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Doctoral Student Satisfaction: An Examination of Disciplinary, Enrollment, and Institutional Differences

Benita J. Barnes and Jennifer Randall
Research in Higher Education
Vol. 53, No. 1 (FEBRUARY 2012), pp. 47-75
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/41348997
Page Count: 29
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Doctoral Student Satisfaction: An Examination of Disciplinary, Enrollment, and Institutional Differences
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Abstract

Previous research suggests that it is the department, not the graduate school that bears the greatest responsibility for doctoral students' progress and success (Ehrenberg et al., Doctoral education and the faculty of the future (pp. 15-34). Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2009) dictating the need to examine and understand how doctoral students experience their education at the department level. In the present study, we analyzed the NAGPS' 2000 National Doctoral Program Survey (NDPS) data in an effort to understand the differences in the satisfaction levels of doctoral students (current, recent graduates, and former) across various academic disciplines (e.g. social sciences, humanities, engineering) and different institutional types (e.g. research extensive and research intensive). Employing both traditional (ANOVA) and item-level (Rasch Rating Scale Model) analyses we found that although overall satisfaction with doctoral experiences appears to be equivalent/similar across multiple disciplines, student satisfaction within disciplines varied significantly and consistently with respect to specific academic experiences.

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