A Biographical Study in Qualitative Research Methods

For the proposal to address why a small number of minorities with earned doctorates are employed as faculty in comprehensive public colleges and universities, I have chosen to conduct a research based upon a qualitative approach. The qualitative research will be a Biographical Study.

My philosophical perspective is represented by the hypothesis that minorities are not hired due to the fact that they do not possess the necessary networking skills or interviewing skills needed to obtain doctorate level positions. The purpose of the study would be to identify if the minority applicant fulfilled the necessary paperwork needed prior to the interview and to identify the behavior exhibited during the interview and after the interview.

The qualitative method I have chosen is represented by a Biographical study. A Biographical study is a study of individuals. These individuals describe their experiences in great detail. Subjects of biographies are typically chosen because they have achieved extraordinarily high standards, such as a doctorate degree, within a certain field. The person involved in the biographical study may also be someone who has unique experiences.

In minority hiring, a biographical study may be effective both as a research method and as a clinical tool. The participant and the researcher would both offer insight into the interviewing experiences through questioning and joint exploration into the aspects of the experiences. The mutual investigation may also shed some light into the participant’s past and how the lack of employment has affected the person’s life.

By examining an individual’s life story, the researcher can discover times when the participant overcame or was successfully employed despite being a minority. This may help to gain a better perspective on the limitations or handicapping conditions of being a minority with an advanced degree.

Kansas University officials say they’re worried about their inability to attract more minority faculty and are trying to figure out what they might be doing wrong. But administration critics say the professed concern is only window dressing, not a real attempt to address the problem. “We need to get more minority applicants in the applicant pool,” KU Provost David Shulenburger said Wednesday. “Folks in my office and folks in the (Equal Opportunity) Office will sit down with the deans to figure out a strategy to increase minority recruitment.” Shulenburger said he is reviewing information on minority faculty recruitment submitted by deans and department heads. He requested the information in late July or early August, according to a memo to College of Liberal Arts and Sciences department heads, a copy of which was provided Wednesday to the Journal-World. In the memo, college managers were asked to list instances when prospective minority faculty members were and were not offered campus visits during recruiting for this academic year.

Members of the KU Sexism and Racism Victims Coalition say the effort is in response to complaints they filed with the federal government about minority hiring and retention at KU. “They’ve not been doing tracking of minority hiring,” said Ray Pierotti, associate professor of environmental studies and a coalition member. “This is an effort to appear to be addressing the problem.” Pierotti and his wife, former professor Cynthia Annett lost a lawsuit against the university earlier this year, which turned on allegations KU discriminated against minorities.

Three black faculty members, one Native American and eight Asian or Pacific Islanders were hired for this year. The total number of minority faculty members is 166 for this year. The total number of faculty members for the Lawrence campus is about 1400. “We want to raise the proportion of minority faculty to the same percentage as minority faculty across the nation,” Shulenburger said. “It’s a long-standing goal.” Of the 551,000 faculty employed nationwide about 12.6 percent are minorities. For the Lawrence campus that number would equal about 176 faculty members out of 1,400. In 1995, KU Chancellor Robert Hemenway set the goal of recruiting 200 minority faculty members by the year 2000. In June, the coalition complained to the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs that KU was not living up to a 1995 agreement to bring university programs into compliance with an executive order mandating nondiscrimination at institutions, like the university, which receive federal funds.

As a result, I would plan to identify the hiring procedures of certain human resource associates. The purpose of the proposal is to identify what factors existed that made a non-minority “hirable” and a minority “un-hirable” for the same position. I would interview the minority participant and ask them what was discussed at the interview and what questions were asked? Additionally, I would investigate the last twenty positions that were made available and filled with qualified personnel. A graph and data collection would be interpreted using an SPSS detailed graph and would determine if there was, as literature has shown, a bias against minorities in hiring.

The study population will consist of minorities in Boston and the participants who have applied for doctorate level positions within the Boston college community. These colleges will include studies of Boston College, Boston University, and University of Massachusetts at Boston.

The framework of the study will attempt to identify the positions that each minority had applied for and what their credentials were that made them applicants. Additionally, each college will be interviewed as to their hiring policies and what are the ethnographical make up of the college instructors?

All minority participants will be interviewed about their interviewing experience and what they think is the problem with the hiring procedures?

After reading the two rationales, it is easy to see that there is a distinct difference between minority hiring and non-minority hiring. In fact, at my own school where I am employed, there is only one minority out of 50 faculty members. The worst part of that statistic is the fact that I work in an inner-city school. Half of the student population is a minority.

The first rationale implies that the problem in minority hiring is because the recruitment of minority doctoral is ineffective. However, I do not agree with this rationale and the Biographical Study will show how minorities do not interview well and do not present themselves in manners consistent with the hiring processes of comprehensive public colleges and universities.

The qualitative method used will address why minorities are not being hired in affluent positions of power within the educational field. The Biographical study will address each participant’s experience and will examine the problem of these same minority applicants being “under-prepared” for a competitive work force. Lastly, the study will also show that the lack of networking skills also hampers the hiring process and creates an uneven playing field where minorities find themselves without jobs.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


7 − = two