Exploring the Reflective Experiences of Disadvantaged Children in 4-H: A Phenomenological Study
School of Education
Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (EdD)
L. Daniele Bradshaw
4-H program, Socioeconomic Status, Rural Communities, Possible Selves
Mbaye, Cherise Marcella, "Exploring the Reflective Experiences of Disadvantaged Children in 4-H: A Phenomenological Study" (2019). Doctoral Dissertations and Projects. 2208.
The purpose of this transcendental phenomenological study was to understand how adults, who grew up as disadvantaged children, were influenced by their experiences in a 4-H program located in rural southern Virginia. The research question central to the study was, “How do adults who grew up as disadvantaged children describe their experiences in a local 4-H program within rural southern Virginia?” The theory guiding this study was Markus and Nurius’ (1986) “possible selves” theory (p. 954). I collected data from 11 participants via interviews, focus groups, and replicas of artifacts. Post data collection, I used preset and in vivo coding to analyze the data and identify major themes using Moustakas’ modification of the Stevick-Colaizzi-Keen method (Moustakas, 1994). Six major themes emerged from data analysis: (a) 4-H experiences provide exposure to diversity, (b) 4-H participation builds character, (c) 4-H experiences provide a foundation for building life skills; (d) 4-H experiences influence present and future identity, (e) 4-H experiences provide new opportunities, and (f) education is essential to success. Adults, who grew up as disadvantaged children, perceive their experiences in the local 4-H program positively. These experiences creating a lasting impact on participants’ lives. The study’s implications may aid in the continuous improvement of the 4-H program and encourage youth to get involved in the 4-H program.