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In the subsequent replication model it is critical for individual researchers to make appropriate time-related (e.g. grade level, age, maturity, etc.) modifications in their theoretical framework, participants, and measure(s). Additionally, the researcher who works on the second study should make the relationship to the first researcher’s study. The first researcher should note in the ending of the dissertation that a subsequent research study is planned and is planned as a subsequent replication companion dissertation.

Recommended Elements of Companion Dissertations

We have presented a variety of types of companion dissertations with examples. At this point we propose that a companion dissertation program should have six common elements that undergird any type of companion dissertation employed. A brief discussion of the six elements follows.

Common Research Agenda

A common research agenda for companion dissertations is pivotal for such an engagement. This common agenda, developed through a team approach, is usually expressed as a basic research question or purpose statement. Humphrey, Coté, Walton, Meininger, and Laine (2005) wrote about the field of biomedical sciences and engineering in terms of relations and teamwork. They stated

We cannot continue to train graduate students in isolation within single disciplines, nor can we ask any one individual to learn all the essentials of biology, engineering, and mathematics. We must transform how students are trained and incorporate how real-world research and development are done–in diverse, interdisciplinary teams. Our fundamental vision is to create an innovative paradigm for graduate research and training that yields a new generation of biomedical engineers, life scientists, and mathematicians that is more diverse and that embraces and actively pursues a truly interdisciplinary, team-based approach to research based on a known benefit and mutual respect. (p. 98)

In order to achieve that end, Humphrey et al. suggested, among other interventions, a collaborative dissertation.

Even the National Institute of Health (NIH) (2004) encourages students to develop collaborative dissertations between two or more mentors. The advantage to this approach from NIH is similar to that of Humphrey et al., with NIH stating“you would get a much broader introduction to approaches to science, two sets of scientific colleagues, and learn advanced professional skills for working among scientific colleagues” (¶3).

Even though a dissertation is a companion piece of research, it is important to note the contribution of each individual. On this, Teachers College, Columbia University, advises its students,“When a dissertation is a cooperative enterprise, it must be planned so that the individual contribution of each candidate can be identified and evaluated”(¶2).

Common Intent of the Inquiry Statement

The common inquiry statement or research agenda is usually written in each companion dissertation in terms of a unique target population or interest. Although the dissertations themselves may not be postmodern in nature, the companion dissertation process, itself, is aligned to a postmodern approach. Because the companion dissertation requires a commonly developed inquiry statement or agenda of research, this approach opposes positivist, modernist views of research in which the knower and the knowledge are independent of each other. Rather as a postmodern viewpoint, promoted by Derrida (1978), Foucault (1972, 1980), Lyotard (1984), Ricoeur (1983), and Rorty (1979), companion dissertations in the development of a common statement of inquiry, the knower(s) and knowledge are interdependent with knowledge being relational.

Questions & Answers

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Source:  OpenStax, The handbook of doctoral programs: issues and challenges. OpenStax CNX. Dec 10, 2007 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col10427/1.3
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