Dana Michelle Harris Ph.D. Higher Education Dissertation Defense: “The Academic Binary: How Blackwomen Choose Between the EdD and the PhD”
Abstract: Enrolling in a doctoral program is a difficult decision to make. When a discipline offers two doctoral degrees with no apparent distinction, the consideration and application process becomes even more difficult. Scholars have argued the differences between the EdD and the PhD for almost a century. Nevertheless, few studies have explored how students differentiate between the two degrees to enroll in one over the other. This heuristic research (Moustakas, 1990) describes 20 Blackwomens’ doctoral program choice experience. Essential to note that heuristic research is designed to include the principal collaborator’s occurrences and relationship to the phenomena to co-define the experience under investigation with the collaborators (Moustakas, 1990). Putting forward a culturally relevant qualitative data collection method that highlights Blackwomen’s unique communication patterns, Sistachat not only brings Blackwomen’s voices from the void (Morrison, 1988) but also supports naming their knowledge on a nearly 100-year-old scholarly debate about the differences between the EdD and PhD. Data from this study revealed that 1) gendered racism and gendered racialized socialization influence Blackwomen to pursue doctoral study in education, 2) Blackwomen have differential access to the information-gathering, 3) perceived access to one program over another has implications on decision-making, and 4) Blackwomen employ identity alignment to select either the EdD or the PhD.
Keywords: Blackwomen doctoral students, doctoral program choice, EdD and Ph.D., culturally relevant data collection methods
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