School of Education


Doctor of Education in Curriculum & Instruction (EdD)


Lucinda Spaulding


doctoral student persistence, Asian women, culture, distance education, women in higher education, acculturation


Curriculum and Instruction


It is well documented that doctoral attrition is a concern, and research into subgroups of doctoral student populations is needed. Researchers have begun to examine the experiences of women in distance education doctoral programs, but the experiences of women from Asian backgrounds have not been the direct focus on any research to date. This transcendental phenomenological study described the persistence experiences of Asian American women pursuing distance education doctoral studies. Tinto’s (1975) theory of student integration served as a foundation for understanding how an individual’s academic and social integration affects persistence. In addition to Tinto’s theory of student integration, Berry’s (1980) theory of acculturation provided a lens to explore how changes in cultural attitudes, values, and behaviors impact academic endeavors. The participants in the study were women (N = 11) in the United States with Asian descent who shared the educational journey of completing a doctoral degree through distance education within the last ten years from an accredited university in the United States. Data was collected through a demographic survey, Distance Doctoral Program Integration Scale (DDPIS), timelines, and one-on-one interviews. The qualitative analysis indicated that determination, serving as a role model, ethnic background and cultural influences, and support from faculty, peers, and family were all contributing factors in the persistence experiences of Asian American women in distance education doctoral programs. Data analysis indicated that level of satisfaction from institutional factors such as the faculty integration, student integration, and curriculum integration from their doctoral programs, also contributed to the persistence experiences of Asian American women in distance education doctoral programs.