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Consider Possible Formats

Digital dissertations can take various forms. Here’s an overview of three common approaches:

  1. Digital Methods Approach: A project that makes significant use of algorithmic methods for data collection, analysis, and visualization. This may look like a “traditional” peer reviewed paper or monograph, with distinct sections that describe the research questions, the data, the analytical approaches, as well as research findings. Importantly, the approach centers computational methodology in some capacity.
  2. Traditional Monograph + Digital Project Approach: A “traditional” dissertation (i.e. a written monograph or collection of articles, depending on the field) supplemented with a digital project like a map or digital archive. The digital component might represent dense scholarly material in a more accessible format for a public/scholarly audience or, for example, might take a creative or critical making approach to a corresponding topic.
  3. Wholly Digital Approach: A dissertation project where the digital component is the main deliverable–these works exclusively employ a critical making approach to research and the communication of insights. It is important to note that these projects typically include the code required to build the work as well as a written component, like a white paper, that describes its features and function.