Development and Preliminary Evaluation of a Doctoral Dissertation Support Center

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Although there is broad agreement that doctoral students need to be competent as researchers and writers, research has shown that they are often ill-prepared in these areas at the time of starting their dissertations. However, research also shows that resources to support these students in the development of research and writing skills are often lacking. The National Center for Academic & Dissertation Excellence (NCADE) at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology was designed to improve doctoral students’ skills in these areas. In this article, the authors describe the need for writing and methodology support in both doctoral programs in general and at our institution in particular, the development of NCADE, and an initial evaluation of NCADE using survey data. Results showed that NCADE is perceived favorably by both students and dissertation chairs, the latter also attributing time savings to NCADE support. There were also several suggested improvements. Future directions and implications are discussed.

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