Howell, C. (2014). Black Women Doctoral Students' Perceptions of Barriers and Facilitators of Persistence and Degree Completion in a Predominately White University. Unc Charlotte Electronic Theses And Dissertations.
This study explored the experiences of persistence and degree completion for Black women at a Predominately White Institution (PWI). The conceptual framework used to ground the research was Black Feminist Thought (BFT). The participants were 12 Black women who were currently enrolled in their doctoral programs, but had not graduated, in the colleges/schools of arts and sciences, education, health, and computer sciences, and had successfully completed their comprehensive exams. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with women who self-identified as being Black and enrolled in a doctoral program (PhD or EdD). Interviews were conducted face-to-face or over the telephone. Two key informants were interviewed informally to provide contextual information regarding institutional support resources for minority doctoral students. Data were analyzed for emergent themes through manual coding and the use of computer-assisted software.The findings were organized into personal and institutional barriers and facilitators that contributed to the constructs of persistence and degree completion with primary themes and subthemes. The discussion section linked previous literature to the current study. Institutional barriers revealed significant data related to faculty interactions and key personal facilitators were family and the use of faith. The study findings suggest that Black women do not perceive persistence and degree completion as separate, but rather as a continuum of success.