Stage-Based Challenges and Strategies for Support in Doctoral Education: A Practical Guide for Students, Faculty Members, and Program Administrators

Meghan J. Pifer, Vicki L. Baker
International Journal of Doctoral Studies  •  Volume 11  •  2016  •  pp. 015-034
Studies of doctoral education have included an interest not only in processes, structures, and outcomes, but also in students’ experiences. There are often useful recommendations for practice within individual examinations of the doctoral experience, yet there remains a need to strengthen the application of lessons from research to the behaviors of students and others engaged in the doctoral process. This paper is the first to synthesize research about doctoral education with the particular aim of informing practical strategies for multiple stakeholders.
In this article, we summarize findings from a literature review of the scholarship about doctoral education from the past 15 years in a stage-based overview of the challenges of doctoral education. Our aim is to apply theory to practice through the systematic consideration of how research about doctoral education can best inform students and those who support them in the doctoral journey. We first present an overview of the major stages of doctoral education and related challenges identified in the research. We then consider key findings of that research to offer recommendations for doctoral students, faculty members, and administrators within and across stages.
doctoral education, doctoral student experiences, faculty members, administrators, challenges, strategies for success
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