Hearing Their Stories: A Phenomenological Study in Understanding Ed.D. Completion

Date

2024

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Texas Education Review

Abstract

This study illuminates the rich and unique experiences of alumni who successfully completed a Doctor of Education (Ed.D.). During two open-ended interview sessions, eight participants revealed the barriers they encountered and successfully navigated to complete their doctoral programs. Some findings align with previously known barriers from extant literature, such as competing demands and academic integration. Participants’ stories also reveal that negative experiences from their habitus and self-sabotaging thoughts created additional factors to their completion. This study describes how these alumni overcame the barriers by using their social capital, relationships with their faculty and chairs, and self-awareness to persist. This study is important because scholarly research has traditionally focused on undergraduate (rather than graduate) persistence, yet, only half of all doctoral students in the United States complete their programs. We discuss implications for graduate student retention research and practice based on eight successful doctoral students.

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