Elwood S. Buffa Doctoral Dissertation Award

This competition identifies and recognizes outstanding doctoral dissertation research, completed in the calendar year 2019, in the development of theory for the decision sciences, the development of methodology for the decision sciences, and/or the application of theory or methodology in the decision sciences.


To be eligible for consideration, a submission must meet the following criteria:

  1. The doctoral dissertation has to have been accepted by the degree-granting institution within the 2019 calendar year (i.e., between January 1, 2019, and December 31, 2019). That is, the student must have met the requirements of graduation with a PhD or DBA in the time period specified.
  2. Finalists must register for and attend the 2020 Annual Conference of the Decision Sciences Institute in order to be eligible to win. This is because the winner will be announced after live presentations by the finalists competing for the Elwood S. Buffa Doctoral Dissertation Award.

Submission Requirements:

Applications will not be considered complete until (a) a nominating letter from the advisor, (b) an executive summary, and (c) the dissertation combined into a single PDF and submitted as an Award Competition Entry to the Elwood S. Buffa Doctoral Dissertation Award at https://dsi-annualconference2020.exordo.com.  Details of submission requirements are provided below:

  1. Nominating Letter from the Advisor

A nominating letter is required from the dissertation advisor. This nominating letter:

  • Introduces the doctoral student, the dissertation advisor supervising the dissertation, and the degree-granting institution;
  • Argues for the worthiness of the doctoral dissertation; and
  • Provides contact information for both the doctoral student and the dissertation advisor.

Please name the Nominating Letter attachment as (the student’s) LAST NAME_FIRST NAME-Nominating Letter.

  1. Executive Summary of the Doctoral Dissertation Submission


An executive summary is required with the following suggested sections:

  • Describes and justifies the importance of the theoretical / pragmatic problem that the doctoral dissertation addresses,
  • Delineates the research questions that stem from the theoretical / pragmatic problem,
  • Explains the methods being used in sufficient detail for referees with no a priori exposure to the doctoral dissertation to evaluate methodological rigor,
  • Discusses the major findings in terms of its contributions to science and / or to practice, and
  • Highlights future research opportunities stemming from this doctoral dissertation, and the limitations of the work. In preparing the Executive Summary, please feel free to refer the reader to specific tables, figures, sections, etc., of the actual doctoral dissertation by including the following pointer: [Please see _____, page ___ of the doctoral dissertation].


The Executive Summary must adhere to the following formatting guidelines:

  • Does not exceed a maximum of 10 double-spaced, 8.5×11, pages with 1-inch margins.
  • Includes a header with two pieces of information: (i) the most relevant discipline within which the doctoral dissertation falls and (ii) the dominant method(s) used in the conduct of the doctoral dissertation research.
  • Have a readable font size (10 to 12).
  1. Dissertation

Submission Procedure:

The Nominating Letter, the Executive Summary, and the dissertation should be combined into a single PDF and submitted to the Elwood S. Buffa Award Competition in the 2020 DSI Annual Conference Submission Website…



All submissions must be received by July 15th, 2020, to be eligible for the competition.

The finalists will be announced during September 2020. As previously noted, the winners will be determined immediately after the presentations in New Orleans during the 2020 DSI Annual Meeting (November 21-23, 2020) and must be present at the Awards presentation to receive the award.


Questions about the Elwood S. Buffa Doctoral Dissertation Award for the 2020 Annual Conference of the Decision Sciences Institute can be directed to the Coordinator:

Alan Mackelprang
Georgia Southern University