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This research addresses the employment of a decision impact system (DIS) for a group of individuals considering doctoral education in a library and information science program of study. The DIS architecture is based on three Web 2.0 social web-technologies; podcast, blog, and wiki. Phone interviews and web-based surveys were employed to collect data regarding the key players of this case study. The issues and requirements for entry into doctoral studies may differ significantly between disciplines; therefore, this study involves students considering doctoral education in library and information science programs.
The research questions that guided this study can be grouped into three sets. The first set deals with the web technologies employed to build an informal decision impact system that allows for anonymity of participants.
RQ1: Does the use of web technologies provide a forum for e-societies to disambiguate and reduce uncertainty in individual life-style altering decisions?
The second set deals with the individual issues affecting the decision to enter doctoral programs.
RQ2: What are the concerns and perceived barriers to entering doctoral studies? RQ2a: Have these concerns and barriers changed over time? RQ2b: Do the concerns differ among populations of diverse individuals?
The third set deals with increased recruitment and retention of doctoral students once they commit to doctoral study.
RQ3: Does the employment of a decision impact system positively effect the recruitment of potential students? RQ3a: How can e-societies aid the process of anticipatory socialization of doctoral students?
Results of the study will be presented for discussion. Discovery of patterns identified in the study of this decision impact tool will be probed for application in other disciplines offering doctoral degree programs. The researchers will also extrapolate features of the P2h.D Program for application in other areas of decision impact such as business, education, HCI and interface design.
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