The Path to Scholarly Development in Counselor Education: Examining Research Mentoring Experiences of Female Doctoral Students
The purpose of this qualitative study was to examine female counselor education doctoral students' research mentoring experiences during their education in CACREP-accredited doctoral programs. Research mentoring is a dynamic relational process critical for scholarly development of doctoral students (Borders et al., 2012; Dohm & Cummings, 2002; Hollingsworth & Fassinger, 2002). Consequently, this study sought to gain a comprehensive understanding of how research mentoring experiences facilitate female doctoral counseling students' scholarly development. In addition, using the lens of intersectionality, the researcher examined how gender and other identity factors intersects with the development and navigation of research mentoring relationships in doctoral counselor education programs.
The majority of graduate students who enter counselor education programs are women and, yet, little is explored about their unique experiences steering research mentoring relationships and how these interactions may inform their scholarly development to prepare for future careers. Women hold an intersection of identities that can impact their research mentoring experiences. Understanding female doctoral students' research mentoring experiences will help counselor educators to engage in practices that foster female doctoral counseling students' scholarly competencies and their subsequent scholarly productivity. This knowledge can also help counselor educators consider differential factors that inform female students' professional identity development, scholarly productivity, and the overall experience in doctoral counselor education programs.
The researcher used Constructivist Grounded Theory to develop the Female Doctoral Counseling Students Research Mentoring Process Model grounded in the experiences of the participants. Twenty-three female doctoral counseling students/graduates (FCEDS/G) reflected on their research mentoring experiences and described factors that shaped these developmental relationships. A number of program, relational, and individual factors influenced the establishment and navigation of research mentoring interactions. The category of intersectionality reflected the interaction among these factors and the participants' unique intersecting identities within the culture of higher education. The participants also described aspects associated with relational connections and disconnections within mentoring interactions, as well as their experiences navigating power differentials with mentors. The research mentoring outcome categories included the participants' professional development, personal development, and relational growth.
FCEDS/G viewed research mentorship as a beneficial relationship for their scholarly development and socialization in academia. Research mentors fostered FCEDS/G's scholarly competencies, empowered the students to solidify their research interests, and define their emerging counselor educator identity. Noteworthy, students from diverse cultural and social backgrounds admitted that having research mentors allowed them to see their place in academia and learn how to use their unique voices at the "academic research table." The findings of this study informed several implications for counseling programs and research mentors. Study limitations and recommendations for future research are also discussed.