Books by Dave Harris

These are books written by me, Dave Harris. The two most recent are books directly based on my practice as a dissertation coach, while the earliest book is my one scholarly title.

Literature Review and Research Design: A Guide to Effective Research Practice

Book cover of Literature Review and Research Design, by Dave Harris, published by Routledge.

Literature Review and Research Design: A Guide to Effective Research Practice (2019) was written primarily for dissertation writers. It focuses on using academic literature in the process of research design. For many students, the literature becomes an overwhelming barrier to designing their own dissertation project. By rethinking the practice of research, and the place of literature review in that practice, dissertation writers can learn to use scholarly literature as a support for the design of a research project suitable for their dissertation.

Getting the Best of Your Dissertation: Practical Perspectives for Effective Research

Book cover of Getting the Best of Your Dissertation, by Dave Harris, published by Thought Clearing.

My dissertation-writing book combines my practical experience working with dissertation writers with the philosophical perspectives that guide me. Getting the Best of Your Dissertation (2015) discusses a holistic view of the dissertation process, covering many different aspects of the process, including the relationship between the dissertation and the rest of your life; practical research philosophy; writing skill development; and dealing with professors. It looks toward the positive experience of writing a dissertation (in contrast to the numerous “dissertation survival” books, or books that argue that dissertation writing will always be painfully dull), and argues that, though difficult, the kind of work done by a dissertation writer can be a labor of love.  There is, after all, a reason that the ancient Greeks named the study of the world “love of wisdom” or “philosophy” (philo– for love and sophos– for wisdom).

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The Universe of Design: Horst Rittel’s Theories of Design and Planning (Jean-Pierre Protzen and David J. Harris)

Book cover of The Universe of Design, by Dave Harris, published by Routledge.

Horst Rittel was one of the directors of the Hochschule für Gestaltung, in Ulm, Germany, before moving to the University of California, Berkeley, where he developed the program in Design Theories and Methods in the College of Environmental Design.

Rittel is best known in English-speaking discourse for his idea of “wicked problems,” which he first described in the early 1970s. His work is well known in his native Germany, where he was on the faculty at University of Stuttgart.

Jean-Pierre Protzen was Rittel’s colleague at Berkeley, and after Rittel’s death took over the program in Design Theories and Methods. Professor Protzen was my dissertation advisor.

The Universe of Design (2010) combines unpublished work by Rittel with commentary and analysis on Rittel’s life, works, and theories from one of his closest colleagues.