Running head: Chapter 3

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Running head: C
hapter

3

1









Chapter 3

Gopa Patnaik

San Diego State University

Research & Writing

ED836C

Dr.

Luke

Wood

November 29, 2012

CHAPTER 3

2


Methodology

This
chapter

is concerned with the research paradigm and methodology employed
in this
study which
examines

the lived experiences of Iraqi refugee students in postsecondary education.
This chapter

includes a description of the research site, how participants were selected, collection
of data and analysis procedures and the researcher’s observations.
To pro
vide
context to the
collection and analytic procedures used in this study the
purpose statement and research
questions are restated in this chapter.

Purpose Statement and Research Questions

The purpose of this study is to explore the experiences of Iraqi refuge
e students in the
community college system. More specifically, this research will investigate the process by which
Iraqi refugee students adapt to new educational institutions as well as a new homeland, hereafter
referred to as dual adaptation. The goal of

this study is to enhance understanding of the barriers
and support mechanisms that affect Iraqi refugee students’ college adaptation process. It is the
intent of the researcher that study findings will be used by campus administrators to implement
strateg
ies, programs, and policies which enhance the success of Iraqi refugee students. Bearing
this in mind, the primary question
s

guiding this study
are
:

1.

What are the transition experiences of current Iraqi refugee students in the community
college system?

2.

What

specific problems
if any
do these students face?

3.

What factors contribute to their success in college?

Th
is

researcher seeks to
understand
these
lived
experiences
of Iraqi refugee students in post
-
secondary education
through the lens
es

of a research paradigm

and theoretical framework
which
is explained in the following section.

CHAPTER 3

3


Research
Paradigm

A research paradigm is a theory or system of belief that
guides the c
onceptualization and
operation

of
research.
P
aradigms
encompass three
areas of consideration
s
: ontology (What is
reality), epistemology (How do you know something?) and methodology (How do you go about
finding out?). These constructs allow
researchers

to develop a universal view of how
individuals
understand
themselves

in re
lation to this knowledge and the methodological means
utilized to

create new knowledge.

O
ntology is a set of beliefs
regarding

the nature of reality.

Some of the main questions
about ontology are

what exactly exists and which categories they can be found
in?

What are

the
meanings of being and their various modes of being
?


Ontology
in qualitative research
examines

questions such as

who is known rather than
how

it
is known. The researcher
reflects what
identity of the known subject is being assumed
, what concepts are being approached through and
what theories
govern these concepts and

to which paradigm

those concepts belong to.

It is simply
not about establishing theory limits but consideration of an individual’s
unlimited nature
(Vasilachis de Gial
dino, 2009).


Reality as
defined by

the Merriam
-
Webster dictionary is “something that is neither
derivative nor dependent but
exists

necessarily”.
For something to be real its existence must be
confirmed by some means of direct or indirect interaction, measurement, and observation.
Different fields of discipline

such as Physics, Philosophy, and Sociology,

shape

their own
theories of reality.


The soc
ial construction of reality in the social sciences states that individuals
and groups interacting in a social system
over a time period create concepts of each other’s
actions which ultimatel
y translate into reciprocal roles played by the actors in relatio
n to each
other.
These roles when offered to other members of society to participate
,

the reciprocal
CHAPTER 3

4


interactions become
institutionalized
.
This
institutionalized

process creates meaning in society.
Knowledge and people’s belief of what reality is becomes
part of the institutional fabric of
society.
R
eality is t
hen believed to be socially constructed (Berger & Luckmann, 1966).

A

realist sees

reality as a law of nature waiting to be discovered, the critical realist
fo
r
example views the world as structured,
differentiated and changing

(Roy, 1978)
.
Critical realists
believe that
one’s own

position as a human being influences what is being measured, and the
relativist supposes that knowledge is a social reality and comes to light by means of individual
interpre
tation.


Reed (
2001)
noted
that critical realists are involved with identifying causally
effective

mechanisms.
These m
echanisms are lasting and
are concerned more with explanation instead of
prediction
.
Critical realist

discriminate

between a
reality independent
of what one thinks

(intransitive dimension) and one’s thinking of it (the transitive dimension)
.
Social reality consists
of social constructs that exist independently of the diverse ways in which they can be broadly
constructed and unde
rstood by social scientists and other social actors situated in a varied range
of socio
-
historical situations (Reed 2001).










