General Field (586)

The General Field represents the overarching area associated with your tentative research questions. This page and the related Admin updates will guide you through the process of identifying your General Field of interest and identifying literature associated with your General Field. This seminar will culminate in a literature review that you will then submit for your General Field Qualifying Examination.

Getting Started

You can begin working on the General Field Updates (see below) before you are formally registered. You do not need to wait until the first day of the semester.


  1. Ensure that you have already completed the Pre-EDS requirements
  2. Watch the General Field Onboarding Video (see section below).
  3. Complete Admin Updates 1.0 through 1.2 before attending the live follow-up session (updates are linked in the section below)
  4. Complete the Literature Review Genre Workshop (watch the videos and attend the Q&A and/or Sample Review sessions)

Registration Form and Survey

  1. Complete the Seminar Registration Request Form, which is required before you can register
  2. Register once you receive the confirmation email with the CRN number
  3. Complete the latest iteration of the EDS Survey
General Field Onboarding Video

Watch this video prior to attending a live onboarding session, which will be more of a Q&A session.

In addition to the onboarding videos, we have several additional videos from group advising sessions that address key things to know before you get too far into your general field. See also the Literature Review Guidelines page for additional videos.

Community Updates

Important Notes

  • You should have already completed the Admin Updates with a prefix of 0 before starting the General Field Research Seminar
  • These admin updates are meant to be completed in order
  • You should complete all admin updates PRIOR to writing your Literature Review, but you should be gathering literature throughout the process

Admin Updates with a prefix of 1

Follow the prompts in each admin update with a prefix of 1. Not all updates have action items, but please read all admin updates as they include important instructional and procedural content, including a lot of additional resources. As this is a highly self-directed, yet scaffolded process, it is important and useful to explore a variety of resources.

Admin UpdatesCommunity Action Item(s)
(specific instructions are found within each admin update)
1.0 General Field Research Seminar
1.1 Choosing your General Field of Interest1.1A. Find and describe dissertations associated with your general field
1.1B Find and describe articles associated with your general field
1.1C Share your tentative research question and general field topic and seek approval
1.2 General vs. Special Field Topics
1.3 Planning your Investigation of the Literature
1.4 Your Personal Annotated BibliographyEstablish a process for capturing your annotated bibliography
If you haven’t yet begun using a bibliographical database, consider starting now.
1.5 The Genre of Review1.5 Find and describe review articles associated with your general field
1.6 Part 1 Academic Writing is Evidence-Based Writing1.6A Find sentences from articles and your peers that demonstrate the literature review genre
1.6 Part 2 Scholarly Writing Sample1.6B Submit a small sample of your most recent literature review that demonstrates the literature review genre, including a self-assessment (this should be done before you begin writing your own general field literature review so that you can learn from the feedback on an existing work)
1.7 Part 1: The General Field Literature Review – Overall DescriptionFind and share a standout literature review written by your peers, and share why you feel it is exemplary
1.7 Part 2: The General Field Literature Review – Content and Specific Instructions1.7A General Field Outline: Submit an outline of your literature review that represents the themes that have emerged from your review of the literature.
1.7 Part 3: General Field Literature Review – Sample and Project 1.7B Sample Literature Review: Submit a small sample of your in-progress literature review, including a self-assessment
1.8 The Streamlined Literature Review
Manuscript Milestones

Write a Literature Review, as outlined in the admin updates referred to above. But before you begin writing your full literature review, please complete the admin updates and also submit your writing samples at the appropriate time so that you can receive timely feedback before drafting your entire literature review.

  • Your General Field Literature Review should be a deep examination of your general field of interest.
  • It should demonstrate that you have a wide understanding of the general field. It should address the theories, debates, challenges, findings, etc. as reported by the literature. Think of it as contributing to the content you’d need to design a university level “101” course on your selected field
  • It should not be a summary of what you know, think, or conclude. It should not be about proving a point, solving a problem, or answering a research question. It is not your dissertation topic
  • 6,000 to 8,000 words with at least 30 scholarly sources

Be sure to follow the Literature Review Guidance and tips outlined in our General Field presentation, including organizing your work according to the Graduate College dissertation format. And don’t forget about all of our other Dissertation Resources.


  • Refer to the Work Submission and Review Process webpage for specific submission and review details and instructions
  • You earn a grade for the seminar once your work has been approved for peer review.
  • Earning a grade for the seminar is not the same as passing your examination. See below for examination details.

The work that will be assessed by your committee members for the examination will be the final peer reviewed work of that seminar, after you have completed necessary revisions based on peer review and then advisor feedback.

Once you have completed the final deliverables of a particular course, complete the College of Education’s Qualifying Exam Information form indicating your desired exam(s).