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African American Women Education: Barriers Population Faces

Research Purpose

The present phenomenological study involving African American women aims to explore the barriers that the population faces when seeking higher education. The needs of the defined population are often overlooked by policymakers, teachers, and administrators, which presents a further challenge for their prosperity in a future career (Ricks, 2014). The purpose of the study is to shed light on a significant achievement gap that prevents women of African American background from accessing educational services. However, monitoring the attainment of education and its progress has long been included in the measures of both social and professional success (Carter, 2009).

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Sample Description

Conducting qualitative research, it is crucial to consider several factors prior to defining the sample and its size. The key objective is concerned with recruiting study participants that would be right for the research, which means that they should meet the criteria that are relevant for the study. Sample size should be large enough to sufficiently describe the issue of interest and address the research at hand. However, large sample sizes provide the risk of data repetition (Kaplan, Chambers, & Glasgow, 2014). For the current study, the sample of women of African American background aged between 16 and 25 will be included. The size of the sample is 50 participants; the choice of the sample size is attributed to the need to explore the life experiences of individuals within a reasonable timeframe.

Research Aims

Gaining an understanding of the barriers that prevent African American women from accessing quality higher education is vital for exploring the role of race within the educational context. There is a growing problem of relevant parties, such as policymakers in the sphere of education, failing to understand the multi-dimensionality of the forces at work in learning and teaching, which leads to a temporary approach to the issue (Serdyukov, 2017). Due to the fact that women of color will make up more than half of the US population by 2050, dismissing them out of the national agenda on education is ineffective, educationally unsound, and inequitable (Bowman, Comer, & Johns, 2018).

Furthermore, despite the growing concerns of the public regarding the lack of education among African American females, there is a failure of researchers to explore and conceptualize the complex issues of gender and race. Rather, when scholars study marginalized populations in education, the emphasis is mainly placed on Black men and White women, with limited attention given to the educational challenges of Black females.

Conducting Research

In order to attract relevant study participants to engage, the researcher will use flyers as a tool for disseminating information about the research (Gelinas et al., 2018). For example, the flyers will be posted in approved areas as well as handled directly to potential research participants. The key focus for the dissemination of information is faculty members because they are the target audience of potential participants (Hanneke & Link, 2019). Furthermore, the researcher will request email information of faculty members in order to connect with them online and inquire about their participation. The interviews with staff members were intended to be carried out in the faculty office.


Staff interviews will be conducted in the context of Prince George’s Community College. The interviewed participants will be of African American background because of their capacity to offer insights into the experiences that would be valuable to the conclusions of the study (Alloh, Hemingway, & Turner-Wilson, 2019). Race-specific experiences play an essential role in the study because the subject matter is concerned with what African American women go through when seeking education. The population of interest in the study is highly marginalized, with girls and young women having to adopt coping mechanisms to deal with the issue of gendered racism (Perry, Harp, & Oser, 2013).

Furthermore, these methods are often misunderstood by educators and other school personnel, causing further difficulties in ensuring that African American females receive the education they deserve.

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The purpose of interviewing staff at the community college of choice is associated with the need to understand the general perspective of authoritative figures on the defined problem (Edwards & Holland, 2013). As the staff to be interviewed is of African American descent, it will also be possible to attain an insight into their personal experiences with education, including the barriers that prevented them from attaining education. The issue of discrimination at the educational institution will also be raised in the interviews with college staff members (Kaplin, Lee, Hutchens, & Rooksby, 2019).

This is important because the band-aid approaches implemented by policymakers often neglect the effect that gendered racism plays in the educational attainment of African American women, which is one of the most underrepresented groups. During the interviews with Prince George’s Community College staff, three important questions will be raised. Answers to the questions will offer a researcher an all-encompassing look on the perspectives of educators as well as their experiences when it comes to dealing with the challenges of providing African American women with educational support and guidance.


The first question is “What are the demographics leadership and administrative staff at the institution?”

Response versions:

  1. Our institution is diverse, with people of color being included in both administrative and leadership staff.
  2. I would say that there is not enough diversity in the management makeup of our college, and this could lead to further complications.

The second question is “What institutional procedures are in place to address potential barriers to success for African American women?”

Response versions:

  1. We do provide support and guidance to all students that require the addressing of educational barriers.
  2. I think that there are no specific institutional procedures; instead, every student is dealt with individually based on their needs.

The third question is “What are your concerns of potential barriers to student success overall, including African American women, and how do current college guidelines, policies, and programs address these obstacles to overcome them?”

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Response versions:

  1. My key concern is that young African American women would lack the resources and educational background to become successful in the future.
  2. I am worried that the current guidelines and programs offer only a band-aid approach to the issue, failing to understand the multi-dimensional nature of the issue.


The problem of limitations to the educational achievement of African American women requires more attention on the part of researchers. The proposed qualitative study indents to explore the issue from the standpoint of educators at Prince George’s Community College. Individuals who regularly work with students will offer and insight on whether the existing solutions are useful for addressing the barriers that African American females face in college. Moreover, it is expected to reveal the approaches that are currently being carried out.


Alloh, F., Hemingway, A., & Turner-Wilson, A. (2019). Exploring the experiences of West African immigrants living with type 2 diabetes in the UK. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 16(19), 3516.

Bowman, B., Comer, J., & Johns, D. (2018). Addressing the African American achievement gap: Three leading educators issue a call to action. Young Children, 73(2), 1-10.

Carter, P. L. (2009). Equity and empathy: Toward racial and educational achievement in the Obama era. Harvard Educational Review, 79(2), 287-297.

Edwards, R., & Holland, J. (2013). What is qualitative interviewing? London, UK: Bloomsbury.

Gelinas, L., Pierce, R., Winkler, S., Cohen, I. G., Lynch, H. F., & Bierer, B. E. (2017). Using social media as a research recruitment tool: Ethical issues and recommendations. The American Journal of Bioethics: AJOB, 17(3), 3-14.

Hanneke, R., & Link, J. M. (2019). The complex nature of research dissemination practices among public health faculty researchers. Journal of the Medical Library Association: JMLA, 107(3), 341-351.

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Kaplan, R. M., Chambers, D. A., & Glasgow, R. E. (2014). Big data and large sample size: A cautionary note on the potential for bias. Clinical and Translational Science, 7(4), 342-346.

Kaplin, W., Lee, B., Hutchens, N., & Rooksby, J. (2019). The law of higher education (6th ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Perry, B. L., Harp, K. L., & Oser, C. B. (2013). Racial and gender discrimination in the stress process: Implications for African American women’s health and well-being. Sociological Perspectives: SP: Official Publication of the Pacific Sociological Association, 56(1), 25-48.

Ricks, S. (2014). Falling through the cracks: Black girls and education. Interdisciplinary Journal of Teaching and Learning, 4(1), 10-21.

Serdyukov, P. (2017). Innovation in education: What works, what doesn’t, and what to do about it? Journal of Research in Innovative Teaching & Learning, 10(1), 4-33.

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