Critical theory holds that reality is constructed over time when society, politics, economy,
gender, ethnicity shape str
uctures that are perceived as normal
. Individuals are co
nnected to their
environment which influences their knowledge of reality.
For example language constructs
reality of a person.

Epistemology is a set of beliefs about knowing.
It is concerned with w
hat is knowledge
and how do people know whether they

have

knowledge
,

and what provides a justification of that
knowledge
,

are some of the principal questions
(BonJour, 2002)
.

Our beliefs about knowledge,
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5


establishes our beliefs about learning. It is our
perceived relationship with the knowledge we are
discovering
,

and if we are part of the knowledge or external to it. One’s perceptions will
structure the interaction with what they are researching and is dependent on their ontological
view.

Methodology in
volves how
researchers seek
knowledge and carry out
their

research. It is
a more strategic approach, rather than the use of techniques and data analysis

(
Wainwright,
1997)
.

Disciplines are generally guided by particular paradigms
.

T
he epistemology I will
be
adhering to is the Social Constructivist world view
.

Social constructivism refers to meanings
formed through interactions with others and through historical and cultural norms that occur in
individual’s lives (Creswell, 2009).
The Social Constructivist
paradigm is based on the
assumption that individuals seek to understand the world they live in and work. They acquire
subjective meanings of their involvements which are derived from social contexts (e.g., spaces,
interactions, processes, approaches, syst
ems). The diverse and numerous meanings are then
viewed by the researcher. The goal of the researcher is to depend mostly on the participant’s
views of the situation under study

for example
what has the participant persona
l
l
y

experience
d
in
the adjustment process to a new environment and
a new system of education.
The questions
are

general
ly

broad
, allowing the participant to construct meanings and encourage dialogue and
involvement with other people. By developing open
-
ended questions the

researcher will be able
to gather insight into the participant’s life situations in and out of college and enable the
researcher to gain a deeper understanding of a social and cultural phenomenon. These subjective
meanings are influenced by social and cul
tural norms and historical factors. For example social
and cultural norms include constructs such as family, religion, language, art, life settings, etc.
and historical factors include political changes, wars,
migration etc.

CHAPTER 3

6


The importance of culture and c
ontext in understanding occurrences in society and
constructing meaning out of these experiences form the basis of Social Constructivism

(Derry,
1999
;
McMahon, 1997)
. Many contemporary theories are based on this perspective such as the
developmental theori
es of Vygotsky and Burner, and Bandura’s social cognitive theory

(Shunk,
2000)
.
This paradigm allows the researcher to focus on the specific contexts in which people
operate and observe how their interpretation
are

influenced by participant’s personal, cultural
and historical experiences. The researcher’s intent is to seek meanings and inductively develop a
theory or pattern of meaning.

The specific assumptions inherent in social constructivism is based on reality,
knowledge
and learning. The construction of reality is through human activity. The properties of the world
are invented together by the members of a society

(Kukla, 2000)
. Social constructivists believe
reality does not exist prior to its social invention

and cannot be discovered. Knowledge is
considered to be a human byproduct which is constructed through social and cultural means
(Ernest, 1999
;
Gredler, 1997
;
Prawat & Floden, 1994)
. Meanings are fashioned by individuals as
they interact with each other a
long with the environment they live in
. As such, learning is viewed
as a social process and meaningful learning takes place through an individual’s engagement in
social activities
(McMahon, 1997)
.

Social meanings are created by intersubjectivity among individuals when
communications and interactions involve ideas of the world. Intersubjectivity refers to the
multiplicity of
possible relations
between people’s
perceptions (
Gillespie & Cornish, 2010)
.

An
individual’s

ideas

of the world are based
upon a social basis, social patterns and linguistic rules
and usage (Ernest, 1999). Social meanings and knowledge are constructed through
CHAPTER 3

7


intersubjectivity among individuals. These constructs evolve through the

process of negotiations
within communicating groups. Personal meanings are formed by way of these experiences and
are influenced by the intersubjectivity of the community to which the people belong
(Gredler,
1997; Prawat & Floden, 1994).

