Purpose of Doctoral Research

One of the main goals of the EdD program is to empower doctoral students to become leaders in systemic and policy change, promoting social transformation and fostering meaningful learning and development for all involved — students, teachers, administrators, staff, parents and community members. The purpose of doctoral research is to prepare students to become this type of leader, a professional in the discipline.

Through coursework and the completion of a candidacy paper, dissertation proposal and dissertation, students develop the ability to conduct independent, original, significant research. The process culminates in the publication of a dissertation, which serves as a contribution to human knowledge that will be useful to other scholars and perhaps even to a more general audience.

Doctoral Research Process

There are four steps to your work as a doctoral student:

1: Coursework
Coursework is designed to give you in-depth information about your field and familiarize you with literature related to it.

2: Candidacy
A candidacy paper is a critical review of literature in the areas that relate to your anticipated dissertation focus.

3: Dissertation Proposal
A dissertation proposal is essentially the first three sections of a dissertation: introduction, review of literature, and research design.

4: Dissertation
A dissertation is original research on a scholarly topic; when complete, it is published so that it can serve as a contribution to human knowledge.

As students work through each phase of doctoral research, they will need to meet requirements related to program procedures and research objectives and complete tasks to prepare for the next phase. These steps are outlined in Milestones sections on the page for each phase. The Best Practices sections relay advice commonly given by students who have graduated from the program.