Early studies about professional doctorates tended to focus on the programme’s effect on the individual student and his/her professional life with “limited investigation of the impact on the workplace itself and on practice in its field of application” (Boud, et al., 2018, p. 914). Wellington and Sykes (2006) found that skills developed on an Ed D programme were more inclined to enhance a student’s ability to reflect on his/her practice rather than improving professional practice. More recently, Pratt et al’s (2015) study established that students effected significant changes in their practice in their workplaces, findings congruent with Burgess, Weller and Wellington’s (2011)study where students demonstrated increased capacities in using research, in criticality, and in making strong arguments in workplace discussions.
Conversations with current Ed D students in Maynooth University(MU) indicates that their engagement with the programme to date has already had an influence not only on how they think about their workplace practices but also on their actions within the workplace. This research explores the impact of the Ed D on the professional discourses and workplace practices of 2nd year Ed D students in MU. Data were gathered through autophotography and semi-structured interviews with six students. Participants were invited to take photographs of things that have meaning for them in relation to the research question and the interview topics and to bring those images with them to the interview. These photographs were used as prompts during the interview to explore changes in their thinking, in their actions, and in their discourse within the context of their professional practice and in the boundary-crossing spaces between the university the workplace.
The research will influence the development of these new modules and will also offer the current students the opportunity to formally articulate how their learning is contributing to the development of discourse and practices in their professional spaces