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ERIC Number: ED524858
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 141
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1244-2709-6
An Exploratory Study of Goal Commitment among Graduate Students in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Fields
Hurst, Melissa
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, University of South Carolina
The purpose of this exploratory study was twofold. One was to identify the entry-level goal commitment in STEM graduate students at the beginning of an academic year and identify change in commitment at the end of an academic year. The other was to identify factors and types of experiences and their impact on commitment in this context. Data came from a sample of 59 graduate students in three universities. Each student completed a self-report goal commitment instrument designed to identify levels of goal commitment for academic and professional goals at the beginning and end of an academic year. The researcher also conducted semi-structured interviews at the beginning and end of an academic year to assess each participant's knowledge, skills, abilities, and graduate school experiences. Results indicated that graduate student commitment to academic and professional goals decreased from fall to spring. The data also indicated commitment to professional goals was lower than commitment to academic goals at the both the beginning and end of an academic year. The researcher found significant differences on pre-survey means of academic commitment based on type of experience. The researcher did not find significant differences on post-survey means for type of experience or degree type. Further, results of a regression analysis of the factors expected to be predictive of goal commitment indicated that 20% of the variance in post academic commitment can be attributed to personal and situational factors, whereas only 12% of the variance in post professional commitment can be attributed to these factors. The findings of this study indicate that further investigation is necessary in order to fully understand the goal commitment of STEM graduate students. The results may be useful to graduate schools and institutions with STEM graduate programs in three areas: this study (1) provides an awareness of the academic and professional goals held by STEM graduate students, (2) concludes that goal commitment to academic and professional goals among STEM graduate students decrease over the course of an academic year, and (3) illustrates that experiences, such as teaching and research, are valuable and may be used to predict commitment among STEM graduate students in the future. [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; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A