The dissertation. One of the most daunting aspects of pursuing your kinesiology doctorate degree. At Concordia St. Paul (CSP), we have designed an innovative process for the dissertation that helps ensure that your dissertation process is a success. 

“We bake your dissertation milestones into the courses you’re already taking,” says Matthew Buns, PhD, Program Chair for Exercise Science and the Kinesiology Doctoral Program at Concordia St. Paul. “We’d like you to know that simply by doing well in your kinesiology coursework, you are really by definition also doing well with your dissertation and advancing in both of those at the same time. “

In our program, students take four different seminars devoted to their dissertation, starting earlier than usual, in the fourth semester. 

The first seminar focuses on selecting your kinesiology dissertation topic, as well as selecting the faculty advisor whose expertise best matches your project. The second seminar is for drafting literary reviews, in addition to selecting two Concordia St. Paul members for your dissertation committee. The third seminar is for drafting your methodology, and the fourth is for finalizing your dissertation proposal. 

Once you’ve completed the fourth seminar, you will present your dissertation proposal, and upon approval by your committee, will submit it to the IRB. Following approval from the IRB, you will enroll in a dissertation course to continue your enrollment while you complete your dissertation. The preparation seminars will ensure you are well prepared to conduct your research and complete your dissertation.

Action Research in Kinesiology

In addition to offering you more support throughout your dissertation, our process is meant to help you craft a dissertation that isn’t simply about research in kinesiology, but about solving real world problems in kinesiology and exercise science.

“One unique aspect we offer for the dissertation is called action research,” says Dr. Buns. “Action research is different from traditional, PhD-style programs, because the purpose is to connect research to action in professional practice.”

In action research, individuals pick an issue of urgency in their field and offer action recommendations for solving the problem or improving their field. Unlike traditional research, which typically focuses on general populations, action research can focus on local situations, including the student’s current work environment.

You can select any issue of urgency in your field that can lead to an actionable recommendation. For you, this could mean researching ways to improve your field, whether it’s researching better coaching methods you and your colleagues can implement to improve athlete performance, or the psychological impacts of sports injury rehabilitation and ways to improve outcomes. Wherever your passion lies in exercise science and kinesiology, you can craft your dissertation to relate directly to your career. 

“We’re a very action-oriented program. We don’t want you just to complete research and then let it sit somewhere where no one ever knows about it,” Dr. Buns said. “Everything that you do, we want to be connected to some type of action, usually in professional practice.”

Rather than taking a Eurocentric PhD model approach, like traditional doctoral programs, where the program is led by the university and students acquiesce to the requirements, Concordia St. Paul’s program is led by the student. This means you have autonomy in your education and can tailor your research to issues that impact you and your community. 

This means what you learn will be directly relevant to you and your work environment. 

“We don’t adopt a one-size-fits-all approach to our doctoral degree. So you’re going to have a number of opportunities not just in the dissertation process but even through discussion boards throughout most of our courses, where you have choices you can make in terms of the path of expertise that you develop, within the rules of a given course,” Dr. Buns said.

Concordia St. Paul follows the Carnegie Model for applied research, which means students use practical wisdom with professional skills to solve problems in their practice, seeking to cause change for the better using practical research and applied theories.

We’re convinced that our EdD in Kinesiology from Concordia St. Paul will prepare you with industry-relevant experience and knowledge to kick start your career. Request information today to learn more.


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