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Running head: DOCTORAL IDENTITY
Synthesis Worksheet: Doctoral Identity
Your Name Goes Here
Grand Canyon University
Statement of common
Baker and Pifer
The main goal of doctoral education is to equip students with the
knowledge and consequent research skills, preparing them for faculty
careers and future promotion of research and development in their
different disciplines. However, concerns regarding different aspects of
doctoral education have risen over time, with only about 50% of
doctoral students actually completing the degree.
The three articles, Baker & Pifer (2011), Gardner (2009) and Smith &
Hatmaker (2014) all seek to contribute to doctoral education by
delving into the matter of doctoral identity, which refers to an
integration of values, beliefs, experiences and motives which define an
individual professionally (Smith & Hatmaker, 2014; p.547).
Consequently, each article provides a significant perspective on the
achievement of doctoral identity.
Each work, while developing doctoral education and identity in
different facets, present similar thematic features which can be used to
upgrade and encourage the attainment of doctoral identity and overall
completion of the degree.
Evidently, three themes are common among the texts, including
academic success, relationships, and research dissemination, and this
paper delves into these thematic features in an attempt to foster the
understanding of doctoral identity while making connections with the
According to Baker & Pifer (2014), there are 3 stages of a doctoral
student’s experience, which foster success. However, they suggest that
the second stage is the most important of all in academic success, as it
deals with the transition of a doctoral student from “dependence to
independence” (p.5). Consequently, this also encompasses the
completion of coursework, passing of candidacy exams and the
beginning of working on a dissertation proposal.
Essentially, Gardner (2009) discusses the different criteria that can be
used to quantify academic success and their appropriateness, especially
in doctoral students. Arguably, some of the concepts of success used to
explain different outcomes include academic achievement, graduation
or completion, professional socialization, retention (p.384).
Consequently, the author suggests that attitudinal and professional
competencies alongside the aforementioned factors are qualitative
measures that can be used to quantify academic success (p.385).
Smith and Hatmaker