Department of Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering - Leading Process and Product Improvement

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IME or ENGR 7250 - Doctoral Research Seminar

Catalog Description:

Prerequisites/Corequisites: Prerequisite: Departmental approval.

Credits: 2-6 hrs.

Notes: Open to Graduate Students Only-Please refer to The Graduate College section for course description.

Course Objectives

  1. Learn the fundamental skills for doctoral-level research.
  2. Become certified in HSIRB (if appropriate to research discipline).
  3. Share best practices in dissertation research.
  4. Develop platform skills for teaching and training.
  5. Locate research materials quickly and effectively.

Structure and Requirements of the Seminar:

The seminar will follow the standard format of a dissertation: research questions & problem statement; literature review; research design and hypotheses; methodology; research mechanics—instrumentation (physical & construct measurement), institutional review boards and the use of human subjects, recruiting subjects; data analysis techniques; interpreting the results; drawing conclusions, generalizability, and limitations of the research.

This seminar is structured to provide the student an active experience in learning about doctoral-level research. Students will perform the following activities as part of the seminar:

  1. Student pairs will prepare and deliver a 45-minute presentation on one of five topics. The students will meet with the instructors prior to their presentation to obtain coaching on their topic. The deliverables for this presentation include the following:
    1. Discussion brief—a short (4-6 page) paper on the topic, discussing the major points of the topic, identifying key resources, and showing examples of how the material leads to a successful output.
    2. Annotated slides to use in presenting the material to the class.
    3. A set of readings for the students. These readings should include three journal articles, plus any other articles you select. They should be delivered two weeks in advance of the presentation date so copies can be made and distributed one week prior to the presentation. In an e-mail, provide full APA citations for each of the articles.
  2. Each presentation will be critiqued by a pair of students in the following class session. Each student will be responsible for participating in one critique. The critique has the following deliverables:
    1. Critique brief—a short (3-4 page) paper on the key points being critiqued in the presentation/written materials.
    2. Annotated slides to use in presenting the material to the class.
  3. Each student will find and obtain a copy of a dissertation related to a research area of interest. The student will make a formal presentation of the dissertation’s key points of interest—such as its use of research methods, identification of a research problem, subject selection, or any topic related to the conduct of research. Fifteen minutes will be allocated for this task. A 2-3 page summary along with a full citation of the dissertation will be required as a deliverable.
  4. Each student will be responsible for providing, in writing, the names of conferences, journals, trade publications, and funding sources in their respective fields. This will be due no later than the last scheduled class meeting.
  5. Students will be required to attend two (2) workshops offered by the WMU Graduate College. These are offered at no cost to students. These are specified by name in the syllabus. Each student will submit a 1-2 page assignment focusing on the strengths, weaknesses, and insights gained from the workshop. This assignment will be due at the start of the next scheduled ENGR 7250 class meeting.
  6. If appropriate to the student’s discipline, the student will obtain HSRIB certification through WMU’s CITI training. The completion certificate must be submitted to the instructors to pass ENGR 7250. Access at
  7. Your involvement in class is essential to the success of this course. This means being prepared for each week’s topic and being prepared for your specific responsibilities concerning presentations, critiques, dissertation briefs, and other deliverables.



Suggested Resource:

Surviving Your Dissertation: A Comprehensive Guide to Content and Process by Kjell Erik Rudestam, Rae R. Newton. SAGE Publications; 3rd edition (2007).
ISBN: 978-1412916783

Course Instructors:

Dr. Larry Mallak
Professor and Course Coordinator
Western Michigan University
F-228 Parkview Campus
Kalamazoo, Michigan 49008-5336
Phone: 276-3369

Dr. Johnson Asumadu
Associate Professor
Western Michigan University
B-224 Parkview Campus
Kalamazoo, Michigan 49008-5336
Phone: 276-3147

Revision Date: Summer 2011


Department of Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering
Western Michigan University
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5336 USA
(269) 276-3350 | (269) 276-3353 Fax

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