Graduate Student Dissertations, Theses, Capstones, and Portfolios

Date of Award


Document Type


Granting Institution

Lynn University

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EDD)

Degree Program

Educational Leadership


College of Education

First Advisor

Suzanne King

Second Advisor

Joseph Melita

Third Advisor

Adam Kosnitzky


The purpose of this study was to examine and explore the meanings, patterns, and essence of the lived experiences of Muslim women pursuing higher education, while developing a foundation for Muslim Women's Educational Identity Theory. The goal of the study was to develop a thorough and inclusive description of how identity formation affects the pursuit of higher education in order to increase awareness and develop programs that could improve the rate of pursuit of higher education for Muslim women. The importance of lessening gender bias amongst Muslims motivated this researcher to undertake this study. The research study involved a qualitative phenomenological research approach. Data from multiple sources were collected and an inductive analysis was used to identify themes, patterns, and discrepancies of how identity affects Muslim women's pursuit of higher education. A revised Van Kaam's method of analysis of phenomenological data (as cited in Moustakas, 1994, pp. 120 - 121) was used to support Moustakas' (1994) phenomenological design. This allowed participants to discuss identity and education without having to separate their individual experiences from their religious practice. Finally, seven themes emerged as being significant to the effects of identity development on Muslim women's pursuit of higher education. The findings in this research will help promote awareness of and, an understanding of Muslim women's identity formation and its effect on the pursuit of higher education.



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