School of Education


Doctor of Philosophy in Education (PhD)


Jeffrey Savage


air force intelligence professional, higher education, hermeneutic, phenomenology, intelligence professionals


Adult and Continuing Education | Higher Education


The purpose of this hermeneutic phenomenological study was to understand the lived experiences of Air Force intelligence professionals who decide to pursue a college degree. The study focused on the experiences of 10 current Air Force intelligence professionals who have completed an intelligence studies (or related) program and are currently serving in an intelligence operations group. The philosophical foundation used in this study was Heidegger’s hermeneutic phenomenology, and the secondary theoretical framework that was applied was the expectancy-value theory, which provides the underlying constructs and propositions for how Air Force intelligence professionals make sense of their careers. Lived experiences of Air Force intelligence professionals were collected through interviews, document analysis, and focus groups. Explication was centered on generating interviews, synthesizing situated narratives into general narratives, and generating general descriptions that produced thematic analysis appropriate to hermeneutic phenomenology. This study focused on the gap regarding the unknown lived experiences of Air Force intelligence professionals’ pursuit of higher education. Through the collection of data, the themes that were identified from the collection of interviews were Convenience and Transferability, Marketability, and Outlier Data and Findings.