Exploring female graduate students' multifaceted and intersecting roles and identities in a complex educational milieu /
Skorobohacz, Christina A.
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This qualitative phenomenological investigation explored six female Master of Education students' critical understandings of their identity and role negotiations, and their perceptions of environmental conditions that facilitated or impeded their identity explorations and negotiations within the institution. The interweaving of Feminist and Women's Development theories enabled the data to be examined under different, yet complementary, lenses. The data collection strategies included: four to five in-depth semistructured interviews, three take-home activities (involving identity mapping, object and metaphor identification, and strategy development), and the compilation of extensive interview notes as well as researcher reflections. The combination of a constant comparative method and a voice-centered method were used in tandem to analyze the data. Together they uncovered five emergent themes: (a) intricate understandings of key terms; (b) life-long learning and transformative pathways; (c) gender issues; (d) challenges, tensions, and possibilities; as well as (e) personal, professional, and educational implications. The findings underscored the possibility for both a singular static identity and dynamic multifaceted identities to exist in tandem, and the emergence of natural or logical identity intersections, as well as disjointed or colliding identity intersections. Ultimately, it is the continuous negotiation of internal and external spheres that contributes to the complexity and multidimensionality of graduate students' identities.