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A mixed method study on students' experiences in the selection of a dissertation topic

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The current research examines the influence of disciplines, advisors, committees, language, culture, and previous experiences in students' search and selection of dissertation topics, as well as whether and how students react to those influences during this process. Invention has been

The current research examines the influence of disciplines, advisors, committees, language, culture, and previous experiences in students' search and selection of dissertation topics, as well as whether and how students react to those influences during this process. Invention has been an area of research for rhetoricians for centuries, but most modern research focuses exclusively on the pre-writing process in first composition classrooms (Young, 1976). The current research collected survey and interview data from second- and third-year Ph.D. students in natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities at a large research university in the United States. 80 second- and third-year Ph.D. students completed an online survey; 11 students and four of their advisors participated in a semi-structured interview. The results demonstrate that the majority of students spent over three months in the selection of dissertation topics, and the humanities students tended to spend longer time in this process than social sciences or humanities students. Additionally, students have much in common in their perception of the criteria they would use in the selection of dissertation topics, and those criteria are similar to what previous researchers (Isaac, Koenigsknecht, Malaney, & Karras, 1989; Kozma, 1997; Sessions, 1971) have identified. However, when it comes to the actual selection experiences, the interviews show that students do not necessarily apply those criteria rationally. Moreover, disciplines appear to have an overarching effect on students' topic selection. Natural sciences advisors appeared to have more direct involvement in students' topic choice than advisors in social sciences or humanities. The linguistic and cultural backgrounds of the eleven doctoral participants were not found influential in their selection of dissertation topics. Finally, although Ph.D. advisors generally have a good understanding of students' academic progress, their knowledge of the students' personal and professional concerns may differ, and the latter knowledge is crucial in their advising on students' dissertation topic choice. The current study suggests invention in the scholar and researcher level is significantly different from that of first-year composition classrooms. The successful invention of dissertation topics is indispensable of the influence of disciplines, programs as well as the intellectual and practical support students can receive.

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2013

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Developing Applied Projects Collections in an Institutional Repository: Challenges & Benefits

Description

While PhD dissertations are typically accessible many other terminal degree projects remain invisible and inaccessible to a greater audience. Over the past year and a half, librarians at Arizona State University collaborated with faculty and departmental administrators across a variety

While PhD dissertations are typically accessible many other terminal degree projects remain invisible and inaccessible to a greater audience. Over the past year and a half, librarians at Arizona State University collaborated with faculty and departmental administrators across a variety of fields to develop and create institutional repository collections that highlight and authoritatively share this type of student scholarship with schools, researchers, and future employers. This poster will present the benefits, challenges, and considerations required to successfully implement and manage these collections of applied final projects or capstone projects. Specifically, issues/challenges related to metadata consistency, faculty buy-in, and developing an ingest process, as well as benefits related to increased visibility and improved educational and employment opportunities will be discussed. This interactive presentation will also discuss lessons learned from the presenter’s experiences in context of how they can easily apply to benefit their respective institutions.

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2017-05-02

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Developing a Digital Collection of Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) Student Work

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Objectives: While PhD dissertations are typically accessible as part of a university library’s general collection, or as content within a proprietary database, many other terminal degree projects remain invisible and inaccessible to a greater audience. This poster will describe the

Objectives: While PhD dissertations are typically accessible as part of a university library’s general collection, or as content within a proprietary database, many other terminal degree projects remain invisible and inaccessible to a greater audience. This poster will describe the development and creation of a digital repository collection containing doctor of nursing practice (DNP) student’s final projects.

Methods: The “Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) Final Projects Collection” was created over the course of one semester and included initial discussions with program faculty and administrators, the creation of a student consent form, the development of a process for adding student work to the repository collection, and a presentation to graduating students. This poster will describe the process in more detail, discuss benefits and challenges, as well as highlight the considerations to keep in mind when developing and creating a digital collection of student work. Additionally, best practices and lessons learned will also be described to provide valuable information to others considering creating this type of collection at their own institution.

Results: At the end of the first semester of implementation, twenty student projects existed in our public collection. On the whole, both faculty and students were pleased to have a collection highlighting the work being done in their program. Valuable lessons were learned that can be applied in the next semester of implementation. Specifically, metadata consistency was an issue during the initial uploading process. Gaining select faculty and student buy-in by allaying concerns related to some student’s wanting to publish in a peer-reviewed journal on the topic of their final project remains vital.

Conclusion: Creating open access collections of student applied final projects or capstone projects allows for greater visibility of this type of often overlooked student scholarship. Specifically, the final projects showcased can now be found and accessed by potential employers, researchers, other schools, and other DNP students. In many cases these final projects have applied real-world impact related to answering clinical questions or patient care that should be shared with the world.

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2017-05-30