Faculty Support and Guidance for Doctoral Candidates: Promotion of Critical Thinking

Faculty Support and Guidance for Doctoral Candidates: Promotion of Critical Thinking

Sherrie L. Wisdom (Lindenwood University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-8411-9.ch016
OnDemand PDF Download:
$30.00
List Price: $37.50

Abstract

This chapter describes practices of doctoral faculty in their efforts to support and encourage doctoral candidates for the EdD in conducting reliable and valid research for the writing of the dissertation. The setting of the degree program is in the School of Education in a private, four-year, liberal arts university in the Midwest United States. In guiding the doctoral candidates in their research endeavors, the faculty are promoting critical thinking applied to research design. Critical thinking is a process that represents a collection of skills difficult to teach in a doctoral program, as students who enroll bring a wide range of skills. The chapter includes a description of the doctoral program, some of the challenges faced by the doctoral faculty, and some of the strategies applied to promotion of strong research design among student work.
Chapter Preview
Top

Introduction

Critical thinking is a process which requires a skill set useful in decision-making, similar to the research process. Researchers begin with a problem, gather information, analyze and synthesize, and draw conclusions. Educators responsible for development of critical thinking within their students must consider application, analysis, and evaluation, as well as identification of appropriate sources of information for problem solving, contribution of life experiences, and forms of communication, as they guide students in strengthening their skills. Everyday life requires an intake of information through communication and observation. Everyday decisions make demands on the individual to apply and analyze. This on-going project explores deliberate choices within an Educational Doctorate program to promote development and strengthening of necessary skills for critical thinking in its students.

Scriven and Paul (2013) defined critical thinking as a process an individual engages in by “actively and skillfully conceptualizing, applying, analyzing, synthesizing, and/or evaluating information gathered from, or generated by, observation, experience, reflection, reasoning, or communication, as a guide to belief and action” (p. 1). This process requires many skills of the individual. Everyday life requires an intake of information through communication and observation. Everyday decisions make demands on the individual to apply and analyze. The project described in this chapter is an application of the critical thinking process and evolved through the gathering of information used to assess progress of the students and the program itself. Synthesis and evaluation of the data gathered contributed to decision-making regarding guidance given to the students on their own research within the doctoral program. This chapter describes the approach taken by department faculty to promote critical thinking in doctoral students in the School of Education with regard to their doctoral research.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Sociologically Oriented Model: Offers three stages for movement through the doctoral program, to include the transition into graduate work, increased competence leading to candidacy for the degree, and the active research stage.

Psychological Model: Describes the personality development of the graduate student, specifically the interaction been intellect and personal development throughout the graduate study process.

Process Model: Describes the process of mastering the more scholarly to speak, read, and write.

Integrated Model: Acknowledges that graduate study is a socialization process. The most important change agent in the doctoral process is the faculty.

Professional Learning Community: Regular meetings, with pre-determined tasks to complete, between professionals with a common educational goal.

Conversations on Research Design: Face-to-face meetings between professors and a doctoral student, with or without the presence of the dissertation chair, at which discussion is focused upon the student’s research interest and study design. Conversation can serve to clarify viewpoints about study design or to brainstorm creative and solid approaches to research design.

Complete Chapter List

Search this Book:
Reset