From Hardships to Possibilities

Dissertation Writing during the COVID-19 Pandemic


  • Juan Manuel Niño
  • Onésimo M. Martínez II


In an attempt to mitigate community spread of COVID-19, many universities canceled face-to-face sessions and shifted to online instruction. For advanced doctoral students, this sudden shift welcomed new hardships as they began to collect data for their qualitative dissertation studies. This change called for students and their supervising professor to revisit IRB (Institutional Research Board) protocols as interviews, focus groups and observations techniques were now impossible. In this chapter, we discuss how social distancing measures created new possible ways for students to gather rich, quality data from communication technology platforms. This new digital approach of engaging participants in meaningful discussions welcomed new possibilities for doctoral students to recruit participants for a more global context. This chapter will offer strengths, challenges, and new ways of knowing for future studies.

How to cite this chapter:

Niño, J. M., & Martínez, O. M. (2022). From hardships to possibilities: Dissertation writing during the COVID-19 pandemic. In  R. Ammigan, R. Y. Chan, & K. Bista, (eds), COVID-19 and higher education in the global context: Exploring contemporary issues and challenges (pp. 80-92). STAR Scholars.


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Author Biographies

Juan Manuel Niño

Juan Manuel Niño, Ph.D. is an associate professor at the University of Texas at San Antonio in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies. He serves as Program Coordinator for PhD in Educational Leadership – K-12 Leadership, and co-coordinator of the Urban School Leaders Collaborative programs. Dr. Niño earned his PhD in School Improvement from Texas State University. His experiences as a scholarpractitioner are closely supported by a philosophy of preparing aspiring school leaders for social justice. Dr. Niño’s research takes a critical perspective on the practice of education and leadership in multiple contexts, addresses issues of access, equity and excellence in education for diverse communities, and the Latin@ experiences that influence identity and advocacy. Email:

Onésimo M. Martínez II

Onésimo M. Martínez II, Ph.D. is a psychology professor at Southwest Texas Junior College. He earned his PhD in Educational Leadership from the University of Texas at San Antonio. Dr. Martinez’s current research interests center on the Latino experiences in post-secondary settings, equity and access, immigrants, and inclusive research. Email:




How to Cite

Niño, J. M., & Martínez II, O. M. . (2021). From Hardships to Possibilities: Dissertation Writing during the COVID-19 Pandemic. STAR Scholar Books, 80–92. Retrieved from