This study aims to examine the contribution of faculty–student coauthorship to the development of graduate students’ research skills in the sciences, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) by quantitatively assessing rubric-measured research skill gains over the course of an academic year compared to students who did not report participating in coauthorship with faculty mentors.
A quasi-experimental mixed methods approach was used to test the hypothesis that the influence of STEM graduate students’ mentored writing mentorship experiences would be associated with differential improvement in the development of their research skills over the course of an academic year.
The results indicate that students who co-authored with faculty mentors were likely to develop significantly higher levels of research skills than students who did not. In addition, less than half of the participants reported having such experiences, suggesting that increased emphasis on this practice amongst faculty could enhance graduate student learning outcomes.
Qualitative studies of graduate student writing experiences have alluded to outcomes that transcend writing quality per se and speak directly to the research skills acquired by the students as part of their graduate training. However, no study to date has captured the discrete effects of writing experiences on these skills in a quantifiable way.
The work reported in this article was supported by two grants from the National Science Foundation, NSF-0723686 and NSF-1431234. The views in this paper are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the supporting funding agency.
Feldon, D., Shukla, K. and Anne Maher, M. (2016), "Faculty–student coauthorship as a means to enhance STEM graduate students’ research skills", International Journal for Researcher Development, Vol. 7 No. 2, pp. 178-191. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJRD-10-2015-0027Download as .RIS
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