An Examination of the Characteristics of First-Generation African American Female College Graduates in Eight Oklahoma Cities

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D)


Higher Edu and Learning Technology

Date of Award

Spring 2013


The purpose of this study was to examine characteristics of first-generation African American female college graduates in eight Oklahoma cities. This study sought to explore external influences or inner characteristics that cause these women to be the first in their families to earn a college degree. This study employed qualitative research using the case study method. Case study research examines a specific issue by exploring one or more cases related to the topic. Data collection involved interviews, documents, questionnaires, and other sources of information. Data were collected from structured interviews, college attendance, and personal strengths forms to measure participant college experiences, individual strengths, and motivations to attend and complete college. Eight purposefully selected participants were interviewed using that same interview questions. Responses from all data collection forms were transcribed, sorted, analyzed, and coded. Interview responses were analyzed and coded to highlight the 3 major categories and 10 dominant themes that emerged. The three major categories were (1) dominant characteristics, (2) major motivations (other people), and (3) major motivations (personal). The 10 major themes were (1) dominant characteristics, (2) individual personal strengths, (3) major motivations (other people) (4) major motivations (others), (5) financial, (6) higher education (7) self improvement, (8) new experiences, (9) roadblocks to degree completion, and (10) circle of influence. Further, all participants had the dominant characteristics of perseverance, determination, individual personal strengths. Additionally, all participants were motivated by personal family factors and financial security.


Madeline Justice

Subject Categories

Education | Educational Technology