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Achieving a Terminal Education Degree: An Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis of Doctoral Student Graduates’ and Faculty Mentors’ Perceptions

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This qualitative research study aimed to identify factors, as perceived by Administration and Leadership Studies doctoral student graduates and faculty mentors, that were helpful in securing terminal degree success. Strategies employed and obstacles overcome are detailed from both groups’ perspectives. The researchers conducted the study at a public university in the mid-Atlantic region. The purpose was to explain the experiences of doctoral student graduates and their faculty mentors to explore what traits and strategies were employed to complete and defend a dissertation. Some of the results revealed the importance of establishing clear communication, persistently engaging in the process, and enjoying the research journey. Approximately 50% of those who attempt a doctoral program are successful and the other 50% are “all-but-dissertation” (ABD) (Ames et al., 2018; Hawley, 2010; Jimenez y West et al., 2011; Landi, 2017; Scott & Johnson, 2021). By identifying and proactively avoiding common pitfalls, the didactic doctoral student has an increased probability of achieving terminal degree success. Key Words: Doctoral Education, Dissertation, All-But-Dissertation, Graduation, Mentoring

Keywords: reading instructors

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 15, 2023

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