Assessing Doctoral Student Development of Self-Authorship: The Epistemological, Intrapersonal, and Interpersonal Growths
The purpose of this study was to assess to what extent current doctoral students developed self-authored perspectives, as well as to assess whether or not there was an association between the number of years in the doctoral program and the development of three dimensions of self-authorship (i.e., Epistemological, Intrapersonal, and Interpersonal).
Self-authorship is a way of knowing that assists adults in the management of their lives in a way that helps them succeed in society. It is important to study the development of self-authorship in doctoral students because such development is necessary for individuals to overcome the challenges they experience in doctoral programs. The importance of this study rests on the fact that self-authorship development may prompt doctoral students’ ability to succeed in the completion of their doctoral degrees, as well as to meet the challenges of their future in academia.
Forty-five doctoral students in a Teaching and Learning program were surveyed on three constructs: Epistemological, Intrapersonal, and Interpersonal. The Doctoral Students’ Self-Authorship Questionnaire was developed by the author based on Baxter Magolda’s theory of self-authorship development. Three level-two constructs of self-authorship were conceptually and operationally defined.
There is no instrument available (i.e., a questionnaire) to assess the self-authorship perspectives of doctoral students. Although it is expected that people will develop self-authored perspectives as they get older, it is unknown to what extent current doctoral students develop self-authorship. No previous studies have assessed doctoral student self-authorship.
The findings showed that participants had advanced levels in all three dimensions and continued to develop towards self-authorship. However, results showed a nonsignificant association between years in the doctoral program and self-authorship development. In other words, although doctoral students spend many years in certain programs, this spent time does not contribute significantly to their development of self-authorship.
The current study suggested that doctoral programs should investigate their students’ development toward self-authorship and provide them with more opportunities to better improve their self-authorship.
The findings suggest further research into the developmental opportunities available for students within doctoral programs that assist students’ ability to develop self-authored perspectives.
The findings supported the importance of assessing doctoral students’ self-authorship as part of doctoral programs. Without the assessment of doctoral student development of self-authorship in their programs, less effort might be taken to address student needs in developing self-authorship.
Future research may continue the study of self-authorship for doctoral students from different disciplines or schools, especially where attrition rates are high.