Prudence to Inform Theory and Practice: Bridging the Scholar and Practitioner Gap
By LauraAnn Migliore, Ph.D.
In this blog series on the topic of prudence, we are focusing on how doctoral students can think wise to lead and write well. This third blog article applies prudence to relationship building through networking and collaborating to inform theory and practice. Here is where literature review of scholarly and professional trade sources informs best practices, and where personal communications with leaders can advance the field of practice through implementation (American Psychological Association, 2019).
There is a wise biblical saying that “every purpose is established by counsel; by wise counsel wage war” (Proverbs 20:18). Wage war is analogous to the personal battle in the doctoral journey to write a dissertation of scientific merit with ethical application and quality outcomes. Wise counsel is analogous to key individuals like the Dissertation Chair, Committee Members, faculty, and professionals, including leaders in the field of practice and also ministers of spirituality. The intersection of self-leadership, individual performance, and learning style connects prudence in good judgment (virtue) and common sense for bridging the scholar and practitioner gap (Larrivee & Gini, 2014; Hibbs, 1999).
The battle begins with leading self. Your relationship with yourself is important. How well you lead self will also be evident in prudent decisions made and performance outcomes. Exemplary dissertations have a purposeful and thorough literature review to inform the study’s design, analysis, and interpretation. It’s not enough to just read scholarly literature. You need to have conversation with others in the field of practice and those active in research to collaborate and gain new insights and deeper levels of understanding. Theory is good to know. Practice is how it’s done in the field. However, the prudent doctoral student will bridge theory and practice to meld a more meaningful scholarly and practitioner perspective.
Here are some prudent actions you can take to inform theory and practice and bridge the scholar and practitioner gap:
First, get your war gear on, that is a prudent mindset to count the cost of time, energy, and resources – do you have enough to finish the doctoral journey? Be realistic, budget your time, and assess your energy level and your personal will to get it done. Attitude matters!
Identify your resources (time and money) and those who you can count on for support throughout the doctoral journey. Connect your ability of time, energy, and resources to your vision for the dissertation – its purpose, significance, and articulate how your research inquiry can inform the field of practice. Write a concise elevator speech and practice communicating your message.
Second, develop further your message by conducting a thorough literature review. Think of the literature review as a holistic summary of related journal articles organized and integrated into a logical justification for your proposed study. Comprehensive literature reviews contain information about specific subjects from many non-biased sources. Grey literature from traditional sources like institutions, organizations, and governmental agencies, can also provide useful information and insight to increase understanding on your topic of interest and research focus. However, keep in mind that grey sources of literature found on the Internet are not always reliable. You must carefully evaluate sources before relying on them to support your academic work.
A great weapon of war for the doctoral student arsenal is the CRAPP model – an acronym for Currency, Relevance, Authority, Accuracy, and Purpose – to evaluate sources. Here is what CRAPP stands for:
Currency is about the timing of the information – did it recently happen, or did it happen over a decade or more ago?
Relevance is about how well it relates to the topic of study, situation, location, audience, etc.
Authority is about who is the source of the information – does the person or organization have authority in the subject matter and are they reputable?
Accuracy is about truth and facts of the information.
Purpose is why the information exists. For example, selling or promoting a political agenda, etc. is most likely information of personal bias. While it can be useful to understand the biased perspective, it is not always prudent to justify as your rationale for the study.
Learn more about the CRAPP Model at: https://library.phoenix.edu/evaluating_sources
Your literature review must have purpose to support the problem statement, research methodology and design, and the theoretical/conceptual framework in which the study will be viewed. Start by identifying what has been written on the topic of study. Then read and reflect to synthesize the information and gain new understanding. Map out the relationships between the ideas and the variables. Scope out the context in which the topic/problem will be written. From there, start having meaningful conversations with your Dissertation Chair, work colleagues, and leaders in the field of practice.
Listen to understand the different perspectives, identify bias views, ask questions, and investigate further any terms and concepts unfamiliar to you. Collaborate on ideas that could transform processes, systems, and the way people work or do certain things. Wage your war against the problem you are researching with wise counsel and prudent decision-making to produce a literature review that informs theory and practice, bridging the scholar-practitioner gap.
While you must include peer reviewed and relevant databases like the Elton B. Stephenson Company (EBSCO), ProQuest, ProQuest Digital Theses and Dissertations, and ERIC.gov as well as Google Scholar, for example, be sure you demonstrate effective use of quality key word search terms. Also, be sure to apply prudent examination of input from the practitioners themselves to level theory and practice with contemporary foresight. All the best to your literature review success!
Stay tune for next blog article: “Prudence to communicate effectively and inspire action”
American Psychological Association (2019). How do you cite email communicaitons from others? Retrieved from https://www.apastyle.org/learn/faqs/cite-individual-email
Hibbs, T. (1999). Aquinas, virtue, and recent epistemology. Rev. Metaphys. 52, 573–594.
Larrivee, D., and Gini, A. (2014, September 18). Is the philosophical construct of “habitus operativus bonus” compatible with the modern neuroscience concept of human flourishing through neuroplasticity? A consideration of prudence as a multidimensional regulator of virtue. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience. Opinion Article.