Concept Deficiency: Remediation for Masters’ Theses and Dissertations


Throughout graduate departments in the United States, students and teachers report significant difficulty in forming concepts and framing subjects chosen for thesis and dissertation work. Professors focused on guiding students through this conceptualizing and framing work have reported student difficulty in writing and reading complex multi-level and pluralistic subjects. Despite the report that over a third of doctoral students experience this difficulty, few teachers focus on the initial problems confronted by their students in the framing and forming of plausible and coherent concepts in ways that facilitate both writing and reading tasks. In general, conceptual and framing problems are often wrongly diagnosed as specific writing and reading problems. Using most recent brain research in concept formation and reflective thinking, the authors have developed a pedagogical method for routine diagnosis and accomplishment of this task. This paper applies this research to specifically create a remediation approach that significantly increases student capability for the successful accomplishment of framing and conceptualizing thesis and dissertation work. After a series of pilot action explorations, the authors have developed initial short courses and trials in the effectiveness of a derived method constructed to help students form structured conceptual frameworks and remediate this concept formation deficiency over the short and the long term. These trials, scheduled for June and July 2014, will utilize a modified application of Robert Sternberg’s Triarchic assessment process as pre- and post-assessments. At the conference, authors will report (1) the theoretical base for this derived method; (2) the design

Author Information
Dennis Winters, University of Maryland University College, USA
Deborah Wharff, University of Maryland University College, USA

Paper Information
Conference: NACE2014
Stream: Higher education

This paper is part of the NACE2014 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon