Developing researching professionals in an EdD program: From learners and leaders to scholarly and influential practitioners

Ray R. Buss, Ron Zambo, Debby Zambo, Tiffany R. Williams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to examine how entering students and graduating students from an education doctorate (EdD) program viewed themselves as learners, leaders, and action researchers. Further, the paper examines differences in the identity trajectories between the two groups. Finally, the paper suggested a new identity status - scholarly and influential practitioners (SaIP) emerged from melding the three identity statuses. Design/methodology/ approach - The paper employed a mixed method design. Findings - Results indicated students new to the program held strong identities as learners and leaders, but not as action researchers; whereas graduates held stronger views of each type of identity, especially as researchers. Program features such as cycles of action research (CAR), and leader-scholar communities were instrumental in influencing graduates' identities as researching professionals. Research limitations/implications - SaIP emerge when doctoral programs enhance the learner and leader identity statuses of doctoral students while at the same time fostering the construction of a researching professional identity status. Practical implications - Development of researching professionals can be accomplished by fostering a researcher ethos during their participation in a doctoral program. For working professionals, this can be accomplished by requiring and supporting ongoing CAR in a doctoral program. Social implications - With respect to social implications, researching professionals, especially those in education offer substantial promise of achieving the educational reforms the school so desperately need. Originality/value - This research examines how one institution has attempted to develop researching professionals during their preparation in an EdD program, which is based on Carnegie Project for the Education Doctorate (CPED) working principles and design features.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number17110126
Pages (from-to)137-160
Number of pages24
JournalHigher Education, Skills and Work-based Learning
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2014


  • Changing identities
  • EdD programs
  • Researching professionals
  • Scholarly and influential practitioners

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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