Why Minorities are Underrepresented in US Faculty Positions

In the last module (#3) we examined the appropriate qualitative methods to be used for the research. In this case, the research was to examine why minorities are underrepresented in faculty positions in colleges and universities in the United States. It was my assertion in the previous module to rationale that these minorities do not possess the necessary skills to be hired. I am not making the hypothesis that they are not educated, but in fact they are not given the exposure required and needed to make networking connections to competitive teaching positions within the colleges and universities.

The three phases discussed by Ian Baptiste involve the analysis of qualitative data and it’s purpose for research. I would apply all of Baptiste’s phases of data analysis with regard to the data collected in the last module.

The first phase mentioned by Baptiste is asking the researcher to define the analysis. The purpose of defining the analysis is to determine the goals of the analysis. Additionally, it is a valuable time for the researcher to determine what represents appropriate and sufficient information and how to gather, record, interpret, and relay the information in more understandable ways. This continual process begins with the initial hypothesis of the study and proceeds with the collection of data, reduction, and write-up. In regards to my own hypothesis, I would define the analysis to by determining the goal of the research. My goal would be to be able to demonstrate the defensible notion that minorities are not included in certain networks that aspire to hire college instructors. Minorities are considered “outside” the inner circle of college professor demographics and minorities experience difficulty breaking into the inner circle to be recognized as equals.
Within the first phase Baptiste mentions four different parts.

These parts include Ontology, Epistemology, Axiology, and Causality. Since research is an attempt to investigate something, in this case, the hiring of minorities, the first part (Ontology) is attempting to determine what is “real”. Reality is a hard concept to embrace when you are making a hypothesis. Are minorities “really” being overshadowed because of the color of their skin and because they don’t have a relative working in human resources? The second part of phase one is called Epistemology, which deals with the nature of knowledge. This is an intrecal part because it requires the researcher to determine exactly “what” he/she is trying to answer? For example, am I trying to suggest that human resource procedures in colleges are bias or am I suggesting that minorities do not have the skills of networking within dominated Caucasian fields of labor? Is there one correct answer or am I attempting to produce multiple answers. For this research question I would be attempting to answer the one question posed earlier.

The third part of phase one is called Axiology, which is determining the role and place of the researchers value in research, the role of the research subjects, and the appropriate way to use research products. I think it would be harder for me to separate my research from the participants and the issue if I was in fact a minority. Additionally, if I was at a point in my career where I found my similar experience mirrored that of my hypothesis, it might also be an issue to consider. I am confident that I will be able to separate my personal values from influencing my analysis. The fourth and final part of phase one is called Causality. All research is the attempt to form associations between ideas, people, and experiences. Since I am a firm believer in causality, it is easy to suggest that I intend to state that “this” has caused “that” based upon my analysis of the data.

The second phase mentioned by Baptiste is referred to as “Classification”. This phase consists of two thoughts: tagging data and grouping the tagged data. Once the data is tagged or labeled, the analyst places the similar characteristics into the same group or categories. This process requires the analyst to be very thorough in his/her data collection before it can be labeled. I would label the data according to the interview results conducted with the participants. The categories would be separated based on upbringing, personality, social class, finances, and interviewing experiences.

The third and final phase mentioned by Baptiste calls for the analyst to make connections. It is at this point that the analyst constructs stories and theories based upon the data collection. I would hope through qualitative measures that I would be able to draw a clear connection between lack of opportunities for advancement and minorities. The following methods of collecting information are listed below. Included are the advantages and disadvantages of each method.

Surveys
Advantages
�¯�¿�½ Survey many people
�¯�¿�½ Does not require a lot of time
�¯�¿�½ Objective
Disadvantages
�¯�¿�½ Short in detail
�¯�¿�½ Sometimes hard to get surveys completed and returned.

Interview
Advantages
�¯�¿�½ Able to ask for more details
�¯�¿�½ Researcher understands how people are interpreting the question
Disadvantages:
�¯�¿�½ Time consuming
�¯�¿�½ Subjective
�¯�¿�½ Can be expensive

Observation
Advantages:
�¯�¿�½ Objective
�¯�¿�½ Low stress for participants providing data
Disadvantages:
�¯�¿�½ Time consuming
�¯�¿�½ Not all things are observable data
�¯�¿�½ Participant behavior may be dictated by observer presence

Focus Groups
Advantages:
�¯�¿�½ Responses may generate helpful discussion
�¯�¿�½ Able to interview multiple participants at one time
Disadvantages:
�¯�¿�½ Not all participants will feel comfortable in a group setting
�¯�¿�½ Inhibition to communicate openly by participants

Portfolios
Advantages:
�¯�¿�½ Collection of broad range of work
�¯�¿�½ Usually the best piece of work is selected
Disadvantages:
�¯�¿�½ The scores may be interpreted in terms of quality and should be considered subjective.

Records and Documents
Advantages:
�¯�¿�½ Objective
�¯�¿�½ Inexpensive
Disadvantages:
�¯�¿�½ May not correspond to exactly what the researcher wants
�¯�¿�½ May need special permission to use

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