Am I an imposter? Navigating the research journey of university faculty




Researcher education, identity, self-efficacy


University faculty are charged with advising graduate students through their degree program and equipping them with skills needed to conduct research, but there is limited literature that observes researcher identity development from student to tenured professor. Using self-efficacy as a guide, this phenomenological study examined the research journey of 19 university faculty to better understand the process of researcher identity development. Data were collected from faculty at three annual research conferences regarding four life stages: (1) first contact with research, (2) dissertation, (3) early-career faculty, (4) post-tenure and/or promotion. Findings indicated faculty navigate researcher identity crises following the transition from graduate student to faculty, and researcher identity must be self-identified before accepting external validation as a researcher. Adequate development as a researcher is imperative for graduate students to be effective future members of the academy, which relies on confident, effective faculty advisors to teach them. Our study reports practical suggestions to better prepare graduate students for careers as faculty by setting them up for early research success, as well as strategies to help reduce researcher identity crises experienced by early-career faculty.


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How to Cite

Shellhouse, J., Stedman, N., & Bunch, J. C. (2023). Am I an imposter? Navigating the research journey of university faculty. Advancements in Agricultural Development, 4(3), 1–15.




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