Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of Educational Administration and Foundations: Educational Administration

First Advisor

Wendy Troxel


Research is considered to be at the foundation of the profession of dietetics. It is a required component of the dietetic curriculum and is especially important as a part of the dietetic internship (DI) process. However, there are increasing concerns that dietitians and dietetic educators are not actively involved with research. This disconnect is concerning; therefore, it was the catalyst for the present study. Though many factors likely contribute to this issue, a novel area of inquiry is the influence of the research experiences of DI Directors on the DI curriculum. The theory of experiential learning was utilized as the overarching framework of this study because the experiences DI Directors have with research likely influence the manner in which they manage the research curriculum within their DI programs. Specifically, the purpose of this study was to examine the relationship of the research involvement of DI Directors and their interpretation and implementation of a required research competency (CRD 1.5) for DI programs.

This study utilized a cross-sectional, survey design, which consisted of DI Directors who manage ACEND-accredited DI programs (n = 96). The present study was the first to exclusively survey this target population and topic. The findings demonstrated that participants lack research involvement, as evidenced by the majority of participants being classified into the lowest level of research involvement based upon the research continuum. Research involvement was most related to education/training, professional experience, and research experience. These findings are consistent with previous studies of other dietetic educators. Additionally, the data indicated that the research involvement of DI Directors influences both their interpretation and implementation of competency CRD 1.5. Discriminant analysis revealed that the predictors of level of research involvement differentiated significantly among the categories within interpretation and implementation of competency CRD 1.5. These results support the importance of experiential learning because they show that the research involvement of the participants in this study influenced their interpretation and implementation of CRD 1.5. The findings of this study could be used by DI Directors and other dietetic educators to inform curricular decisions that bridge the research-competency gap between curriculum and practice within dietetics.


Imported from ProQuest Newell_ilstu_0092E_10654.pdf


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