Qualitative Meta-Data Analysis: Perceptions and Experiences of Online Doctoral Students
The profiles of online and traditional doctoral students contrast sharply. A traditional doctoral student lives on-campus and pursues the degree in a face to face environment. This meta-data analysis peruses the research findings from primary research studies on online doctoral students. A systematic search of qualitative research articles, that presented the personal perspectives of online doctoral students, was examined to identify common properties in isolated studies. Factors that directly impact the ability of doctoral candidates to be successful in their online doctoral degree program were identified. Positive factors included cohort groups, supportive mentors, and the ability to pursue a doctoral degree. Obstacles faced by doctoral online students included balancing work, family, school, and a sense of isolation. The results of this meta-data analysis will provide higher education with insights into the online doctoral students’ perceptions and experiences.