School of Education


Doctor of Philosophy


Susan Stanley


spirituality, social integration, persistence, attrition, higher education, social constructivist theory, support systems, Jamaican Women, Jamaica, Ashleigh Yearde, Yearde, Jamaican


Educational Leadership | Higher Education


The purpose of this transcendental phenomenological study was to discover the perceived spirituality and persistence for Jamaican women who had received a tertiary degree at schools in Jamaica. At this stage in the research, a tertiary degree was generally defined as all formal post-secondary education, including public and private universities, colleges, technical training institutes, and vocational schools. The theory guiding this research was Lev Vygotsky’s social constructivist theory. Constructivists believe that knowledge was informed by perspective and shaped by values. The theoretical framework for the study was based on the positive foundation of social support in the learning process. Moustakas’s transcendental phenomenological research design was used to analyze the data leading to the investigation of perceived spirituality and persistence of Jamaican women who had received a tertiary degree. The sample of this study was 10 subjects, aged 18 years or older, university graduates of any higher education institution in Jamaica, and who identify as Jamaican a woman. The site of this study was undergraduate and graduate institutions on the island of Jamaica. This study utilized triangulation. The following data collection approaches were provided in this study: individual interviews, focus group, and letter-writing. The thematic analysis from Braun and Clarke was used to analyze data. Analysis was done by identifying significant statements in the transcription and indicate the participants' statements that were repetitive and overlapping. The data were analyzed in categorical data aggregation. Patterns were identified with the Qualitative Data Analysis Software, MAXQDA. There were three themes that emerged from the data (a) support systems, (b) intrinsic value, and (c) spiritual support.