Fischler College of Education: Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award

2017

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department

Abraham S. Fischler College of Education

Advisor

Barbara Christina

Committee Member

Steven R. Terrell

Abstract

The aim of this multiple and independent quantitative and qualitative methods study was to investigate the relevance of Facebook groups for doctoral students during their dissertation process. A convenience sampling approach was used to survey quantitatively the Texas A&M Ed.D. online doctoral students who met the inclusion criteria. The participants completed a valid, web-based survey using the Doctoral Student Connectedness Scale (DSCS, Terrell et al., 2009). Purposeful sampling was used to recruit a sub-sample of participants who subsequently responded to semi-structured interview questions via web conferencing. Quantitative data analysis involved descriptive statistics using SPSS for Mac. Content analysis of the qualitative data was performed using QSR NVivo 11 software. Ethnographic and Thematic analysis used Saldaña’s (2013) two-stage eclectic coding, where emergent themes helped explain the quantitative analysis results. These results revealed that student-to-student regular communications was the only DSCS indicator proven to be statistically/practically significant. While the quantitative results of this study were inconsistent with the results of previous studies, the qualitative data provided additional understanding of the indicators regarding the student-to-student connectedness factor and the CoP by offering their theoretical themes and their emerging themes described as alternate communications. These preferred forms of communication added perspective to low-quality relationships by further explaining that students abandoned the cohort Facebook group due to an institutional procedure designed to divide the cohort into smaller thematic groups. Because the success expressed by the doctoral student cohort group failed to be reproduced in the smaller thematic groups, it is recommended that newly structured thematic constructs incorporate the student input presented in this study.

Available for download on Sunday, March 25, 2018

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