral students and the dissertation chairs and Strategic Research Project (SRP) faculty who advise them. The Dr. Charles L. Faires Outstanding Doctoral Research Award is awarded to students who validated the principles taught in NSU’s doctoral program and have captured the essence and importance of being a scholar.

Dr. Charles L. Faires, who graduated from Kent State University with his Ph.D., brought a wealth of research expertise to the FCE&SCJ. His determination was to make sure that every student and colleague had the information to produce high-quality, rigorous research. He was more than a researcher and faculty member, Dr. Faires was a sincere professional with high morals and a friendly, unselfish disposition. He attended every Summer Institute and was always willing to give assistance to those who needed it. Dr. Charles L. Faires was one of those rare individuals who wanted to make the world a better place through sound research. We, therefore, honor his legacy through the outstanding doctoral research award.

To be eligible for the Dr. Charles L. Faires Outstanding Doctoral Research Award, a student’s dissertation chair or SRP faculty member must submit a nomination. A blind-review committee of FCE&SCJ full-time faculty carefully consider all nominations and make their recommendations to the Dean based on the eligibility criteria (Dissertation criteria and SRP criteria). Award winners are announced by June 1st of each year. 

It is our hope that sharing these criteria will improve the quality of FCE&SCJ’s applied dissertations and SRPs, and make the award process more competitive. Should you have any questions about the Dr. Charles L. Faires Outstanding Doctoral Research Award please email

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