The Intersection of Andragogy and Dissertation Writing: How Andragogy Can Improve the Process

The Intersection of Andragogy and Dissertation Writing: How Andragogy Can Improve the Process

John D. Long (Lindenwood University, USA)
Copyright: © 2018 |Pages: 28
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-3465-5.ch005


Andragogy is a theory that attempts to explain how adults learn in contrast with pedagogy which attempts to explain how children learn. In many universities, doctoral students struggle to complete the final requirement for graduation, the dissertation. Little research has been conducted on this issue. Two studies were conducted to assess the effectiveness of the ten-year-old doctoral program in education at the author's university. The author believes that using andragogy theory it is possible to modify the doctoral program to allow a higher percentage of students to complete their dissertation and for all students to experience less frustration with the process. Both interviews and statistical analysis were used to better understand what was working, what was not, and to suggest potential modifications to the program. Certain variables such as dissertation advisor, emphasis area, and previous teachers proved to not be significant. A student's reported self-motivation emerged as significant.
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The completion of a doctoral degree has marked a transition for people working in academia for centuries. This degree is typically accompanied by the successful completion of a dissertation. This dissertation is an in-depth study often conducted independently under the supervision of faculty that have already completed their own degree and allows the student to demonstrate mastery (Stubb, Pyhalto, & Lonka, 2011). Completion of the coursework, without the completion of the dissertation itself results in what is often decribed as “All But Dissertation” or ABD status (Blum, 2010). Blum cited three typical problems faced by students who have achieved ABD status, but who have not finished their dissertion. These include: the University not having a structured environment for assisting the student, agression between students, and lack of faculty support.

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