A Case Study of an Intervention to Support Ed.D. Students in Dissertation Writing

A Case Study of an Intervention to Support Ed.D. Students in Dissertation Writing

Beth Kania-Gosche (Lindenwood University, USA) and Lynda Leavitt (Lindenwood University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-2062-9.ch011
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Dissertation writing is often the most challenging aspect of the doctoral program. In an effort to raise completion rates and lower time-to-degree as well as increase student satisfaction with the program, professors in an Ed.D. program developed a semester-long course to support students writing their dissertations. This case study describes the development of the course and the implementation of the first semester. The course consisted of a series of workshops on various aspects of dissertation writing as well as various other activities such as peer review. The students did not receive a grade for the course. After reviewing data, students in the course were classified by their productivity that semester and engagement in the course. Students who were highly engaged but not highly productive were the most prevalent group. In this article, the authors also provide follow-up, including changes made the next semester and data on student completion.
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Literature Of Best Practices For Dissertation Writing

For most new faculty, their only experience with dissertation supervision was their own as a student. Thus, they may mentor doctoral students as they were mentored, with little knowledge of what is actually effective or how to meet the needs of different doctoral students. “The traditional model of graduate student supervision can no longer work. It is simply inadequate to the demands of a situation where many supervisors are barely socialized into the demands and rigours of an academic scholarly and research culture” (Yeatman, 1995, p. 9). Kluever (1997) compared responses of doctoral graduates and ABD students in the field of education, finding “regularly scheduled meetings with an advisor, seminars on approaching the dissertation, and a thorough understanding of college and university dissertation guidelines were rated most highly” by completers (p. 52). Similarly, De Valero (2001) examined departmental factors and their influence on doctoral student time-to-degree, making recommendations such as orientations and dissertation workshops, but not implementing any such programs. While articles have been published describing the different responsibilities of a dissertation supervisor, such as “Cheerleader, Coach, Counselor, Critic: Support and Challenge Roles of the Dissertation Advisor” (Spilleti & Moisiewicz, 2004), few have examined best practices in the field (Creighton, Parks, & Creighton, 2008; Mullen, 2007; Yeatman, 1995).

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