It would have to. Even then, both inductive and deductive approaches are available. Deductively, one could either (a) test an existing theory that would be applied to these circumstances and tested. I would probably use interviews of people who have successfully made this journey...and those who have not. The goal would be to see if the theory being tested is valid here and explains how people make this transition. I don't know of an extant theory; that's what a literature review should uncover. Inductively, one could plunge into the data and develop a grounded theory that explains the phenomenon. Again, that is if it is a "thing" and a theory explaining can emerge. Again, interviews, but also any other extant data available, including interviews with university officials who make such decisions. Such a study could make original contributions to scholarship in a couple of different fields--higher education and human capital management come to mind. I could easily see it becoming a doctoral thesis. However, it's been my observation that doctoral committees are sometimes hostile to doing inductive studies because of their somewhat limitless nature. They like deductive studies--grab a theory, write some hypotheses, test them, and write it up. That would be the scholarly approach, appropriate for a PhD. Another approach would be a professional doctoral program and do a thesis that elides theory buy explains the practice itself. Less rigorous, but perhaps more useful. This would be appropriate for an EdD or DBA.