Phenomenological Study on Persistence at 4-year Public Universities Among Black or African American Military Veterans

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D)


Higher Education Leadership

Date of Award

Spring 2022


The purpose of this qualitative phenomenological study was to identify patterns and experiences of Black or African American military veteran students as they maintained persistence towards completion of their degree. This design used the social cognitive theory, the self-efficacy theory, and the composite persistence model. Three research questions guided the study: (1) Which patterns exist or emerge when Black or African American military veteran students persist in remaining or enrolled at a university? (2) What are the positive and negative experiences that influenced an African American military veteran student to remain at or enrolled at a university? (3) What supports or preparation will help with military veterans’ degree completion? The interviews examined lived experiences of three Black or African American military veterans in an online or traditional environment. The researcher conducted audio-taped, one-on-one (Zoom) interviews. Data collection consisted of a semi-structured interview protocol, a demographic questionnaire, and field notes. The researcher transcribed interviews using Temi.com (online audio to text automatic transcription service and application with encryption and advanced speech recognition software). Computer software served to extend thinking and creative innovation (Marshall & Rossman, 2016). Member checking and peer debriefing ensured transferability, credibility, trustworthiness, reliability, and accuracy of data. The researcher utilized NVivo 12 software for word clusters, pattern development, and thematic development to discover similarities or contrasts in the literature reviews (Creswell & Poth, 2018). The researcher’s literature review identified factors inherent to veterans successfully implementing strategies used to attain their goals. Literature searches and web research linked (a) cognitive development, (b) self-efficacy, (c) persistence of military veterans, and (d) lived experiences of Black or African American military veterans as essential in consideration of factors that may influence behavior. The findings revealed participants’ self-efficacy in working in cohorts and with former student classmates, building relationships with faculty, learning by observing successful instances of goal attainment, and the propensity to overcome challenges related to family and unique to military veterans. Keywords: Black or African American military veteran, attrition, persistence, retention


Seung W Yoon

Subject Categories

Education | Educational Leadership | Higher Education