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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 Twenty-Five: Professional Scholarship in an Ed.D. Program: Research and Writing for Real-World Contexts and Community Impact



This chapter presents a model developed by instructional faculty while teaching research courses in a practitioner doctoral program requiring a dissertation. A directive of practitioner doctorates is that candidates extend research into professional realms. Arguments center on the value of research in seeking solutions to problems or implementing improvements in what Schön (1987) described as the “swampy lowland” of real-life settings. Practitioner programs have been criticized for research that works on a problem, but fails to have students work within a situation (Lester, 2004).

The literature is rife with arguments favoring action research or program overhauls for dissertations set in practice (Amrein-Beardsley et al., 2012; Olson & Clark, 2009; Young, 2014; Zambo, 2011). We agree with the calls for actionable research, connection with practice, and community benefit, and that these arguments fuel valuable discussion and thought. For most doctoral faculty, however, dissertations of practice must be measured against the academic traditions in which they work. At a regional university in the south-central United States, graduate students, many of them first-generation college-goers, entered an educational leadership doctoral program with a strong resolve to address social justice concerns in their rural communities. These practitioners responded positively to framing research as problem solving but still sought the research know-how necessary to complete a dissertation (Perry & Imig, 2008).

← 333 | 334 → Drawing on our experience teaching a newly redesigned course in research and proposal writing, we propose a series of activities that frame research learning in such a manner...

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