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ERIC Number: ED527125
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 392
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1241-5671-2
The Decision to Stay: A Multiple-Case Study Exploring College Choice and Persistence Factors of Second-Year Students at Religiously-Affiliated Institutions Associated with the Churches of Christ
White, Patti Jo
ProQuest LLC, Ed.D. Dissertation, University of Arkansas at Little Rock
Factors that influenced the college choice and persistence of twenty-eight undergraduate, second-year students at religiously-affiliated institutions associated with the churches of Christ were examined using a cross-case comparative qualitative analysis. Student pre-college characteristics and campus environment factors were also investigated regarding their influence on the students' decisions to choose a college and to remain for the second year at their respective initial institutions. Four religiously-affiliated institutions associated with the churches of Christ, categorized in four different Carnegie basic classifications, were selected as the sites for the case studies to achieve maximum requisite variety across the cases. These classifications included one Doctoral/Research Intensive institution, one Master's Large, one Master's Medium, and one Master's Small institution. The study was organized around a conceptual framework that identified variables for student pre-college characteristics, college-choice factors, college environment, and persistence-decision factors. Face-to-face, medium-length, audiotaped interviews were conducted with each student, with verbatim transcriptions and institutional archival data used to develop the case studies. The qualitative data were collected and the findings reported. Findings indicated that the variables of greatest influence upon a student's persistence decision varied by institutional type, and were also influenced by combinations of variables within the constructs. The research findings supported the theoretical basis that improved student/institutional fit is a key factor influencing persistence, and may stem from strong academic or social integration with the campus environment. Additional findings supported the concept that a strong sense of spiritual fit or spiritual satisfaction may also be influential upon persistence, due to the permeation of faith-based initiatives within this type of institutional environment. Student development variables also seemed to emerge as influential, as personal-growth issues were often brought forth in the interviews. The strategic response of the institution will continuously play a critical role in the overall persistence picture as the institution must effectively assess all variables, and be prepared to make adjustments in practice or policy as needed. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A