Scholar Transformation Theory: Empowering Students to Get the Job Done Write.

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Title

Online Submission

Publication Date



Research suggests that writing the dissertation is one of the major barriers to doctoral students completing their degrees (Di Pierro, 2007). Much of the research on dissertation writing focuses on teaching the technical aspects of dissertation writing and fails to address the underlying issues that give rise to students' struggles with conceptualizing and completing their dissertation research. This paper forwards a theoretical perspective, scholar transformation theory (STT), that explains the challenges students face with dissertation writing. Drawing on Kincheloe's theory of cognitive passivity, identity theory, and Adler and Van Doren's (1972) concept of elementary reading, STT provides insight for faculty who are charged to help doctoral students complete their dissertation. This paper begins with a discussion of the practical and theoretical underpinnings of STT. Then we provide a detailed discussion of the five phases of STT, which include: passive information gatherer, active information gatherer, active knowledge gatherer, active knowledge consumer, and active knowledge producer. The paper discusses this theory's benefits and how it can be used to understand doctoral students' progression from student to scholar.