Date of Award

Fall 12-11-2015

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Educational Studies and Research

Committee Chair

Dr. Lilian Hill

Committee Chair Department

Educational Studies and Research

Committee Member 2

Dr. Kyna Shelley

Committee Member 2 Department

Educational Studies and Research

Committee Member 3

Dr. Georgianna Martin

Committee Member 3 Department

Educational Studies and Research

Committee Member 4

Dr. Richard Mohn

Committee Member 4 Department

Educational Studies and Research

Abstract

Mentoring relationships, even though essential to all aspects of one’s life, are an important part of the educational experience. Levinson (1978) found that it was the most important relationship one could have and vital to those in the early adulthood stage of development. Furthermore, graduate students seek to become better researchers; therefore, research skill development is essential to the graduate school experience. The ability to develop these skills can aid in the ability to identify oneself as a researcher. Using Levinson’s adult development theory and Markus and Nurius’ possible selves theory as the theoretical framework, the goal of this study was to explore the relationship between mentoring preferences and student skill development, as measured by research self-efficacy. Specifically, the study sought to understand how mentoring characteristics, both preferred and actual, impact influence research self-efficacy of doctoral students.

Doctoral students (N= 125) participated in a study where two instruments, the Ideal Mentor Scale (Rose, 2003) and the Self-Efficacy in Research Measure (Phillips & Russel, 1994), were used to examine mentoring characteristics and research self-efficacy. Statistical analyses included a confirmatory factor analysis of the IMS, multivariate analysis of variance, and independent t-tests to test for statistical differences. Findings of this study showed that preferred mentoring characteristics do in fact make a difference in research self-efficacy. Those that prefer a mentoring style centered on Rose’s concept of Integrity were slightly more confident in being able to carry out research-oriented tasks than those that preferred a mentoring style centered on Rose’s concept of Guidance. No doctoral student in this study preferred a mentoring style centered on Rose’s concept of Relationship. Furthermore, having prior mentoring experiences makes a difference in how much students value the mentoring tasks associated with Rose’s concept of Guidance.

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