Organic Collaborative Teams: The Role of Collaboration and Peer to Peer Support for Part-Time Doctoral Completion

Cathy M. Littlefield, Laura M. Taddei, Meghan E. Radosh
International Journal of Doctoral Studies  •  Volume 10  •  2015  •  pp. 129-142
With doctoral completion rates hovering around 50%, students, faculty and institutions are seeking methods for improvement. This narrative inquiry examined the impact of collaboration and peer to peer experiences on doctoral completion of three peers in a part-time doctoral program. Prior to this inquiry, minimal research existed on the impact of peer to peer support and collaboration on doctoral completion; therefore, the three peer authors defined, described, and recommended ways to encourage organic collaboration. The authors’ defined organic collaboration as a naturally-formed dynamic peer to peer support group, built on individual strengths and differences, while focused on a common goal. Themes found during the narrative inquiry included the identification of a common goal, amicable group dynamics, peer to peer support, and intentional relational learning. The peer authors provided practical knowledge on ways students, faculty and higher education institutions can benefit from encouraging and supporting organic collaboration. This narrative inquiry demonstrated the long-term benefits of peer to peer support and collaboration that led to scholarly, professional, and personal support.
Peer to peer support, part-time doctoral completion, organic collaboration, intentional relational learning, narrative inquiry, group dynamics
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