A Mixed Methods Exploration of Completion Expectations of Online Doctoral Students

University of Phoenix
Dr. Kristina McGaha
Dr. Diana Hart
Dr. Wendy Aoki
Presentation Date: 
Monday, June 10, 2019
Event or Conference: 
Knowledge Without Boundaries (KWB) 2019 Conference
Presentation Type: 
Paper Presentation
Boyer's Domain: 
Presentation Location: 
United States
For students in the early to mid-stages of their non-academic careers, obtaining a doctoral degree is typically to enhance, improve, or transition along a career path. Increased demands on working students and increased accessibility to non-traditional degree programs has resulted in many of these students opting to pursue a doctoral degree online. Innovations in online learning have helped to increase the success/completion rate of online doctoral students. However, accessibility and innovation do not guarantee a student’s opportunity to realize their career or completion goals when earning a terminal degree. This proposed exploratory sequential mixed methods study will identify the career expectations of online doctoral students and how these expectations were realized (or not) as reported by online doctoral alumni. Qualitative interviews will be analyzed and survey data will be collected to confirm the scope of presence the narratives in the greater cohort. Insights gained from this proposed study may help universities evaluate the efficacy of the career programs as offered to online doctoral students. The findings may have implications beyond academia as well – a better understanding of students with non-academic career intentions may serve as a benchmark for organizational strategists and talent managers. Keywords: Doctoral students, online, career, mixed methods, post-doctoral