Intersubjectivit
y offers the basis for communication and aids in
understanding of newly acquired information and activities among group members

(Rogoff,
1990
;
Vygotsky, 1987)
.

Knowledge is derived from collaborations between people, their
environment, and their placement
within cultures
(McMahon, 1997; Shunk, 2000).

Acquisition
of knowledge is based on intersubjectivity formed by the historical and cultural factors of the
community. This makes it easier for members to comprehend new information and activities
occurring in
the community
(McMahon, 1997;

Shunk, 2000)
.
The next section leads into the
theoretical framework that will be utilized by the researcher
. Theoretical frame works

provide
the skeleton of the research and brings the researcher’s perspective into the study.

T
heoretical Framework

Pierre
Bourdieu’s notion of habitus and forms of capital
serve

as
the theoretical
framework for this research
.
Bourdieu’s concept of habi
tus refers to class
-
based ideas of one’s
place in the world
.
I
ndividuals belonging to the oppressed class,
often
internalize their
inferiority
.
According to Bourdieu (1977), schools add to the reproduction of existing power
relations in society by favoring the dominant class of students. Bourdieu
and

Passeron (1990)
conclude that schools commit symbolic violence to underserved student populations
by
esteeming the culture and values of the dominant class. Most refugees in higher education are
English as Second Language
(ESL)
students

who often face additional challenges compared to
their native English speaking students
. These challenges are often a
ttributed to the
lack

of

CHAPTER 3

8


linguistic capital which is necessary for achieving educational success. For educational
institutions to be able to impose symbolic violence to underserved students it is necessary that
students accept
perceptions of inferiority as

valid
.


Symbolic violence" is a term first coined by
Pierre Bourdieu, a French sociologist, anthropologist, and philosopher. Symbolic violence
involves a misrecognition of actions. Individuals and groups are regularly marginalized and
dominated in society
. In cases where this violence is symbolic, the subjugated individuals see
their domination as natural. By viewing different social constructions as natural, the dominated
agents participate in their own subjugation. Symbolic violence is perpetrated by bot
h the
dominator and dominated subconsciously through the use of classification systems, gift giving,
a
nd participation within society (Symbolic violence
, 2012)
.
For instance

most

refugee students
are
ESL students and internalize this violence by
acknowledging the importance of English
competence in U.S. higher education.

Bourdieu’s concept of habitus provides understanding of the processes of social change
and analysis of power in development. “Habitus” refers to “socialized norms” that shape thin
king
and behavior. It is a social process that creates lasting and transferrable patterns from one context
to the other but also transfer to specific contexts over time. Habitus is not permanent and can
change under unanticipated circumstances spanning ext
ended historical time periods
(Navarro,
2006)
. Habitus is constructed by interplay of free will and structures over a time period, shaped
by past events and structures and influenced by current practices and structures (Bourdieu 1984).
Habitus is transmitt
ed within the home and is a set of attitudes and value
s

and determines the
actions of the members of the class
. Higher education is valued positively by the dominant class
which results in upper class students persisting successfully in the education syste
m while
working class students are more apt to drop out of the education system.

CHAPTER 3

9


Refugee students in
their dual adaptation process
are
influenced

by the concept of habitus
as they come in greater contact with the culture of their new homeland and
its
educational
institutions. It is in th
is

adaptation process

that their habitus changes

as they socialize to the
norms of
their new environment
which influenc
es their thinking and behavior

patterns.

Educational institutions are considered to b
e the field for

social change

and
can
influence their
social identity.
Since habitus can be altered and reshaped
the social identity of
refugee students
in post
-
secondary
education may become influenced
in the
process of interaction with

individuals from

main stream culture
.


The second important concept of
Bourdieu

is “capital”
. Bourdieu
there are three forms of
capital
which are
economic, social
,
and
cultural, or symbolic capital
.

(Bourdieu, 1986).

