The Development and Validation of the Distance Doctoral Program Integration Scale

Joe L. Holmes, Amanda Rockinson-Szapkiw


Research indicates academic integration and social integration are predictors of doctoral student persistence at any program stage. However, researchers have not defined, operationalized, and measured academic or social integration consistently. Further, no instruments exist that specifically measure both academic and social integration of doctoral students in distance programs. The purpose of this research was to define distance doctoral program integration, and in turn, develop and analyze the structure, validity, and reliability of the Distance Doctoral Program Integration Scale. Instrument development followed a multi-step process including expert review, pilot test, and exploratory factor analysis. Instrument reliability was assessed using Cronbach’s alpha and test-retest. The results indicated a three-factor structure (i.e., faculty integration, student integration, and curriculum integration). The 32-item instrument is valid and reliable, measuring program integration of doctoral students studying at a distance.



Doctoral persistence; online; social integration; academic integration; faculty

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