GMU Pioneers Digital Dissertation Guidelines

The criteria for a traditional text based dissertation are well established. The standards for a digital dissertation or a dissertation with a string digital media component, are much less well considered. How to scholars ensure that the traditional demands for depth, originality, and rigor are maintained?



The Graduate Committee, with primary input from Sharon Leon at the Roy Rosenzweig center for History and New Media, has devised a set of guidelines which can be seen at this link.  The guidelines are drawing praise from the historical profession. A recent article in the American Historical Association's Perspectives praises the effort 

With historians increasingly deploying digital methodologies and media, an adherence to what the guidelines call the “core elements of historical scholarship” will ensure that scholars are able to explore new forms of expression to make contributions to knowledge in their field. As with the recently released AHA guidelines on the hiring and promotion of digital historians, this document emphasizes the importance of creating work that contributes to understanding the past rather than solely adhering to traditional forms of scholarly publication.

The article continues:

Creating institutional frameworks that encourage new approaches to scholarship means acknowledging and understanding the work that goes into digital methodologies. The GMU digital dissertation guidelines provide a framework for experimentation that retains history at its heart.