NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
ERIC Number: ED514922
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 112
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1097-1164-6
The Effects of Program Structure on Dissertation Writing in "Online Academia": A Qualitative Analysis of Online Doctoral Student Experiences
Goodwin-Lee, Regina
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, Walden University
Writing the dissertation can be one of the most stressful experiences in the doctoral education experience. Previous research findings indicate that traditional psychology doctoral candidates (PDC) identify the graduate school experience, and the dissertation process in particular as stress-inducing, isolating and key obstacles to graduation. There remains, however, an important gap in the literature that specifically addresses such experiences for the distance learner (DL). Therefore, the purpose of this research was to investigate the effect of perceived stress, isolation, and program structure on PDCs preparing dissertations in the DL environment. Using a phenomenological approach with Bandura's Social and Vicarious learning theories as frameworks the lived experiences of 10 PDCs from Walden University, a DL institution, were recorded from semi-structured interview data. The PDC perceptions about various aspects of the DL dissertation experience, including the efficacy of the current structured dissertation course format, stress and isolation for online learners writing dissertations were revealed. Responses were thematically coded and analyzed with resultant data about the inherent value of having compatible mentoring faculty, local support groups, a designated work plan and area for completing the research described. Findings from this research help clarify students' expectations and perceptions about the dissertation process. This research is an important contribution to the existing literature because it provides data about the dissertation process using the voice and perspectives of people intimately familiar with this experience. It enhances social change initiatives by encouraging and educating doctoral students and others about the importance of being adequately prepared to make informed research decisions, seek adequate support and advocate for improved course guidelines during the dissertation writing process. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A