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Research Articles

Vol. 15 No. 4

Advising Graduate Students Doing Community-Engaged Dissertation Research: The Advisor-Advisee Relationship

December 8, 2011


A critical dimension in the development of emerging community-
engaged scholars is the advisor-advisee relationship during
the student’s doctoral degree program. A qualitative study of
four doctoral students interested in doing community-engaged
dissertation research, and their advisors, identified five characteristics
of such relationships: (1) background and experience
matter; (2) faculty advisors and advisees are co-learners; (3) the
advisor-advisee relationship can approach a synergistic state; (4)
faculty advisors often serve as interpreters and interveners; and
(5) community-engaged dissertation studies often lack “structural”
support. The findings suggest two practical steps for faculty
advisors to take when mentoring doctoral students who are
doing community-engaged dissertation studies: (1) be sensitive
to, and learn from, the community experience of one’s advisees,
and (2) intentionally model mutuality and reciprocity.