Bourdi
eu’s concept of s
ymbolic capital
represents
prestige, honor , attention
which are

perceived as sources of power.
Cultural capital

and social capital can be transfer
red

into
economic capital a
nd institutionalized
through the education system.

As noted by Bourdieu
(1986) cultural capital is connecte
d to economic capital which refers to money and property,
symbolic capital refers to status and legitimacy, and social capital relates to networks and
connections.

Cultural capital
can be further categorized into three
types, which are the embodied

state,
the objectified state, and the institutionalized state. The embodied state involves the work one
does for oneself. This entails personal cost and time investment.
This form of capital cannot be
transmitted instantaneously and the social conditions
of this transmission are more latent than
economic capital.
This embodied state is often referred as symbolic capital because often times it
is not viewed as capital

(Bourdieu, 2001)
.

Cultural competence in education institution
s involve

navigating through

the
college

system
and utilization of campus resources.


CHAPTER 3

10


The objectified state is a type of capital that is transferable by legal ownership for
instance ownership of a
physical
painting

and other cultural products.
cording to
Bourdieu

people view social order as “cultural products” which include education systems, language,
judgments, values, and daily life undertakings and ways of classification leading to unconscious
acceptance of social differences and hierarchies while creating one
’s sense of the world.

The final type of cultural capital is the institutionalized state such as academic
qualifications.
Academic qualification enables one to achieve a certificate of cultural
competence.

An individual’s
social
capital

is the total of t
heir potential resources that are
connected to a lasting network of
institutionalized relationships of mutual connections and
recognition. One’s association with this group
backs

each of
its members

with collectively
owned capital. The volume of the social capital held by a person
is relevant to the size of the
network of connections that can be accessed effectively.
It is important for refugee students to
acquire cultural capital
through education

so

that
they
gain the ability to adapt and
acquire skills
to
work with people in their new environment.

According to Bourdieu these various forms of capital are transferable across generations.
Educational success
includes a whole range of cultural behavio
r and influences non
-
academic
aspects as well such as accent,
clothing and
life styles in general. Those who have ownership of
cultural capital
also have
ownership

of economic capital.
Bourdieu notes that
social capital is the
aggregate of resources actual or
virtual that

belong to an individual or group
who possess a
strong network of
institutionalized relationships that consist of mutual acquaintance
s

and
recognition
s
(Bourdieu & Wacquant, 1992)
.

CHAPTER 3

11


Bourdie
u
explains economic capital as a principle of domination in capitalist society.
Economic capital is related to cultural capital which enhances th
e wealth of a particular class and
relates to command over economic resources such as cash assets.

Social capital refers to resources based on group membership, relationships, networks of
influence and support.
Bourdieu’s theory on different forms of capital focuses on how structures
and institutions play a part in producing inequality.
Educational inst
itutions also play a role in
reproducing inequality by favoring the dominant class.
According to Bourdieu the education
systems in
industrialized

countries
often f
unction in ways that legitimize

class inequalities. In
order to attain post
-
secondary educati
on individuals need to possess the cultural capital

of higher
class habitus. Refugee students lack all forms of capital such as social, cultural,
and economic
capital and are subject to class inequalities in educational attainments.
Bourdieu states that
educational credentials promote inequalities as higher

class individuals are seen to have the right
to their place in
the
social structure

(Sullivan, 2002)
.
Educational credentials provide the means
through which wealth and power are transmitted.

Refugee
students lack linguistic capital and social competency in their dual adaptation
process
. These are major barriers on

their path to higher education.

A third important concept of Bourdieu is the idea of ‘fields’ which represent various
social and institutional grounds wherein people express and produce their dispositions and
compete for the different forms of capital
(Gaventa, 2003)
. A field comprises a

network,
structure or sets of relationships which could be intellectual, religious, educational, cultural, etc.
(Navarro, 2006). People experience power based on which field they are in at a given moment.

The final important concept of Bourdieu is that o
f ‘doxa’ which combines both orthodox
and heterodox norms and beliefs. These comprise of unstated and taken for granted assumptions
CHAPTER 3

12


that base how we make distinctions. Doxa occurs when we cling to relations of order as they
structure the real world and the

thought world inseparably and is accepted as self
-
evident.
Bordieu’s theories encompass an extensive body of sociological research. This spans a wide
range of social issues which he accepts as a method which is a part of social change.

