The Role of Self-regulation in Doctoral Students’ Status of All But Dissertation (ABD)

  • Kelley M
  • Salisbury-Glennon J
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Abstract

A large amount of research has been conducted on self-regulated learning as it relates to academic achievement. Further, there is a large body of literature regarding doctoral candidates who do not complete their dissertations and are classified as All But Dissertation. However, there is a paucity of research regarding the synthesis of these two disparate bodies of research. The purposes of this study were to: (a) assess self-regulated learning as it applied to the time to completion of the dissertation, (b) determine the relationship between self-regulated learning and the intrinsic task value of the dissertation, (c) assess the impact of intrinsic task value upon time to completion of the dissertation, (d) determine whether there was a linear relationship between self-regulated learning and time to complete the dissertation, (e) assess whether differences existed between the levels of self-regulated learning strategies exhibited by those who were classified as All But Dissertation and those who had recently completed their dissertations and (f) assess whether there were differences in the time since comprehensive exams were taken for those who were All But Dissertation and those participants who had recently completed their dissertations. The researcher developed an online survey (titled the Dissertation Enablers Scale) for this purpose. This survey included four subscales to operationalize the variables and covariates (the Self-regulated Learning Scale, the Intrinsic Task Value Scale, the Research Self-efficacy Scale and the Social Support Scale). This survey was validated through comparison with like instruments, expert review, exploratory factor analyses and reliability estimates. The results of hierarchical regressions indicated that self-regulated learning did predict time to completion of the dissertation, yet intrinsic task value did not predict time to completion of the dissertation. Self-regulated learning was significantly correlated with task value. The findings suggest that there was a linear relationship between self-regulated learning and time to completion of the dissertation. A discriminant function analysis revealed that there were no differences in the use of self-regulated learning strategies between those classified as All But Dissertation and those participants who had recently completed their dissertations. Additional factors that emerged as important to dissertation completion were the importance of financial support and the potential mediating role of intrinsic task value upon self-regulated learning.

Author-supplied keywords

  • All But Dissertation (ABD)
  • Self-regulated learning
  • doctoral dissertation completion
  • intrinsic task value

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Authors

  • Martha J.M. Kelley

  • Jill D. Salisbury-Glennon

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