My Narrative is Not What You Think It Is: Experiences of African Americans in a Doctor of Education Program

Shametrice Davis, Leslie Reese, Cecelia S Griswold
International Journal of Doctoral Studies  •  Volume 15  •  2020  •  pp. 199-216

This paper examines the experiences of African American students in a doctor of education program at a comprehensive university in Southern California.

Qualitative case study methodology and critical race theory is used to highlight asset rather than deficit narratives of the participants, illuminating another aspect of commonly understood experiences for underrepresented students in education.

Qualitative case study methodology was used for a sample of 14 African American doctoral students in the Southern California area. Critical race theory provided a framework through which to support data analysis and subsequent findings.

The original contribution of this paper is the asset-narrative of African American doctoral students at an institution that is not research-driven.

Findings assert that (1) asset narratives of African American students need to be highlighted, (2) action-research as an option for dissertation completion is important for Ed.D. programs, and (3) racial identity of African Americans is complex, therefore broader understandings of black identity are needed, and must be coupled with anti-deficit ideology.

Recommendations for practitioners include expanding understandings of African American identity coupled with anti-deficit ideology to enhance student interactions with both faculty and peers throughout doctoral education.

It is suggested that future research continue to focus on doctoral student experiences in institutions that are not research intensive.

This research provides an original contribution by furthering understandings of the complexity of the African American experience with identity, research, and doctoral education experiences.

Future research should focus on other underrepresented populations in doctoral education at universities that are not research-intensive.

African Americans, critical race theory, doctoral education
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