Immigrant and ref
ugee students who achieve academic success and make their way to
flagship universities continue to face challenges that native speakers do not experience due to
their linguistic challenges. They try to conquer their linguistic challenges by studying harder

and
putting in a lot of extra effort but found dealing with nonlinguistic barriers was much more
difficult. These nonlinguistic challenges are institutional constraints that apply to ESL students’
lack of finances, and their unconscious acceptance of thei
r social differences that leads them to
self
-
eliminate themselves as full members of the university.

Refugees when moved to new countries are subject to symbolic violence

and lack not
only material assets but are deprived of social,
cultural and linguist
ic capital. This is often
experienced
in their dual adaptation process in which they adjust to their new homeland and
make their way into post
-
secondary education


Methodological Overview


Qualitative research deals with complex interpretations of the huma
n experience and their
relationship with social and cultural systems. It is highly interpretive in nature and is concerned
with understanding of a natural world. As stated by
(Denzin & Lincoln, 1994)
, qualitative
research focuses on multimethod means that
are interpretive and naturalistic. The multimethod
means combine multiple ways, empirical tools, perceptions and observations in a single study
which then can be used as a strategy that adds to the dep
th and breadth of other studies
. Creswell
(1998) noted
qualitative research is a process of inquiry that seeks to understand a social and
CHAPTER 3

13


human problem based on well
-
defined methodological traditions of inquiry. The research is
conducted in a natural setting and draws a holistic picture by analyzing words and
views of
participants.

Gall, Borg, & Gall, (1996
)

defined qualitative research as the inquiry that is
established in the supposition that humans create social reality by constructing their own
meanings and interpretations which tend to be impermanent and c
ircumstantial. Dickson
-
Swift et
al (2007) noted that qualitative research attempts to retrieve the human story and it will be
necessary to remember the human side of the work. Creswell (1998) categorizes five traditions
of qualitative research: phenomenol
ogy (exploring the life of an individual), grounded theory
(developing a theory grounded in data from the field), ethnography (describing and interpreting a
cultural and social group), and case study (developing an in
-
depth analysis of a single case or
mul
tiple cases). This researcher seeks to study the essence of experiences of refugee students in
their dual adaptation process and will utilize a qualitative methodology based on
phenomenology.

Guided by a phenomenological research design, the researcher pl
ans to conduct a study
that will examine the lived experiences of
refugee students
. This calls for exploring and
understanding the meaning individuals give to social or human problems in and out of their
interactions with a human community (Creswell, 2009)
. According to Creswell,
phenomenological study consists of “Researchers search for essentials, invariant structure (or
essence) or the central underlying meaning of the experience and emphasize the intentionality of
consciousness where experiences contain

both the outward appearance and inward consciousness
based on memory, image and meaning” (
Creswell, 2009,
p.52).


Phenomenological inquiry is deeply rooted in German philosophy and seeks to
understand the essence of lived experience. Researchers conductin
g phenomenological inquiry
CHAPTER 3

14


focus deeply on the meaning of a specific characteristic of experience, with the expectation that
through dialogue and reflection the very core essence of the experience will be derived.
Language is the principal agent through wh
ich meaning is both constructed and conveyed
(Holstein & Gubrium,
1994)
. This methodology is particularly suitable for my study as it seeks
to understand meanings and perspectives of participants comprising of Iraqi refugee students. It
is concerned with h
ow the daily inter
-
subjective world is constructed
(Schwandt, 2000)
.
Knowledge is derived from experiences of research participants and therefore cannot be
ascertained as absolute fact
s.

The core of phenomenologi
cal inquiry is
based on
the e
ssence of
individual

experiences

that
are extracted
w
hile

the researcher
seek
s

to understand how a
phenomena is

being
experienced

(Patton, 1990
).

