The increasing length of time that students take to attain the doctorate (TTD) is of concern in higher education. Separate focus groups with students and eight faculty members were used to investigate factors perceived to influence TTD in Education. The percentage of participants citing a theme (theme frequency) and the percentage of statements referring to a particular theme (theme intensity) were used to describe the strength of the associations found. Analysis of students and faculty responses suggests that structure, defined as the nature and arrangement of program tasks and resources, is strongly associated with TTD whereas communication, the way program expectations and requirements are communicated, has a moderate association. Students’ responses indicate that the nature of the dissertation committee formed (committee) and the desire to work and attain goals despite obstacles encountered (motivation) are each strongly associated with TTD whereas faculty responses indicate these associations are moderate and minimal, respectively. Faculty responses indicate that the amount and quality of academic preparation received (preparation), and the nature of academic guidance, mentoring and supervision received (advising) have at least a moderate association with TTD whereas students’ responses suggest the association is at most moderate. Whereas faculty comments suggest that whether a student enrolls part-time or full-time (enrollment) is moderately associated with TTD, enrollment did not emerge as a factor among students. Recommendations for practice and further research are provided.
Quality & Quantity – Springer Journals
Published: Dec 8, 2010
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