Date of Conferral

2016

Degree

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)

School

Education

Advisor

Lynn Nolte

Abstract

This project study focused on scholarly writing skills of adult students enrolled in a private graduate institution in the West Indies. The institution provided writing instruction, but scholarly writing skills remained inadequate for some students when they began their final projects. The project study provided insight into the most pervasive writing skill deficits and the positive and negative influences on writing skill development among graduate students. The research design was an applied qualitative case study using data collected from a purposeful sample of convenience within a bounded system of current students, faculty members, and administrators in one institution. Open-ended questionnaires (n = 5), interviews (n = 14), and qualitative assessments of student writing samples (n = 10) provided data for thematic qualitative analysis. Findings indicated a wide range of individual needs for writing development and guided the formation of a writing improvement project. The theory of andragogy provided the theoretical foundation for both the study and the project. Enrollment in the institution was limited to adults over 25 years of age; therefore, consideration of andragogical assumptions about how adults learn helped in understanding students' writing deficits and influences on their writing skill development. The project, called the Writing Suite, is an integrated curriculum aimed at developing students' scholarly writing skills throughout their graduate programs. When paired with the institution's emphasis on social change, the development of proficient writing skills will increase each student's potential for effecting positive change in his or her community and workplace.