Latino success stories in higher education: A qualitative study of recent graduates from a health science center. Page: 17
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To illuminate the pathways that Latino students take through higher education and to
discover the possible reasons for their success at a health science center, the voices of the Latino
students themselves are important. By assigning value to the voices of participants, in this case
Latino graduate students who have been academically successful by graduating, researchers can
uncover patterns or relationships among the participants within a community.
Life history analysis, as a form of qualitative research, focuses on the ability of the
researcher to gain insights into a broader phenomenon by understanding the specific aspects of
specific people's lives (Cole & Knowles, 2001). This methodology was chosen by the researcher
for its attention to pathway analysis.
The interview technique used for this study was predominantly nondirective, since it
allowed participants to discuss their pathways and recall the events that were most important to
them. A set of preliminary questions was distributed to each participant prior to each interview,
and the researcher encouraged each participant to help compose the interview questions. This
approach stressed the collective nature of gathering data for life history research (Cole and
Knowles, 2001). Four influences were covered in in-depth interviews. These influences were
derived from previous studies and research (Enright & Gitomer, 1989; Marin & Marin, 1991;
Pace, 1980; Padilla, n.d.; Tinto, 1998). The four influences were 1) family background, 2)
cultural background, 3) educational background, and 4) personal perception and goals.
Each interview took place in person when possible, via telephone when not possible. The
interviewing cycle for each participant took place during a 1-month period. Interviews were tape
recorded and transcribed, then sent to each participant for his or her comments and approval.
These transcripts were then coded using the mind mapping technique. Themes were also
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Colley, Kay Lynne. Latino success stories in higher education: A qualitative study of recent graduates from a health science center., dissertation, May 2007; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc3687/m1/27/: accessed July 21, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .