solution: As an aspiring leader, I want to understand the crucial role of a supervisor, assessing supervisory

As an aspiring leader, I want to understand the crucial role of a supervisor, assessing supervisory issues, and what skills are needed for success. I feel like the company’s managers, and supervisors are the company’s leaders. In a company’s daily operations and organizational ecosystem, they both play a significant role. Therefore, supervisors must precisely assess their supervisee’s developmental and preparedness levels to manage opposition and successfully use the right supervisory style. So, developing your leadership skills is essential in becoming a good leader. It would help if you learned core supervisory skills to supervise people and properly make appropriate decisions.

My potential Problem of Practice is to learn about the importance of a supervisor’s job and what skills are required to succeed in a supervisory position. I will start by understanding the duties and responsibilities of a supervisor. Not everyone is equipped to supervise others, yet some end up in that position because they’ve worked in a particular profession for some time. Several primary responsibilities will likely be part of your everyday life. A great deal of information is available to assist you in becoming a competent leader. A supervisor’s primary responsibility is to explain organizational requirements to workers, monitor their progress, provide direction and support, and identify areas for improvement. They also maintain a positive working relationship with both the employees and the company. Second I will evaluate supervisory issues. There are several scenarios in which a supervisor must make a choice. Employee, unit, department, and organization underperformance are managers’ most common issues. When this situation arises, the manager will do all in his power to have it resolved as quickly as feasible. By attempting to improve the current condition beyond what was anticipated, the act of resolving a problem generates a chance for success. To be a competent manager, you must be proactive to avoid issues from occurring. 

Lastly, analyze what skills are required to succeed as a manager. Management skills may have a positive impact on your personal life, your career path, and your interpersonal interactions. The ability to effectively manage an organization is essential to its success and achievement of its goals and objectives. The objective and vision of the organization may be pushed forward by a manager who cultivates practical management abilities.

I believe my planned study’s findings would be considered trustworthy. It will guarantee that my bias does not skew the results. To demonstrate the validity of my results, qualitative researchers might establish an audit trail that details the steps they took to gather the data and explains how and why certain conclusions were reached. 

The ethical considerations of my study are to enhance individuals’ lives through comprehending real-world occurrences, examining successful solutions, and analyzing behaviors. For people to understand supervisory challenges and the necessary abilities for success are essential to learning the critical function of a supervisor.

Research Question:

Elements of Plan

Questions and Choices to Consider

Your role as research

· My responsibility is to make it clear to individuals what my duties in the research project. Also, communicate my research itself and the results from the study.


· The supervisor’s position is critical, and I want to learn how to identify supervisory concerns and develop the abilities I’ll need to succeed in this position.

Research site and participants

· In correlational to research, the data is gathered without regard to the participants or the person collecting the data.

Data Collection/Generation

· An essential role as supervisor.

· Evaluating supervisory problems.

· The necessary traits for success.

Validity and Reliability // Trustworthiness

· The study results are trustworthy. It will guarantee that my own bias does not influence the results. As a qualitative researcher, I will document the actions I took to collect data and explain how and why particular conclusions were reached to explain the validity of my findings.

Ethical Considerations

· My research is all ethical factors in real-world events, reviewing effective solutions, and studying behaviors. Understanding of the obstacles faced by supervisors and the skills needed to succeed are vital to learning about their critical role.

“To-Do” List

· Find information related to the topic on the school library website and online.

· Narrow choices on the data I have collected.

· Create an outline

· Complete a rough draft.

Efron & Ravid (2020) Figure 4.2

But is there community? Examining learner experiences of community in an online doctoral program

The path to a doctorate is a years-long pursuit requiring a range of abilities and skills designed to transform a doctoral student from a dependent learner into an independent scholar (Elkhana, 2006; Lovitts, 2001, 2005, 2007; Lovitts & Nelson, 2000; Walker, Golde, Jones, Bueschel, & Hutchings, 2008). Within this transformation, doctoral students must develop both the technical and the cognitive skills and abilities of their respective fields; further, they must develop the “habits of heart and mind” and “scholarly disposition” that are reflective of being a scholar and engaging in scholarship (Elkhana, 2006, p. 62).

As more individuals matriculate into doctoral programs, attritions rates persist between 30 – 50% (Lovitts, 2001, 2005); and for online doctoral programs, the attrition rates increase by another 10 – 20% (Terrell et al., 2009). Although proxy indicators, such as GRE test scores, are designed to predict success among doctoral students, these types of predictors measure cognitive skills and knowledge. As growing research indicates, success in doctoral programs is often a function of more than cognitive abilities; success in doctoral programs is also a function of relationships, and how learners experience the program (Lovitts, 2001, 2005).

Yet, building relationship and community with, and among, learners and faculty becomes challenging when the doctoral programs are fully online. Although the online modality and asynchronous courses allow broad flexibility for learners, this modality also can impede building connection and community among fellow doctoral colleagues and with program faculty. This matters, as extant literature has argued connection and community building with and among colleagues and faculty are facilitators of doctoral student success (Kelley & Salisbury-Glennon, 2016; Spaulding & Rockinson-Szapkiw, 2012).

DEFINE connection, connectedness, and community building

Effective August 1, I move into a tenure-track position in the Department of Leadership, Technology, and Workforce Development at Valdosta State University. With my new position I also will assume the role as the program coordinator for Adult & Career Education doctoral program. The ACED EdD program, which has been in effect for more than 25 years, is designed for practitioners, who usually are mid- to late-career educational professionals in K-12 and higher education contexts.

In the past several years, the program has moved to a fully online program, with all courses asynchronous, within the past several years. As a fully online program, in which courses are designed and facilitated as asynchronous, there is little opportunity for learners to engage in real-time with one another and with faculty. This dearth of real-time interaction limits opportunities to build relationships with and among learners and faculty.

Literature in doctoral studies has examined the role of relationships in doctoral student persistence and progression to degree (for example Lovitts, 2001, 2005).

Therefore, for this action research proposal, I plan to examine how ACED doctoral students experience community and connectedness in this program.

Statement of the Problem Comment by Microsoft Office User: CHECK THIS SECTION AGAINST page 18 of AR book

As most prospective doctoral students meet required admissions criteria, including tests of cognitive abilities such as the GRE, there is an expectation that, if admitted, these doctoral students would have the abilities and skills to succeed within their respective doctoral programs. Yet, as the literature indicates, between 30 – 50%, depending on the discipline, of all admitted doctoral students in traditional programs will not make it across the finish line of graduation. The attrition for online doctoral programs jumps by 10-20%, according to Terrell et al. (2009).

Attrition from doctoral programs can arise from many factors. Cross argued learners’ barriers to persistence could be categorized as dispositional and situational to the learner as well as institutional barriers (Cross, 1981). DISCUSS CONNECTION / COMMUNITY AMONG LEARNERS AND WITH FACULTY

With this attrition comes losses: losses to the institution that has invested resources into the development of the students; losses to the faculty who also invested of themselves and their research; and, finally, and arguably most importantly, losses to the doctoral students themselves. Pursuing doctoral education often puts untold demands on students’ time with family, as well as financial burden in either paying for their education or in the form of time away from full-time employment.

Given this culmination of losses, it is incumbent upon the academy and its scholars to examine this phenomenon. Within my home institution, and as the newly installed program coordinator for the online Adult & Career Education doctoral program, I recognize my responsibility to examine how my program’s learners are experiencing community and connectedness, as well as identifying what attrition rates have been for the past 10 years. From this data, my goal is to better inform my – and our programmatic – practices to facilitate doctoral learners’ progression to degree.

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of this study is to examine how doctoral students experience community and connectedness in the ACED doctoral program. Through examining this case, the goal of the study is to understand how community and connectedness may be facilitating these doctoral students’ progression toward degree.

Research Questions

To guide this study, I will use three research questions:

1: How do early candidacy ACED doctoral students describe their experiences of community within the program?

2: What is the sense of connectedness among late candidacy ACED doctoral students?

3: In the past 15 years, what have been the ACED doctoral program’s retention and graduation rates? Comment by Microsoft Office User: Determine/confirm when doc went fully online

Significance of the Study

Attrition among doctoral students is substantial (Lovitts, 2001, 2005); for online doctoral programs, the attrition rate ranges between 50% and 80% (Terrell et al, 2009). The rates of attrition represent real losses among students, faculty, programs, and institutions, all of which invested in some manner into these doctoral students.

Various scholars (CITE) have suggested community and connectedness function as facilitators for doctoral student persistence and degree completion. By examining how doctoral students in my own program experience community and connectedness, I

A thought —– At 55 credit hours and $293 per hour, total tuition is $16,115, minimum. Each cohort of 10 matriculating doctoral students theoretically generates $52,740 per academic year, and at least $161,150 over the course of their programs. Demonstrating a program’s economic viability validates the request to the provost in filling faculty lines for the department. Neoliberal HE….

Review of the Literature

Why doc students leave (lovitts)

Persistence in online doctoral (Rackinson-Szapkiw, Spaulding, & Spaulding; Rockinson-Szapkiw, Spaulding, & Bade, 2014)

Community and Connection(Bollinger & Inan) (Berry) (Tinto, 1997) (Rovai, 2002 – two articles – to define connectedness)

Tinto – integration is defined two ways – social mean “relationships that result from day to day interactions and involvement in a variety of activities at institutions”; and academic integration “occurs with sharing of information, perspectives, and values common to member of the community” [language from Rockinson-Szapkiw]


For this study I will use an integrated mixed-methods case study approach; a case study is understood as a “intensive descriptions and analyses of a…bounded system [Smith, 1978] such as an individual, program, event, group, intervention, or community,” according to Merriam (2001, p. 19). Using multiple data sources to generate knowledge, a case study approach allows for the in-depth investigation of phenomena in real-world contexts (Merriam, 2001; Yin, 2018). As I am examining one doctoral program, the boundaries of the case are defined by the currently enrolled students and by the program’s institutional data for retention and graduation rates.

An integrated mixed-methods approach employs both qualitative and quantitative methods in answering overarching questions (Efrat Efron & Ravid, 2020). This approach is appropriate for this action research proposal as the overarching question is how ACED doctoral students experience community and connectedness with, and among, fellow students and faculty.

I plan to use mixed methods as each paradigm’s data collection/generation and data analysis methods are required to answer the research questions. I will use a phenomenological approach to answer Research Question 1, which asks How do early candidacy ACED doctoral students describe their experiences of community within the program? Phenomenology, which seeks to understand the essence of participants’ lived experiences and the knowledges derived from that experience (Thomas & Pollio, 2002), is an appropriate approach as participants have a shared experience of being in the ACED doctoral program. I will use phenomenological approach with early candidacy doctoral students to understand how they experience community within the ACED doctoral program.

Question 2 asks What level of connectedness do late candidacy ACED doctoral students report? To answer this question, I will conduct descriptive research using the Doctoral Student Connectedness Scale, developed by Terrell et al. (2009). This instrument is an 18-item survey using Likert-type scale and is designed to measure participants’ senses of connection and support during the dissertation phase. The instrument measures two factors: faculty-to-student connectedness and student-to-student connectedness. As such, I plan to use the instrument as a diagnostic for how late-candidacy learners experience connectedness.

Research Question 3 asks In the past 15 years, what have been the retention and graduation rates of the ACED doctoral program? To answer this question, I will conduct descriptive researching analyzing institutional enrollment data that tracks ACED doctoral program students, year-over-year for a 15-year span. From this, I will calculate retention and graduation rates for the program. Comment by Microsoft Office User: Determine/confirm when doc went fully online


As educational action research investigates one’s own practice, the role as investigator becomes “more complex” (Efron & Ravid, 2020, p. 63). As such, objectivity, which is assumed and central in quantitative research, becomes less clearly defined, as a practitioner-researcher’s subjectivities enmesh with, while also being products of, the context in which they work. Recognizing this tension, I

As the practitioner-researcher, I occupy a liminal space. I am the newly-installed program coordinator, a faculty member teaching in the program, and the researcher examining this case in which I am deeply embedded. With this liminal space come competing demands.

As a researcher interviewing participants, I also am a faculty member who is facilitating one of the first courses ACED doctoral students take in their program and I am the program coordinator who is responsible to establishing and maintaining contact with doctoral students. Therefore, I am aware prospective interview participants may feel uncomfortable being candid about their experiences. To this point, I am reflecting – in this planning phase – on what may be a better method for generating interview data. For example, instead of conducting in-person interviews, I may ask participants to write anonymous reflections.

Rigor and Quality

For the qualitative portion of this case study, To build rigor and quality into my study, I will use the following strategies:

Field Journal

As I progress through this study I will maintain a field journal to record my decision-making related to the study’s execution, as well as to record observations related to the doctoral program. I envision observations stemming from interactions with fellow faculty and students, both current and prospective.

Member Checking

I will send participants their respective transcripts and ask them to check it for their veracity (Merriam, 2009). Additionally, after analyzing the data, I will send summaries of the analyses to the participants, asking them to again check for their veracity.

Adequate Time with Participants

I will be able to conduct multiple interviews with participants, so as to avoid reducing their experiences to one interview that very well may be a function of how the participant is fairing on that one, particular day. Therefore, I will conduct multiple interviews with participants to ensure adequate time with them and their data (Merriam, 2009; Seidman, 2013).


The final strategy I will employ to help build rigor and quality into this study is to engage with my own position as the practitioner-researcher. In doing so, I will engage in reflexivity, defined as “the process of reflecting critically on the self as research” (Lincoln & Guba, 2000, p. 183). The first step in this will be writing a subjectivity statement. The second and repeating are to continually engage in reflexivity by keeping a journal. I will explicate my own thinking, biases, fears, and aspiration, such as to make these known to myself.

Data Collection and Generation

For this study, I propose generating a corpus of data across sources – students and me – and across types, both qualitatively and quantitatively, as noted above.

Field notes

I will be recording field notes throughout this study’s phases. The purpose of the field notes is two-fold: First, field notes will help me record my decision-making processes across the study’s phases; second, I will use field notes to record my observations and reflections about the phenomenon itself, including the learners, the facilitation of the doctoral courses, and my own work as the program coordinator.


An overarching goal of this study is to understand how ACED doctoral students experience community and connectedness in the ACED doctoral program. To gain this understanding, I will conduct interviews with early candidacy doctoral students.

In-depth interviews allow participants to share their lifeworlds, or lived experiences (Van Manen, 1990, pp. 18-19). Through exploring these lived experiences of individuals, researchers can build an understanding of the organization of which the individuals are a part (Seidman, 2013). As such, in-depth interviews will generate not only an understanding of each participant’s individual lived experience of community and connectedness in the program, but also will help me understand the ACED doctoral program as an organization in which participants exist.

Doctoral Student Connectedness Scale

Informed by Rovai’s (2002) work on connectedness and a sense of belonging in the classroom, Terrell et al. (2009) developed the Doctoral Student Connectedness Scale to “understand the limited-residency doctoral students’ feelings of connectedness toward each other and the faculty” (p. 113). The scale measures doctoral student sense of connectedness with other students and faculty while in their dissertation phases.

Given my program’s fully online modality, doctoral students navigate their early candidacy phases at-distance. Although the coursework is asynchronous, they do benefit from the structure coursework provides and the regular contact with other students and faculty coursework affords. Once students move into late candidacy, however, they lose any semblance of formalized interaction and connection with other students in the program. The only formal contact is with a student’s dissertation chair, assuming the student identified and confirmed their dissertation chair and committee members during their last semester of coursework.

The dissertation phase can feel lonely and overwhelming, as a student begins the difficult work of developing a proposal (CITE). This time of isolation is precisely when community and connectedness can make the difference between a student’s persistence or attrition (CITE).

Examining the ACED late candidacy doctoral students’ sense of connectedness with the Doctoral Student Connectedness Scale (Terrell et al., 2009) will function as both a descriptive and a diagnostic insight into how these students’ sense of connectedness as they navigate the dissertation wilderness.

Retention and Graduation Rates

Working with the Office of Institutional Research, I will gather enrollment data for the past 15 years for the ACED doctoral program. I will track enrollment by individual student.

Data Analysis

Field notes

Thematic analysis


Thematic analysis

Doctoral Student Connectedness Scale

Retention and Graduation Rates

Calculating enrollment by enrolled student over the past 15 years.



Start Date

Estimated Completion Date

Develop Qualtrics site:

· participant sign up

· survey

August 16, 2021

August 31, 2021

IRB submission

Sept. 1, 2021

Sept. 22, 2021

Send Invitation to Participate “flyers”

Sept. 23, 2021


Contact VSU Institutional Data for enrollment data

Sept. 23, 2021

Sept. 30, 2021

Launch survey

Sept. 23, 2021

Oct. 21, 2021

Collect participant sign ups

Sept. 23, 2021

Oct. 7, 2021

Schedule interviews

As soon as sign up begins


Oct. 11, 2021

Nov. 1, 2021

Data analysis (interviews)

After first interview

Jan. 7, 2022

Data analysis (reflective journals)


Jan. 7, 2022

Data analysis

(doc survey)

Oct. 22, 2021

Oct. 29, 2021

Data analysis

(enrollment data)

Oct. 1, 2021

Oct. 29, 2021

Writing results

Jan. 8, 2022

March 1, 2022







Cross, K. P. (1981). Adults as learners: Increasing participation and facilitating learning. Jossey-Bass.

Efrat Efron, S., & Ravid, R. (2020). Actional research in education: A practice guide (2nd. Ed). Guildford.

Kelley, M. J. M., & Salisbury-Glennon, J. D. (2016). The role of self-regulation in doctoral students’ status of all but dissertation (ABD). Innovative Higher Education41(1), 87-100. doi:10.1007/s10755-015-9336-5

Lincoln, Y. S., & Guba, E. G. (1985). Naturalistic inquiry. Sage.

Lovitts, B. E. (2001). Leaving the Ivory Tower: The Causes and Consequences of Departure from Doctoral Study. Rowan & Littlefield.

Lovitts, B. E. (2005). Being a course course-taker is not enough: A theoretical perspective on the transition to independent research. Studies in Higher Education, 30(2), 137-154.

Lovitts, B. E. (2007). Making the implicit explicit: Creating performance expectations for the dissertation (1st ed.). Stylus.

Lovitts, B. E., & Nelson, C. (2000). The hidden crisis in graduate education: Attrition from Ph.D. programs. Academe, 86(6), 44-51.

Merriam, S. B. (2009). Qualitative research: a guide to design and implementation. Jossey-Bass.

Rovai, A. (2002). Development of an instrument to measure classroom community. Internet and Higher Education, 5(3), 197–211.

Seidman, I. (2013). Interviewing as qualitative research (4th ed.). Teachers College Press.

Smith, L. M. (1978). An evolving logic of participant observation, educational ethnography and other case studies. In L. Shulman (Ed.), Review of research in education. Peacock.

Spaulding, L. S., & Rockinson-Szapkiw, A. J. (2012). Hearing their voices: Factors doctoral candidates attribute to their persistence. International Journal of Doctoral Studies, 7, 199-219.

Terrell, S. R., Snyder, M. M., & Dringus, L. P. (2009). The development, validation, and application of the Doctoral Student Connectedness Scale. Internet and Higher Education 12, 112-116.

Thomas, S. P., & Pollio, H. R. (2002). Listening to patients: A phenomenological approach to nursing research and practice. Springer.

Van Manen, M. (1990). Research lived experiences: Human science for an action sensitive pedagogy. SUNY Press.

Yin, R. K. (2018). Case study research and applications: Design and methods (6th ed.). Sage.


Action Research Project: 300 points

What: As masters students, you are developing your skills for understanding and consuming literature such that you can use bodies of literature to inform your respective practices and the problems of practice that arise. Therefore, this project allows learners to:

  • Identify a Problem of Practice and a Research Question relevant to one’s own practice
  • Search relevant literature

Use the literature to inform one’s Problem of Practice

  • Develop research design thinking to explore one’s Problem of Practice
  • Develop skills in selecting methods to investigate one’s Problem of Practice with validity and trustworthiness
  • Understand the ethical concerns and implications of Action Research into one’s Problem of Practice
  • Rationale: Being able to effectively search, interpret, and apply the findings in bodies of literature to aid in one’s practice is the defining skill of masters training. Therefore, the rationale for this project is to provide learners the opportunity to practice the related skills of searching, interpreting, and applying empirical findings of literature for one’s identified Problem of Practice.

    Moreover, masters trained learners should have the knowledge and skills to investigate their own practice, using both empirical literature and their own investigation.

    Elements: An Action Research Project, which will use the Six Cyclical Steps of Action Research, as listed in the Efron and Ravid (2020) text. Those steps include the following elements:


    Step 1: Identify a Problem (of


  • Identify and define the Problem of Practice you want to explore
  • Problem Statement (Define central concepts and terms)
  • Write Research Questions (see page 40 in Efron and Ravid)
  • Describe your role in the planned study
  • Describe the context of your work, in which the Problem of Practice exists
  • Describe the population with which you are working

  • Explicate the rationale for researching/addressing this Problem of Practice; why does this Problem of Practice matter?
  • Identify what previous steps or approaches you have used in addressing this Problem of Practice; or, if you have not yet tried to address it, discuss that and why
    • Describe others, besides yourself, who may be interested in the study and who will benefit from the knowledge gained.
    • Notes:
    • See pages 1-19 in Efron & Ravid
    • Use Figure 2.1 to check your work

    This section should be between three and five pages

    Step 2: Gather background information and write a literature review

    • Notes:
    • See below for the Process of Writing the Literature Review below
    • This section should be five to seven pages

    PROCESS for writing a literature


    • Gather background information through a review of appropriate literature and existing research on the topic

    (Refer to pages 22-23 in Efron and Ravid for tips on searching the lit, and refer to resource from the embedded librarians)

    • Read literature and identify themes (Refer to 24-25 in Efron and Ravid)
    • Construct the literature review

    (Refer to pages 25-28 in Efron and Ravid; refer to figures 2.2, 2.3, 2.4, and 2.5 for organizing / thinking about literature)

    • Write the literature review

    (Refer to pages 28-34 in Efron and Ravid)

    Step 3: Design the study

  • Identify what is the research approach (Qualitative or Quantitative or Mixed Methods) most appropriate to your Problem of Practice and Research Question
  • Consider the assumptions about your Problem of Practice
  • Consider your researcher role
  • Consider the research process
  • Consider common methods to the approach
  • Consider how to build validity / reliability (quan) and to build trustworthiness (qual) into the study
  • Consider the ethical concerns and implications
  • Notes:
  • o Refer to Chapters 3 and 4

    Step 4: Collect/Generate dat

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