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Doctoral Demeanor, Responsibility, Critical Thinking Essay

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Doctoral demeanor

Demeanor is defined as the appearance of an individual. Doctoral learners are required to have excellent outward expression as they get trained to be leaders, practitioners, and scholars. It has been demonstrated that the outward expression of an individual greatly determines how he or she is perceived by other persons (Mezirow, 1990). If the demeanor attributes are not pleasing other people, the individual could be perceived wrongly by the other persons. In such cases, leaders, scholars, and practitioners could not effectively discharge their duties because of the strained relationship between them and their juniors (Mezirow, 1990).

Various types of demeanor could be demonstrated by individuals in different situations. The following are the types of demeanor that persons could have:

  1. Professional demeanor
  2. Pleasant demeanor
  3. Calm demeanor
  4. Gentle demeanor
  5. Icy cool demeanor
  6. No nonsense demeanor

As they get trained in doctoral schools, doctoral learners should be pleasant, calm, and professional. It has been demonstrated that persons who have professional demeanor tend to attract attention from other professionals. This could be important for doctoral learners aiming to become scholars. Scholars who have professional demeanor could attract attention from professionals from other institutions. The professionals could listen to the scholar because of the professional demeanor he or she possesses. This demeanor could also be important for scholars who could be interested in approaching research funding institutions for research grants. By presenting himself or herself professionally, research fund managers could pay attention to the research proposal drafted by the scholar. The research fund managers could give the scholar funds to conduct the proposed study because he or she looks professional. The professional outlook could make the managers trust the scholar with funds for conducting the study. On the other hand, leaders in the military should have no-nonsense demeanor. The demeanor expressed by military leaders helps military juniors to develop military skills essential in protecting nations against external aggressions. Therefore, various professionals have different outward expressions dependent on situations on the ground. It is important for doctoral learners to adopt an excellent demeanor so that the corporate world could notice them and enable them to grow professionally (Mezirow, 1990).

Doctoral responsibility and accountability

Doctoral accountability and responsibility are essential attributes that should be demonstrated by doctoral learners as they train to be scholars, leaders, and practitioners. Accountability is defined as the ability of an individual to be answerable for actions taken. Being responsible means that a person could be held liable for personal actions or actions undertaken by other people (Mezirow, 1990).

Accountability is subdivided into the following: political accountability, ethical accountability, administrative accountability, individual accountability, and public/private overlap accountability. Doctoral learners should be personally accountable for their actions. They should demonstrate various accountability attributes depending on situations. For instance, a doctoral learner who is conducting clinical drug research should demonstrate administrative accountability, personal accountability, and ethical accountability. If the doctoral learner allows the inclusion of study participants without getting their informed consent, then such a learner should be ethically and personally accountable for the wrong inclusion of study participants. Research demonstrates that individuals who are accountable for their actions tend to act incredible manners in different situations. Persons know that they would be required to account for every action they undertake. Being accountable requires an individual to give the reasons why he or she acted in a manner that was not accepted in certain settings (Mezirow, 1990).

Responsible doctoral learners behave in defined and accepted ways because they could be held liable for the actions they undertake. Depending on the situation, persons could be responsible for their actions or actions by other persons. Leaders, practitioners, and scholars should be responsible citizens who act as role models for other members of society. For instance, academic leaders who unlawfully incite academic staff to take go on strike might be required to be personally and collectively responsible. Collective responsibility could require the leaders to be responsible for actions taken by other staff because they incited them to act in particular ways. Political leaders who incite citizens to hurt others could be incited on crimes against humanity. In such circumstances, politicians could be required to be personally and collectively responsible. Being held responsible for actions in various situations enable persons to live responsible lives. Responsibility could be divided into the following classes: collective responsibility, corporate social responsibility, diminished responsibility, diffusion of responsibility, legal liability, moral responsibility, and professional responsibility, among others (Mezirow, 1990).

Doctoral critical thinking

Doctoral learners are expected to demonstrate a great deal of critical thinking during their studies and upon graduation from doctoral programs (Reynolds, 2011). Critical thinking is defined as a process of making decisions on the level of authenticity of claims. A person with good critical thinking skills can deduce the authenticity of a statement by offering three answers: wrong, partially true, or true. Doctoral learners with good critical thinking skills could use scientifically structured thinking processes to arrive at reasoned conclusions about phenomena. It has been demonstrated that critical thinking skills are acquired through a demonstration of passion and creativity in making decisions (Reynolds, 2011). The following skills should be demonstrated by individuals for them to make critical decisions:

  1. Metacognition
  2. Analysis
  3. Observation
  4. Interpretation
  5. Explanation
  6. Inference

In addition, a critically thinking individual aims at establishing:

  1. Evidence
  2. Context analysis skills
  3. Credible approaches for making decisions
  4. The theoretical framework for analyzing the problem at hand
  5. The relevance of judgments in various situations

