Doctoral Practitioner Researcher Agency and the Practice-Based Research Agenda

Doctoral Practitioner Researcher Agency and the Practice-Based Research Agenda

Karen Sweat (Anderson University, USA), Vahick A. Yedgarian (International American University, USA), Kenneth L. Rigler Jr. (Fort Hays State University, USA), Stephanie Maddox (Bevill State Community College, USA) and Robin Throne (Independent Researcher, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-6664-0.ch009

Abstract

This chapter addresses practitioner researcher agency specific to doctoral education and the post-doctorate research agenda. Perspectives come from both doctoral scholars and doctoral research supervisors of practice-based or practice-led dissertation research for current research insights and examples of dissertation researcher agency specific to U.S. practitioner doctoral programs. Scholar-practitioner agency among the doctoral learning community is defined and discussed as well as the post-doctorate practice-based research agenda.
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Background

In past work, several researchers, including the chapter authors, have defined doctoral student agency within the context of the relationship between the doctoral scholar and dissertation research supervisor as well as research supervisor agency (LaFrance et al., 2020). These works framed doctoral student agency within the current scholarship as a pertinent indicator of doctoral persistence and completion and stressed the importance of the relational dynamic in the student-research supervisor relationship (Klemenčič, 2014, 2015; LaFrance et al., 2020; Rigler et al., 2017; Throne & Oddi, 2019; Throne & Walters, 2019). The chapter authors have also distinguished doctoral student agency as a necessary critical trait to attain professional or academic positions, career promotion, and academic tenure (Kaslow et al., 2018; Throne & Walters, 2019) and stressed the role of the doctoral research supervisor to foster and enhance doctoral student agency (Azizova & Felder, 2017; Throne & Oddi, 2019).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Practice-based research: Practice-based research involves the focus on problems from professional practice and research engaged to gain new knowledge that has implications or operational significance for that practice or discipline. Practice-based research can also refer to empirical research conducted within a practice or workplace setting.

Practitioner Doctorate: A practitioner doctorate is a terminal degree that typically focuses on the application of new knowledge within the discipline or professional practice whereas a research doctorate typically presents new knowledge that contributes to the discipline or theory. In the U.S., practitioner doctorates (EdD, DBA, PsyD) are typically distinct from research or theoretical doctoral degrees (PhD).

Student Agency: A doctoral student’s agency is the belief in one’s ability to take the initiative necessary to assume an active role in one’s own learning setting, content, process, and engagement.

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