Analyzing the comparison matrix Essay Paper

socialization of doctoral students the authors John C. Weidman and Elizabeth L. Stein utilize the framework for graduate and professional socialization to explain the socialization of doctoral students to academic rules of research and scholarship. The researchers reveal information about the perceptions of doctoral students on social science and on the foundation of education. The researchers also present information socialization of the students with their peers and with members of faculty. The authors employed a multivariate analysis to support the framework. The analysis helped to emphasize the social relationships between students and the members of faculty. The main objectives of the study were to examine the structures of faculties in relation to the student’s socialization and to determine ways that could help create a supportive environment/structure that could help students taking graduate programs by using academics and legislations to help colleges to bring up professionals.

While in the second article Developmental networks and learning: toward an interdisciplinary perspective on identity development during doctoral study the authors Vicki Bakera and Lisa Lattucab explore two theory families i.e. developmental networks and sociocultural perspectives so as to create an interdisciplinary channel to doctoral studies as an alternative route towards becoming a professor. Bakera and Lattucab review the main points of the two theory families before discussing their conjectures and their combinations. The study also involves a discussion of research and theory. According to the two researchers, doctoral education is undergoing huge changes that are predicted to continue in the long-term. One of the main changes is the increase in number of students accepting non-academic careers and increase in number of professional doctorates. The framework used in the study helped address the concerns of academics/scholars, by reviewing theory the authors attempted to link academics to identity development among students undertaking doctoral studies with the aim of joining faculty. The objective of the authors was to explore the relationships of students both within and outside academics.

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The third article Critical Thinking in Distance Education and Traditional Education by Lyn Visser, Yusra Visser and Charles Schlosseer is a bit different from the first two based on the fact that it doesn’t specifically investigate the perceptions of doctoral students. Instead the authors of the article focus on critical thinking. They begin by describing critical thinking as organized and rational thinking used by individuals to determine the validity of perceptions, thoughts or opinions. The researchers further argue that there are certain behaviors and habits of the mind that are linked to critical thinking, namely problem definition, analysis of assumptions and bias, posing questions, evidence analysis, avoidance of simplification and countering confusion. Even though the authors admit that critical thinking entails the understanding of issues under investigation, they also argue that it requires flexibility which they define as the need for one to change his or her opinion upon the re-examination of facts or opinions. The authors argue that critical thinking is a very important exercise for students at every level of education, especially the graduate level. The authors opine that when thinking critically, one sees different perspectives which might help him or her to adapt to changes in new environments. Critical thinking can be perceived as a mediating mechanism and also as a learning outcome.

Research Question(s)

In the first article The socialization of doctoral students the research questions are as follows: What are the different student experiences in various graduate courses? In which ways do socialization perspectives help in the determination of changes that ought to be taken into account to enhance graduate programs? What does the schematic depiction of the process of graduate/professional student socialization look like? What is socialization among graduate students?

While in the second article Developmental networks and learning: toward an interdisciplinary perspective on identity development during doctoral study only one question is investigated that of the roles played by relationships in the development of professional identity among doctoral students?

No research question was posed in the third article Critical Thinking in Distance Education and Traditional Education.

Organization of Literature Review, main themes of the review and the key authors used

The common theme between these three articles in the investigation of the behaviors and habits of the minds whether it is linked to: critical thinking; developmental networks; and socialization of students.

Weidman and Stein start by reviewing various perspective of scholarly practice as discussed by various researchers including Weidman et al., 2001; Light, 1974; Finkelstein, 1984; and Bowen and Schuster, 1986 among others. The authors then focus on role of scholarship in the latter part of their review. The review of the first article ends with a discussion of the importance of research and teaching.

While in the second article Bakera and Lattucab use numerous authors and more recent publications in their literature review including; Roberts (2002) who discussed the training received by students of doctoral studies; Bartels, de Weert and Husiman (2002) who discussed the routinization of members of faculty; Green 1991; Golde 2000; Tenenbaum, Crosby, and Gliner 2001; Boud and Lee 2005; Paglis, Green, and Bauer 2006 all of whom surmise that the majority of doctoral studies focus on the socialization of students.

The main theme of the third article was to investigate the factors that play a role in the integration of critical thinking in university education. Minor themes included ‘the issues that might be obstacles to incorporating critical thinking in higher education’. The main articles utilized by the researchers in the literature review include work done by; Paul, Elder & Bartell, 1997; Bransford, Brown & Cocking, 2000; Scriven and Paul, 2000; Fisher, 2001; and ADEC, 2001.

The sample population (s)

Weidman and Stein used doctoral students enrolled in the Department of sociology and in the Educational Foundations Program. While researchers Bakera and Lattucab randomly selected doctoral students to take part in their study. It is obvious that there are biases regarding the population surveyed for both articles though the bias is less for the second study. No sample population was discussed in the third article.

Conclusions and whether the original question was answered

In The socialization of doctoral students the authors concluded that the socialization between graduate students and scholars is directly linked to the perceptions of the graduate students of the motivation/encouragement coming from the members of faculty. The results of the study support the original question that the environment of the department determines the social relations of the student.

While in the second article Developmental networks and learning: toward an interdisciplinary perspective on identity development during doctoral study results revealed that dialogue between different scholars could help address the problem at hand. The authors concluded that it was important to understand the relationship between knowledge and identity and that understanding identities of scholars and researchers could give insight into human experience. Some of the concerns of the researchers were addressed by the theoretical model used by the researchers.

In third study the authors concluded that a learning climate that encouraged self-discovery of facts and arguments provided a greater likelihood of further developing critical thinking skills. And that there is a difference between the traditional classroom and a distance learning and that critical thinking literature in both areas should taken into account.

Limitations/Recommendations for Further Research

In the first article by Weidman and Stein the following were the challenges and limitations: The factors that determine socialization in faculties were evaluated by looking at students perceptions which could be biased. There was a lack of effort to establish a clear link between the roles of scholars and students. Several factors that affect socialization in faculties were not taken into account.

In the second article the following were identified as the challenges: Identity development is different in different education systems meaning the study was limited in this aspect. There was no discussion of the transition of professional identity among advanced graduates. Several disciplinary cultures and supervision relationships which could affect the development of professional identity were not discussed.

No limitations or challenges were identified by the researchers of the third study.


All the three articles acknowledge the informal structures perceived by graduate students on the social relations between them and members of faculty. These articles allow the understanding of the link between identity and knowledge in the development of social relationships between students and members of faculty.


Baker, V., & Lattuca, L. R. (2010). Developmental networks and learning: toward an interdisciplinary perspective on identity development during doctoral study. Studies in Higher Education, 35(7), 807-827.

Visser, L., Visser, Y. L., & Schlosser, C. (2003). Critical thinking distance education and traditional education. Quarterly Review of Distance Education, 4(4), 401-407

Weidman, J. C., & Stein, E. L. (2003). Socialization of doctoral students to academic norms. Research in Higher Education, 44(6), 641.

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