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Journal Article

The Strength from Within: A Phenomenological Study Examining the Academic Self-Efficacy of African American Women in Doctoral Studies

Deniece Dortch
The Journal of Negro Education
Vol. 85, No. 3, Why We Can’t Wait: (Re)Examining the Opportunities and Challenges for Black Women and Girls in Education (Summer 2016), pp. 350-364
DOI: 10.7709/jnegroeducation.85.3.0350
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.7709/jnegroeducation.85.3.0350
Page Count: 15
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The Strength from Within: A Phenomenological Study Examining the Academic Self-Efficacy of African American Women in Doctoral Studies
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Abstract

This study used a phenomenological approach to analyze the self-efficacy of two African-American women obtaining doctorate degrees at one predominantly white institution in the Midwest United States. Findings from this study suggested that verbal persuasion and vicarious experiences were the strongest predictors of self-efficacy as the two students attributed their success to supportive peers, family, faculty and engaging in welcoming communities. Student challenges to success included feelings of isolation while developing an academic trajectory, compounded by uninvolved or ambivalent faculty, difficult dissertation committee dynamics, and not asking for help. Self-efficacy provided a useful framework to help understand these experiences and the multiple variables impacting academic success in the context of doctoral studies for African American women graduate students in these types of institutions.

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