Content-Based or Research-Driven? An Empirical Case Study of Attitudes toward Adult Education in an American Graduate School

Joshua David Reichard


This study comprises a critical comparison of graduate school student and instructor attitudes toward content-based and research-driven graduate school education. The study consisted of a literature review related to adult learning theory followed by the development of a conceptual framework for graduate school education based on the relevant literature. The study included the development of a survey instrument that correlated with the conceptual framework of the literature review. The first eight items on the instrument relate directly to the eight categories presented in the review of literature: metacognition versus memorization, critical thinking versus repetition, interdisciplinary versus disciplinary, and technology-integrated versus technology-independent. The instrument was scored by totaling the values in two categories: content-based and research-driven. The survey was administered to a sample of graduate school students in a single institution (n = 103). Three hypotheses were tested. The findings indicated that while graduate school students and instructors both value research-driven instruction over content-based instruction, perceptions concerning the actualities of instruction were found to be statistically significantly different. In light of the findings, the conclusion includes recommendations for reform in similar graduate school contexts.


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Journal of Studies in Education ISSN 2162-6952


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