Although doctoral learners might possess excellent critical thinking skills, they should be exposed to situations that require analysis of problems and making sound decisions. The exposure could enable the learners to make accurate, credible, clear, precise, relevant, significant, and fair critical decisions. It has been demonstrated that individuals should possess three attributes essential in critical thinking. The first attribute is the attitude which is developed by frequent exposures to situations that call for critical decisions. The second attribute is the application of scientifically proved methods in making logical thinking and reasoning. Scientifically proved methods are essential because they are tested to work in different situations. Adoption of scientifically proved logical thinking methods would go a long way in ensuring that doctoral learners make sound decisions as leaders, practitioners, and scholars in the future. The third attribute is skills in practical applications of the critical reasoning methods. Different methods are used to solve problems in different situations. Doctoral learners are required to be analytical in order to choose the best method to apply to solve phenomena in life (Austin, 2002).

Doctoral learners are trained to become scholars in their areas of specialization (Caffarella & Barnett, 2000). Scholars are expected to provide vital solutions to topical issues in society. For instance, scholars on global warming are called upon to offer solutions on how countries could reverse the effects of global warming by adopting particular industrial and lifestyle approaches. It is only scholars who have excellent skills in critical thinking could offer viable solutions to avert global warming. Doctoral learners could become excellent scholars by developing and applying critical thinking skills. It has been shown that the ability of an individual to make sound decisions correlates positively to the number of exposures to real-life situations (Wellington et al., 2005). Although doctoral training might not practically expose learners to real-life situations, it uses case studies to stimulate learners to think critically and offer critical solutions to the problems contained in the case studies.

Doctoral learners are at the peak of their academic lives (Caffarella & Barnett, 2000). They are expected to demonstrate critical thinking skills in both academic and non-academic situations (Wellington et al., 2005). For instance, a doctoral learner is expected to write a critically thought doctoral thesis as part of his or her doctoral training. Research thesis writing involves the collection and analysis of scientific information about phenomena in life. For instance, a learner might be expected to write a thesis on the effectiveness of some drugs on the treatment of human cancer. The thesis would require a lot of critical thinking to make reasoned decisions regarding the contents of the research paper. The learner could begin by conducting thorough research on the topic from published articles. Because not all articles contain credible findings, the doctoral learner could be expected to use empirical thinking to decide the truthfulness of various study conclusions. The learner could analyze the study procedures for each study so that he or she could decide on the authenticity of conclusions made by study researchers.

Doctoral learners are trained to develop systematic approaches to critical thinking because, upon graduation, they could play key roles in leading their juniors in making critical decisions in their academic work (Austin, 2002). For example, a doctoral learner could be offered an undergraduate class to teach and guide learners to think critically. The doctoral learner could lead students to develop research topics, carry out research, discuss findings, and make evidence-based conclusions. To do this, they need to be guided by academic professionals who developed critical thinking skills in their doctoral programs (Wellington et al., 2005).

Weaknesses of a doctoral learner

Doctoral learners could have three weaknesses during their doctoral program. One of the weaknesses is that doctoral learners may not be initially approachable. Research demonstrates that higher education makes some individuals conduct themselves in unapproachable manners (Gillen, 2003). The learners could think that they could be too important to interact with other persons in society.

The other weakness of doctoral learners is that they could exude a demeanor of arrogance. Arrogant individuals tend to look down upon other individuals in society (Zeegers & Barron, 2012). Doctoral learners could develop a demeanor of arrogance because they could think that they are more learned than the other members of society. Because of this belief, doctoral learners could insult other persons in society.

Doctoral learners could also exude a demeanor of ignorance. Research has shown that individuals taking further studies could ignore other persons in a society based on the assumption that they are less informed because of their low education (Wellington et al., 2005). This is a common weakness among doctoral learners. They rarely interact and share ideas with persons with low education.


Austin, A. E. (2002). Preparing the next generation of faculty: Graduate school as socialization to the academic career. The Journal of Higher Education, 73(1), 94- 122.

Caffarella, R. S., & Barnett, B. G. (2000). Teaching doctoral students to become scholarly writers: The importance of giving and receiving critiques. Studies in Higher Education, 25(1), 39-52.

Mezirow, J. (1990). Fostering critical reflection in adulthood. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Reynolds, M. (2011). Critical thinking and systems thinking: towards a critical literacy for systems thinking in practice.

Wellington, J. J., Bathmaker, A. M., Hunt, C., McCulloch, G., & Sikes, P. (2005). Succeeding with your Doctorate. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Gillen, J. (2003). Socialized subjectivity: exploring the ‘double reality’ of a doctorate of education (EdD) bulletin board. International Journal of Educational Research, 39(8), 873-884.

Wellington, J. J., Bathmaker, A. M., Hunt, C., McCulloch, G., & Sikes, P. (2005). Succeeding with your Doctorate. Sage.

Zeegers, M., & Barron, D. (2012). Pedagogical concerns in doctoral supervision: a challenge for pedagogy. Quality Assurance in Education, 20(1), 20-30.

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