A large body of literature focuses on ways that learning experiences in colleges of education can combat racist stereotypes while promoting cultural competence. However, because limited research investigates how student research projects (e.g., master's theses and doctoral dissertations) can accomplish these same purposes, additional studies are needed. For this reason, the current exploratory mixed methods study addressed the following research question: “How does the racial identity development of doctoral students from colleges of education align with their experiences of conducting dissertation studies focusing on racial and/or ethnic dynamics in schools, universities, or human service agencies?” The research team used well-established scales to measure the racial identity development of Black and White participants. The team also conducted a series of three interviews with each participant to learn about how racial identity statuses contributed to and responded to the experience of conducting dissertation research with a focus on racial and/or ethnic dynamics. Analysis of interview data pointed to the salience of “advocacy” in the experiences of participants. Advocacy connected to doctoral research by affording opportunities for personal advancement and by affording opportunities to promote social change. Further interpretation revealed differences in the importance of the two types of advocacy for White and Black participants, especially in consideration of their racial identity statuses. Despite such nuances, the experience of conducting dissertation research reinforced all participants’ previous commitments to social justice and advocacy, but it did not help them develop more wide-ranging and systematic strategies for working as advocates of social justice.
Howley, A., Middleton, R.A., Howley, M., Williams, N.F. and Jeanette Pressley, L. (2013), "The Experience of Conducting a Study of Racial or Ethnic Dynamics: Voices of Doctoral Students in Colleges of Education", Boyer, P.G. and Joy Davis, D. (Ed.) Social Justice Issues and Racism in the College Classroom: Perspectives from Different Voices (International Perspectives on Higher Education Research, Vol. 8), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 195-227. https://doi.org/10.1108/S1479-3628(2013)0000008014Download as .RIS
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