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The Education Doctorate (Ed.D.)

Issues of Access, Diversity, Social Justice, and Community Leadership


Edited By Virginia Stead

This first-of-its-kind text explores the Ed.D. program as a crucible for equitable higher education and community leadership. It was inspired in part by the Carnegie Project on the Educational Doctorate (CPED) and, more broadly, by widespread international interest in the power of the Ed.D. as a force for positive social change. The book’s range of cultural contexts and educational perspectives promises new insights and solutions for policy analysts, policy makers, executive administrators, faculty researchers, philanthropists, and policy beneficiaries.
In contrast to the traditional Ph.D., the Ed.D. typically attracts educational practitioners within school boards, government agencies, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), as well as standalone or internationally linked community associations. The greatest attraction of the Ed.D. is an assessment strategy that encourages graduate students to incorporate their own cultural and professional contexts into a capstone project instead of producing a classic dissertation.
This book features inclusive language, highlights everyday expressions from minoritized cultures, and clarifies new concepts to accommodate new scholars and English Language Learners. Readers will discover representative research on Ed.D. policy and practice from the United States, Canada, and a sprinkling of other countries. Renowned and emergent researchers represent multiple roles within the Ed.D. education process. Individual chapters contrast historical and contemporary issues, and raise awareness about many complexities and strategies that make the Ed.D. an ideal engine of professional empowerment and social justice leadership.
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Chapter Eight: Ed.D. Program Dissertation Research: Increasing the Odds of Completion

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Thank you to Cheryl Keen, my colleague and editor of this chapter. This chapter would not have been possible without the collaboration of the following members of the Doctoral Program Advisory Committee at Frostburg State University ( William Aumiller, Vicki Mazer, Doris Santamaria-Makang, Beth Scarloss, Lisa Simpson, John Stodhoff, Glenn Thompson, and Gary Wakefield.

In 2012, 10,000 education doctoral degrees (both Ed.D. and Ph.D.) were conferred in the United States (National Center for Education Statistics, 2013). Of all Ph.D. programs, the educational doctorate takes the longest to complete: in 2012, the median elapsed time from starting graduate courses to completing an education Ph.D. was 12 years (National Science Foundation, 2014). After 10 years, 43% of all Ph.D. students who started programs have not finished and likely never will (Council of Graduate Schools, 2008). The Ed.D. is considered a professional doctorate, similar to a J.D. or M.D., though it is not tabulated through the U.S. National Survey of Earned Doctorates. Ed.D completion rates, which range from 50% to 60%, are similar to Ph.D. rates (Bair & Haworth, 1999).

Completing the dissertation is the stumbling block for most doctoral students. The writing of the dissertation is an isolating experience that results in students feeling defeated (Ali & Kohun, 2007; Lovitts, 2001). How can Ed.D. programs ← 95 | 96 → improve the dissertation research process and increase the odds of students completing their degree programs?

In this chapter, a “dissertation across the curriculum” or DATC approach is presented....

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