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Gender Representations In U.S. Ed.D. Dissertations: A Feminist Content Analysis, Debora Kay Nelli
Dissertations and Theses
Educational access, achievement and opportunity for students and educators in U.S. educational institutions is influenced and often limited by gender. Although the U.S. Glass Ceiling Commission reports that the gender equity values, beliefs and commitments of institutional leaders are a key factor in reducing institutional gender inequities (U.S. Dept of Labor, 1995), very little is known about the current preparation or evaluation of educational leadership values, especially at the doctoral level (Hess & Kelly, 2007, Grogan & Andrews, 2002; Levine, 2005; Murphy & Vriesenga, 2004).
This study utilized feminist content analysis as a conceptual framework and research methodology to examine the collective gender equity values, beliefs and commitments of educational leaders represented in a key textual artifact of doctoral study, the Educational Doctorate (Ed.D.) dissertation.
This sequential mixed method content analysis examines 15,014 dissertation titles of Ed.D dissertations completed from 112 U.S. public doctoral granting institutions between 1998-2007 to identify 1185 dissertations indicating gender in their title. A purposeful sample of 177 abstracts was selected from emergent themes for further analysis. The final research phase examined a purposeful sample of 9 complete dissertation texts selected from the analysis of the abstracts. The research focused on two questions, 1.) How prevalent is gender focused inquiry in recent Ed.D. dissertation scholarship, from 1998-2007? 2.) What are the cultural gender beliefs and gender conceptualizations represented in Ed.D. dissertation scholarship from 1998-2007?
The findings indicate gender focused inquiry is not prevalent in Ed.D. dissertation titles, in public doctoral granting institutions from 1998-2007; only 7.4 % indicated any mention of gender. The findings also revealed great institutional variation in the prevalence of gender focused dissertations ...