Doctoral Students’ Perspectives on Their Doctoral Dissertations


The purpose of this article was to examine Kinesiology Doctoral Students’ (DS) perspectives on issues related to their dissertation experiences. Using the Kinesiology Doctoral Student (KDS) survey, 121 current and past DS provided information on nine different aspects related to their dissertations. Specifically, these items consisted of measures of (a) how research was conducted, (b) manuscripts for publication, (c) research setting, (d) how the dissertation topic was selected, (e) how the dissertation topic was related to work being done by their advisor, (f) satisfaction of the process for arriving at the dissertation topic, (g) interest in the topic, and (h) relationship of topic to advisor’s research. This topic was viewed through three lenses: (a) past and current DS, (b) gender, and (c) sub-disciplines (social and behavioral sciences [SBS] research and health/hard sciences [HS] research). The first three items were analyzed descriptively and showed the following: (a) the vast majority of dissertations were conducted individually with some input from faculty and/or committee members, (b) participants were split evenly between manuscripts for publication (non-traditional dissertation) and traditional dissertation, and (c) lab-based and field-based settings were the most frequently selected research settings. SBS participants were statistically superior (p< .02) to HS participants regarding satisfaction with the manner in which DS selected their dissertation topics.

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higher education, graduate study, graduate students, doctoral study, perceptions, dissertation

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