Hearing their voices: Factors doctoral candidates attribute to their persistence


The purpose of this phenomenological inquiry was to examine persistence factors associated with the successful completion of a doctoral degree in the field of education. Standardized open-ended interviews with a purposeful sample of 76 participants (42 females, 34 males) generated data leading to themes describing what doctoral students experience (personal sacrifice, delayed ex-pectations, dissertation challenges) and the personal factors (motivations for pursuing the degree, reasons for persisting, strategies for dissertation completion), social factors (support systems and coping mechanisms), and institutional factors (program characteristics) participants associated with their persistence. These findings provide a composite understanding of the essence of the struggles inherent in the journey and the factors associated with doctoral persistence. Implications and recommendations for doctoral candidates are discussed.

Publication Title

International Journal of Doctoral Studies