Defining Doctorateness: A Concept Analysis

Shahram Yazdani, Foroozan Shokooh
International Journal of Doctoral Studies  •  Volume 13  •  2018  •  pp. 031-048
Aim/Purpose: This study analyses the concept of doctorateness and its defining characteristics and gives a definition for it by examining the various ways it is used in doctoral education literature.

Background: The term ‘doctorateness’ is an immature unclarified concept referred to as a common quality for all doctoral awards. With the emergence of different types of doctoral studies worldwide, a clear definition for this concept is a requirement. Defining doctorateness can result in major implications for research and the practice of doctoral education, as determining attributes of doctorateness will pose serious expectations regarding standard setting for the process and outcome of doctoral programs and requirements of doctoral students.

Methodology: In this study, Walker and Avant’s eight step method of concept analysis is used. The method is a systematic approach frequently used to analyze relatively new concepts.

Contribution: The current study moves beyond the earlier studies by isolating defining attributes of the concept and giving a clear conceptual definition for doctorateness.

Findings: Five defining attribute of doctorateness refined from literature include independent scholar, developmental and transformative apprenticeship process, original conceptual contribution/scholarship, highest academic degree, and stewardship of the discipline. Based on the defining attributes a definition is formulated for the concept of doctorateness. In addition to giving a definition a conceptual model consisting of five conceptual areas of purpose, process, product, prerequisite, and impact according to the usage of concept in the literature is also presented.

Recommendations for Practitioners: By using the conceptual model and defining attributes presented in this study practitioners and professionals in doctoral education can study the effective design for doctoral programs and utilize the definition as a basis for evidencing doctoral awards.

Future Research: Defining attributes can also contribute to psychometric researches related to tool development and constructing tools with explicit criteria for doctorate judgment.
doctorateness, definition, concept, doctorate, doctoral education, model
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