The purpose of this study was to collect and examine the reported supervisory practices experienced by professional doctoral candidates in the last year of their program, and recent program graduates, within the last three years, from across multiple disciplines. Doctoral supervisors, specifically in the United States, are not usually provided a set of practices or concrete training prior to advising doctoral candidates (Walker, 2008, p. 35). With this in mind, and the limited amount of research available on doctoral supervision in professional doctoral programs in the United States, it was critical to analyze the experienced supervision of professional doctoral candidates and its perceived effectiveness. Current candidates and recent graduates were asked to participate in interviews based on the supervision they received. Ultimately, 3 current candidates and 15 recent graduates were interviewed for this study. The interviews were transcribed verbatim and then analyzed using grounded theory (Corbin & Strauss, 1990). The interviews were carefully analyzed for emerging trends that went on to represent individual supervisory practices, or concepts. After several additional readings the concepts were grouped together based on similarity into categories. Finally, the concepts and categories were analyzed for connections to candidate success, which developed into the findings of this study. Ultimately, candidates and recent graduates discussed 19 supervisory practices. The 19 supervisory practices, or concepts, were: frequency of communication, quality of communication, mode of communication, accessibility, feedback, the use of articles and research, the use of a timeline for candidates, utilization of the supervisor's existing expertise, workshop offerings, use of the supervisor's network, building a personal connection, showing enthusiasm, candor, trust, encouragement, autonomy, guidance, providing advice academically, and developing a colleague-to-colleague relationship. Each of the 19 concepts was discussed as having varying levels of impact on candidates successfully completing their programs. Doctoral supervisors, and doctoral programs, should consider the implementation of these supervisory practices and the training that helps supervisors develop their supervisory experiences.
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Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)
College of Education and Human Performance
Teaching, Learning, and Leadership
Educational Leadership; Executive
Length of Campus-only Access
Doctoral Dissertation (Campus-only Access)
Tapoler, Colton, "Doctoral Supervision: An Analysis of Doctoral Candidates' and Graduates' Perception of Supervisory Practices" (2017). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 5494.