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All students pursuing the Ph.D. degree are required to complete a research apprenticeship (ELP 396). Doctor of Education students, with extensive practical experience, may substitute the research apprenticeship for the internship, subject to the advisor's concurrence. This experience is designed to provide an opportunity for each student to gain a better understanding of research in education and the social sciences. Through regular participation in a research undertaking, the student is expected to gain intuitive as well as cognitive insights into the research process, principles underlying it and its philosophical basis.

The research apprenticeship typically requires five to ten contact hours per week over one semester for 3 credits, or over two semesters for 6 credits. The specific semester hours and contact hours are determined by the student's advisor following discussion of the research project. Normally the research apprenticeship does not carry a stipend, however, a funded research apprenticeship will meet the research apprenticeship requirement.

A student may be advanced to candidacy only after certification that he or she has satisfied or is in the process of satisfying the research apprenticeship requirement. Normally, the student will serve the research apprenticeship with a faculty member in his/her specialization, however, when in the judgment of the student's advisor a more suitable apprenticeship can be arranged with another faculty member or a researcher in another setting, it will be approved. The assignment of the student to a faculty member for the research apprenticeship will be the responsibility of the student's advisor, subject to concurrence by the student and the prospective research supervisor.

The research apprenticeship will focus on an area of research in which the research supervisor is involved, rather than on the student's dissertation research, although in some cases, the student's dissertation or research interests may be the focus of the apprenticeship. The student and research supervisor are expected to interact frequently concerning the research in which they are engaged and to discuss the research process in an attempt to further the student's learning.

Following are some examples of the types of activity in which the student may participate during his/her research apprenticeship. In all cases, students will develop a final product consisting of a publishable research paper or equivalent.

  • Bibliographic searches related to the development of a research project.
  • Drafting a research proposal for funding.
  • Literature search.
  • Developing and testing an instrument.
  • Developing academic program assessment methods and instruments.
  • Collection of data.
  • Preparation of data for computer analysis.
  • Computer analysis of data.
  • Discussions, evaluations and critiques of research.
  • Assisting with editorial work.
  • Planning and implementing research conferences

Students will develop a one-page proposal describing the specific objectives, expected learning outcomes, and final product of the research apprenticeship. This will be approved by the student's advisor and research supervisor before the onset of the research apprenticeship.

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