Research on writing proficiency from elementary students through undergraduates is prevalent; however, few focused on students in graduate school. Few teacher education programs require specific coursework in writing for teacher certification. Yet, teacher educators express concern about teacher candidates' writing proficiencies. Writing may not be explicitly taught, such as in graduate school or doctoral coursework, because professors assume students already have these skills. Writing is something writers are always learning to do, yet scholarly writing is not included as a learning objective throughout the doctoral coursework at Sibley University, at the time of this study. Sibley University is the pseudonym used for the university referenced throughout the dissertation. The purpose of the exploratory research was to gain a deeper understanding of measurable and perceived changes throughout the dissertation writing process, and possibly uncover information that faculty could use to improve the doctoral students' writings. Data from the study will provide Sibley University's EdD program's structure comparative completion data for benchmarking purposes.
The study consisted of participants from Sibley University's May 2011 EdD graduates, five EdD students who defended their dissertation between May of 2011 and December of 2011, and four students who defended in spring of 2012, a convenient sample. Seventeen participants agreed to a 19-question, taped interview; one of the 17 failed to submit drafts of writings. An additional four participants submitted the required writings but, due to time constraints, were not interviewed. Seventeen participants were interviewed and 20 submitted writings for data analysis, with a gender breakdown of 85% female, and 15% male.
An ANOVA for the difference in the means was run on average characters per word, average words per paragraph, average sentences per paragraph, and percentage of passive sentences for each draft of the dissertation from the identified four data points. The steps used in analyzing the qualitative data gathered from the participants' retrospective interview transcripts included: highlighted chunks of significant information on each transcript, highlighted segment a two to three word description (code), and sorted all segments by meaning. The ANOVA analysis does not support a significant difference in average of variables analyzed when comparing documents, at the 95% confidence level. Yet, doctoral students perceived their writing had improved throughout the dissertation process.
|Commitee:||Weitzel, Jann, Wisdom, Sherrie L.|
|School Location:||United States -- Missouri|
|Source:||DAI-A 74/08(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Language arts, Educational evaluation, Higher education|
|Keywords:||Doctoral coursework, Ed.D., Scholarly writing, Writing proficiency|
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