Washington, Dawn Felicia (2020). Lift ev’ry voice: Using Q methodology to understand the shared perspectives of African American undergraduate students regarding strategies that predominantly White institutions can use to support their persistence in STEM. Doctoral dissertation (Leadership, School Counseling, and Sport Management), University of North Florida, Jacksonville, FL. (Access: https://digitalcommons.unf.edu/etd/949/)

Abstract: In this study the researcher used Q methodology to understand the shared perspectives of African American undergraduate students attending predominantly White institutions regarding strategies and supports that would help them persist in their STEM majors. Q methodology involved two phases. In phase 1, the researcher recruited 13 participants (n =10, female; n = 3, male) to respond to an open-ended questionnaire using the following directions: “List and briefly describe up to 8 strategies that predominantly White institutions can use to support African American undergraduate students’ persistence in STEM.” There were 57 opinion statements generated from this questionnaire along with 50 statements from the professional literature and 6 statements from social media sources online. The researcher then reduced the opinion statements to a representative Q sample that consisted of 43 statements by eliminating repeating statements, combining similar statements, and discarding statements that were impertinent to the initial prompt. In phase 2, the researcher recruited a P set of 30 participants (n = 20, female; n = 10, male) to perform a Q sort of the opinion statements comprising the Q sample. Five factors were identified as representing the most widespread views of the majority of the participants. The collective perspectives of African American students in Factor 1 revealed a need to be supported by the institution in order to succeed academically, Factor 2 revealed a need for diversity and inclusion for everyone, Factor 3 revealed a need for social interactions with other African Americans, Factor 4 expressed a need for support with dealing with issues around science and math self-efficacy, and Factor 5 showed a need for support from the institution with achievement of goals by removing barriers produced by stereotype threat. Results show that institutions should consider providing various layers of support for African American students in STEM including STEM advisors, STEM learning communities, African American social groups, and supportive faculty and staff.

Dawn Felicia Washington <dawn_washington873@hotmail.com> is a graduate of the Department of Leadership, School Counseling, and Sport Management, University of North Florida, Jacksonville, FL.

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