Ethnicity and time -to -degree: Experiences of women social work doctorates
Crayton, Blenda Renece
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The purpose of this study was to examine the educational experiences of White women and women of color who completed their social work doctoral studies between 1990 and 2003. This study followed an exploratory and explanatory research design. Data were gathered by the use of a modified instrument titled Opinions About Graduate Education, originally developed by Carlson (1995) for her study titled An Examination of The External Factors That Influence Midlife Women's Behavior to Persist in Obtaining a Graduate Degree. The current researcher added items to the background information that characterized the study population and the doctoral program they attended.;A convenience sampling design was used. The sample population was obtained from three primary sources; the 2001--2002 and 2002--2003 publication of the Minority and Women Doctorates Directory, the Council of Social Work Education membership data base, and the National Association of Deans & Directors of Social Work Programs. The sample population consisted of two groups: (a) White women, and (b) women of color. One hundred and thirty-six questionnaire packets were mailed. The final sample population consisted of 70 women (30 women of color and 39 White women, one respondent failed to indicate her race), for a response rate of 51%.;This study addressed three major research questions: (a) What is the relationship between ethnicity and time-to-degree? (b) What barriers or facilitators relate to ethnicity? and, (c) What factors influence the time it takes for women in general to complete the social work doctorate?;The hypotheses were tested using several measures, T -tests, One-Way ANOVAs and Pearson Correlations. There were expected and unexpected findings. The expected findings revealed that family constraints and health problems affected the length of time to degree completion. In addition, faculty support served as a facilitator to completing the degree in less time. An unexpected finding was the relationship between ethnicity and time-to-degree. That is, the findings revealed no relationship between ethnicity and the length of time it takes to complete the social work doctorate.;Implications for doctoral program administrators, faculty and women considering a doctoral education are presented in the discussion of the findings as well as considerations for future research.