I. THE DISSERTATION PROCESS Never overlook the fact that the writing process is one of socialization into the discipline. Formally the student is told that the purpose of the paper, thesis, or dissertation is to demonstrate the ability to analyze challenging subjects in the discipline and, in the case of dissertations, to advance the discipline itself. However, the writing process is more. It is also a ritual in the sense that its various incarnations-paper, thesis, dissertation-are stages of passage into acceptance and respect as a full-fledged colleague among fellow researchers in the discipline. One enters the dissertation process as a student and emerges as a younger colleague.