This research process involves developing questions, procedures, data collection, and
analyses that move from specific

to general themes. This utilizes an inductive method which
includes making a general inference from specifics. The researcher’s focus will consist of
interpreting the meaning of the data collections and focus on individual meanings of refugee
students in

higher education.
The major form of data collection for eliciting the inner perspective
of refugee students will be by interviewing these students. Patton (1990) stated that the rationale
for interviewing is to find out what is the inner subjectivity of a

person i.e. what are the
perception of lived reality of these individuals.

Research Site

This study will be conducted in
East County

Community College

(ECCC)
which
is

located in San Diego East County.
ECCC

is the third largest community college district in
Southern California
serving approximately 20,000 students. Students are diverse and 45.1% of
students are White, 24% Hispanic, 12% Asian/Pacific Islander, 7.7% Black, 11.2%,
CHAPTER 3

15


Approximately 55.6% are female

and 43.5% are male
(California Community Colleges
Data
analysis
Chancellor’s Office
, 2012).


The vision of
ECCC
College is
concerned with changing
lives through
education
. The
mission of
the college is to afford
exceptional
learning opportunities that pre
pare students to
meet
the

needs

of the community

and future
demands

of a complex, global
economy
.
The ECCC
d
istrict fulfills its mission by providing
excellent
undergraduate education
that result in
providing

certificates, associate degrees
,
and transfer;
outstanding
career and technical education programs
that prepare students for workforce entry and advancement; Comprehensive student development
and support services that help students succeed in meeting their educational goals; Engaging
educational servic
es that meet learners’ needs in basic skills, English language proficiency, and
lifelong learning; and Responsive social and economic development programs and community
partnerships

(
California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office, 2012)
.


Participant Se
lection

The
participants

of
this

study will be incoming Iraqi refugee students in their first year at
ECC
College who immigrated to the US and have received no formal
postsecondary
education in
the US.
To participate they must be
:

18 years of age

as requir
ed by the Institutional Review
Board at SDSU

to protect youth who are considered minors
.

Since this researcher aims to study
the dual adaptation process of refugees in postsecondary education and their new environment, it
will be important to interview
students who are new to the U.S. education system in order to
understand their unique experiences.

ECCC is committed to providing leadership by promoting
learning opportunities that prepare students to meet the needs of a complicated democracy and a
globa
l society.
It
is committed to providing an outstanding learning environment that empowers
diverse people to follow their hopes, dreams,
and reach their full potential and evolve into
CHAPTER 3

16


enlightened leaders and effective citizens for

local and global
communiti
es
(California
Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office, 2012)
.

Refugee students are also
part of the ECCC
community and can benefit from the mission and goals of the campus.

Recruitment methods

Participants will be recruited from the Educational
Opportunity Programs and Services
(EOPS) Department

at ECCC. This is a feasible approach for contacting the students

since most
of the refugee student population is part of this program. The Chair of the department will be
contacted
to
obtain

permission
fo
r recruitment purposes

and proper procedures followed
regarding confidentiality.

A d
iverse range of students will be recruited from differing age groups, gender, and
levels of education achieved prior to their arrival in the U.S. so that diverse perspecti
ves maybe
derived. Students have to be currently enrolled at
ECCC
. The dual adaptation process of Iraqi
refugee students adapting to the community college and their adjustment process in their new
homeland will be examined which involves environmental, soc
ial, and cultural factors.

Sampling techniques

Maximum variation sampling seeks representativeness
by including wide range of
extremes.
This sampling form is also
sometimes referred as
maximum diversity or maximum
heterogeneity sample

which
is a special
kind of purposive sample.

Purposeful sampling involves
the selection of cases which are rich in information for
conducting
in depth

study. I
t is useful
when the sample size is very small and when no population information is available.
This form
of samplin
g involves the purposeful picking of a wide range of variation on dimensions of
interest

and covers unique or diverse variations that emerge in adaptation to different conditions.
CHAPTER 3

17


Common patterns that cut across variations are identified

in this method of sampling
(Patton,
1990)
. This researcher seeks to study the lived experiences of refugee students in higher
education and will need to interview
Iraqi refugee students from different education levels, work
experience, previous levels of e
ducations achieved and the like.
Convenience sampling will be
used by recruiting t
en

refugee students for interviewing purposes from the Educational
Opportunity and Services Department

(EOPS)
.

