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Project Scope

Revised March 13, 2008

This study will assess the quality and characteristics of research-doctorate programs at institutions in the United States. The study will be conducted by a 15 person committee, and their work will be supported by an 11 person panel that will address data collection.

The study will consist of:

  1. The collection of quantitative data through questionnaires administered to institutions, programs, faculty, and admitted to candidacy students (in selected fields)
  2. The collection of additional program data on publications, citations, and dissertation keywords
  3. The design and construction of program ratings using the collected data.

The methodology for the study will be a refinement of that described by the Committee to Examine the Methodology for the Assessment of Research-Doctorate Programs in the report
Assessing Research-Doctorate Programs: A Methodology Study.

During the first stage of the study the committee will review and finalize the recommendations of the methodology study concerning the field taxonomy for the programs, the questionnaires and data definitions. Procedures for data collection will also be developed. The next stage will be devoted to data collection at the institutions. This will begin with an institutional questionnaire to identify programs and will be followed by a program questionnaire that gathers information about the programs and the faculty participating in the programs. The faculty will then be surveyed concerning their activities, and students in selected fields will be asked to provide information related to their studies and career development. In the final stage the data will be analyzed and an on-line database will be developed and made available to the public at the end of 2007. In conjunction with the availability of the database the committee will issue a report describing how the database can be used.

The committee will conduct a second phase of the study during 2008 when a group of experts will analyze the data and write essays that will be part of a final report.