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ERIC Number: EJ791869
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008
Pages: 30
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 36
ISSN: ISSN-0022-1546
The Transition to Independent Research: Who Makes It, Who Doesn't, and Why
Lovitts, Barbara E.
Journal of Higher Education, v79 n3 p296-325 May-Jun 2008
This article addresses two important questions about the transition to independent research: (1) What facilitates or impedes graduate students' ability to make the transition, where "impede" is defined as leaving the program without completing the dissertation, making slow progress toward the degree, or completing an undistinguished dissertation (i.e., acceptable but not high quality)?; and (2) Given doctoral education's emphasis on creative research and scholarship and the production of a dissertation that makes an original and significant contribution to knowledge, what leads some students to produce distinguished research and scholarship, where distinguished is defined as high quality and original/creative/innovative? The author explores these questions from two perspectives: theoretical and practical. She first briefly outlines the theoretical perspective which is derived primarily from theory and research on creativity. Then, she discusses the practical perspective which is derived from focus group discussions with high-PhD-productive faculty on the "critical transition" and is guided by the theoretical perspective. The author presents the results of the focus group discussions on the transition to independent research. The results are organized by each of the six major theoretical constructs and their subconstructs: (1) intelligence (analytical, practical, creative); (2) knowledge (formal and informal); (3) thinking styles; (4) personality (various traits); (5) motivation (intrinsic and extrinsic); and (6) environment (macro, micro). These constructs are defined in greater detail in the sections in which they are discussed. Focus group participants' comments are presented by disciplinary affiliation. Although disciplinary differences are highlighted, where relevant, in most instances the comments made by faculty across disciplines were very similar. (Contains 1 figure and 1 note.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A