Fostering scholarship in doctoral education: Using a social capital framework to support PhD student writing groups.


East Carolina University College of Nursing, Greenville, NC, United States of America. Electronic address: [Email]


The shortage of nurse scientists in the United States complicates nursing's ability to sustain research-intensive environments, build knowledge for translation, and advance nursing science. More emphasis is needed on the preparation of PhD doctoral students to better equip them for a career of scholarship. Four recent PhD graduates participating in a writing group, examined the influence of social capital on their ability to develop capacity for scholarship. They found that a strong social factor supported their efforts to engage as scholars, be accountable for their writing, and make contributions to the research community. Although the writing group provided a space to practice scholarly writing and increased scholarly productivity, the experience was transformative in building capacity for scholarship. This article includes recommendations for academic leaders to both create and support writing groups within doctoral nursing programs using a social capital framework. Strategies are provided using the three dimensions of social capital: structural, relational, and cognitive. Investing in strategies that build social capital within a community can directly impact the advancement of science by elevating capacity for scholarship.


Doctoral education,Scholarship,Social capital,Writing group,