Most of the refugee students are part of the EOPS
program.

Perm
ission will be sought by contacting the chair of the
EOPS
Depart
ment prior to
recruitment process.

Rapport

Rich and meaningful data from participants will be gathered directly from the interview
process. The researcher will establish trust and rapport with

each refugee student by creating a
non
-
threatening environment. As a qualitative researcher it is vital to establish a rapport building
process from the very beginning so that participant disclosure maybe facilitated in a comfortable
manner.
(Lee, 1993)
;
Le
e & Renzetti,
(
1993)

state that in research interviews, the intensity and
frequency of self
-
disclosure may differ according to the sensitivity of topics
(Acker, Barry, &
Essevald,
(
1991)

state that qualitative research entails reciprocity between the researc
her and the
participant as they share facets of their experiences with each other.

Bearing this in mind this
researcher will share some personal adaptation processes that she underwent when she
first
immigrated
to this country. This researcher also
attended post
-
secondary education in the U.S.
and underwent

similar experiences in the process of acculturating to both a new home land and
different education system
s
.

According to
D
aly

(
1992)

this reciprocal sharing of experiences
contributes to the dept
h and quality of the data collected.
The researcher
will inform
participants

that they may ask any questions before the interview began
.

CHAPTER 3

18


Data Collection

Data collection will involve one to one interview and will be conducted in
a room at the
Student Servic
es Center
. Each participant selected for the study will be asked to tell their
particular story based on previously prepared questionnaire. Permission will be obtained from
participants to audio record to preserve the conversation.
Students will be assured

that everything
will be confidential and their names will not be mentioned.

The taped session will be transcribed
and the tape will be destroyed after completion of transcription.
These students will need to
understand and learn the mission, the culture,

the expectations, the skill levels, attitudes and
behaviors expected of them to be successful college students in the community college system.

Instructional faculty including ESL instructors, counseling faculty and basic skills math
instructors will be c
ontacted as to their perceptions and experiences in serving
the
immigrant
students

at ECCC
.

The researcher will also contact
ECCC

Institutional Research Division
regarding data
concerned with demographics of the students served.


Data Analysis

Data will
be transcribed and then analyzed using a software called Saturate. The
transcription literally transforms spoken words into a printed copy by capturing the words of the
participant in a precise manner
(Sandelowski, 1994)


The researcher will listen to the
interview tapes several times to familiarize with the data each
time they listen.

Data analysis will start with open coding and emerging main themes will be grouped into
categories. Selective coding will be used to explore relationships between codes and
will be
CHAPTER 3

19


compared to theory and existent literature. These codes will be further categorized to reflect
different aspects applicable to the research (Charmaz 2002). Analytic memos will be created
after data is analyzed to the point of saturation.


Positionality of the Researcher

The researcher’s interest in this study sprang from her experiences as
a
Counselor in a
C
a
lifornia Community College.
As a general

counselor,
she works with a diverse range of
students from different ethnic, socioeconomic an
d educational backgrounds and helps them
accomplish their
educational goals which include
personal counseling, basic skills, career and
transfer education planning.
Many of the students
are
comprised
of
recent refugee immigrants
from the
Middle East

and ne
eded help in planning their educational goals but in the process
many issues related to acculturation, adjustment and personal issues
surfaced. These students
face tremendous barriers in their path to
achieving

educational goals
. They lack language skills,

deal with issues related to war and
migration;

suffer from post
-
traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
and other mental health related is
s
ues.
They arrive at a time of economic crisis in the state
California and resources are scarce both at the community colleg
e level and in the employment
sector. The researcher assumes that resources could still be utilized
and strategized
effectively
to
enable this population to succeed in their educational pursuits and become productive and
contributing members of their new homeland.
There has not been much research conducted
regarding the needs and obstacles faced by these
recent
refugee students in
their pursuit of
acquiring education and
acclimating

to their new homeland.

Therefore this researcher plans to
provide information that will provide insight
into
Iraqi
refugee students experiences in higher
education.


CHAPTER 3

20


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