School of Education


Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (EdD)


Amy McLemore


African American, Academic Achievement, Contributing Factors


Education | Higher Education


The purpose of this qualitative transcendental phenomenological study was to examine African American males’ perceptions of factors contributing to academic success. The central research question that guided this study is as follows: What factors do African American male students perceive as contributing to their academic success in attaining a four-year college degree? The information in this study could provide knowledge to other African American males, their families, and teachers regarding how these men could experience the same academic success as the participants. The participants consisted of 14 African American males from East Tennessee who graduated from a four-year college. The theories guiding this study are Oghu’s (1986) theory of racial identity development, Bandura’s (1977) social cognitive theory, Vygotsky’s (1962) sociocultural theory, and Bourdieu’s (1979) cultural/social capital theory. Data was collected through individual interviews, a focus group, and a personal narrative from the men participating in the study. The data collected during these interactions was analyzed, and the information that was gathered from this analysis was then separated into meaning and unit themes. These themes were then synthesized into a description of the experiences of the individuals. Once this description was formed, it was used to construct a description of the meaning and essence of the participants’ experiences regarding this study (Moustakas, 1994). Keywords: cultural capital, multicultural navigator, critical race theory, social network, oppositional culture, racial identity development, self-efficacy, and social cognitive theory, social constructivism.