Date of Award

Summer 8-2023

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Committee Chair

Dr. Kyna Shelley

Committee Chair School


Committee Member 2

Dr. Thomas Lipscomb

Committee Member 2 School


Committee Member 3

Dr. Thomas O'Brien

Committee Member 3 School


Committee Member 4

Dr. Kevin Wells

Committee Member 4 School



Professional literature has associated Research Self-Efficacy (RSE) with other research-related variables, though studies have occurred mostly in non-Education fields. This dissertation investigated RSE among Education graduate students through two separate studies: (1) a quantitative study conducted with a multinational, convenience sample of 352 participants and (2) a qualitative narrative inquiry conducted with a purposive sample of six doctoral students at one university. The quantitative study applied the Jang and Shin (2011) framework to model Research Disposition and Research Support as predictors of RSE. That study also produced models of RSE as a predictor of research productivity and of career expectations. A major finding was that Research Disposition and Research Support predicted RSE, as did models run with the underlying variables. Another major finding was that RSE predicted research productivity, defined as prior studies conducted, conferences presented, and articles published. RSE also predicted intentions of graduate students to enter careers that require them to conduct research but to a lesser extent. Over 85% of the sample intended to enter careers with a research component. Analyses of group differences revealed that participants varied by personal characteristics in Research Experience, Research Interest, Faculty Mentorship, and Intellectual Community.

The second study in this dissertation gave voice to a small sample of the doctoral students at one institution concerning turning points in development of their RSE. The sample included equal numbers of EdD and PhD students. Their stories illuminated prior findings about the transformational nature of doctoral studies as they shared personal struggles, self-doubt, and resilience on their journeys through a process of change and personal growth. They described an emotional journey as they highlighted research experiences and emphasized relationships. Results from both the quantitative and qualitative studies suggest that there is value in understanding one’s RSE development, particularly given its association with productivity and career intentions. Both dissertation studies add evidence to the knowledge base about the need for continued institutional investment of time and other resources toward development of RSE in graduate students, even doctoral students.


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