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RSCH FPX 7860 Assessment 3 Qualitative Research Proposal


Capella University

RSCH FPX 7860 Survey of Research Methods

Prof. Name



Many first-generation college students face challenges in accessing essential resources compared to their non-first-generation peers. These challenges include lower academic skills, limited access to advanced coursework, and financial constraints preventing participation in standardized testing.

The aim of this qualitative phenomenological case study is to examine the perceived resource deficits among first-generation college students at a local four-year university in the Northwest United States. The term “perceived lack of resources” encompasses familial, financial, academic, and social support received during college (Roksa & Kinsley, 2019).

Research Questions

  1. What challenges do first-generation college students encounter in transitioning to and through a four-year university?
  2. What recommendations can university administrators implement to reduce the dropout rate among first-generation college students?
  3. How do challenges faced by first-generation college students relate to their utilization of available resources for academic persistence and career goals?
  4. What recommendations do first-generation college students offer for improving their experiences?
  5. How do first-generation college students at a public, minority-classified institution describe the financial resources available to them?
  6. How do first-generation college students at a public, minority-classified institution describe the academic resources available to them?
  7. How do first-generation college students at a public, minority-classified institution describe the social resources available to them?


Philosophical Assumptions or Worldview

The term “first-generation college students” has been utilized since the 1980s to identify differences between first-generation and non-first-generation students. This study adopts an advocacy/participatory worldview to address issues of empowerment, inequality, and societal norms impacting first-generation college students’ access to resources (LeBouef & Dworkin, 2021).

Qualitative Design

Ethnographic research design will be employed to observe and interact with participants in their natural environment. One-on-one interviews will be conducted to gather detailed insights into participants’ experiences. This approach allows for a deep understanding of human experiences and their significance to individuals (Bogdan & Taylor, 1975).

Role of the Researcher

The qualitative researcher will focus on understanding participants’ experiences by accessing their thoughts and feelings. Ethical approval and consent will be obtained before commencing the research, and the researcher will remain mindful of their own biases to ensure unbiased analysis (Creswell & Creswell, 2017).

Data Collection Procedures

Data will be collected primarily through in-depth interviews, supplemented by participant-written descriptions of their experiences. Interviews will be conducted between June and September 2022, with a focus on capturing diverse perspectives from first-generation college students.

Data Analysis Procedures

Qualitative data analysis will involve several steps, including organizing data, creating initial codes, identifying themes, and presenting findings. Cross-validation techniques will be employed to ensure the credibility and reliability of the results (Creswell & Creswell, 2017).

Strategies for Validating Findings

Cross-validation, method validation, and consistency checks will be used to validate the research findings. Multiple researchers will analyze the data independently to enhance the credibility of the results.

Population, Sample, and Participants

Purposive sampling will be utilized to select first-generation college students of varying demographics attending a local four-year university in the Northwest United States.

RSCH FPX 7860 Assessment 3 Qualitative Research Proposal

Anticipated Ethical Issues

Ethical considerations include ensuring anonymity, voluntary participation, and informed consent. The study will adhere to principles of integrity, competence, and respect for participants’ dignity and worth.

Expected Findings

The study anticipates surveying 200 participants, predominantly aged 18-34, from diverse racial backgrounds. Hypotheses include challenges faced by first-generation students due to inadequate support networks and disparities in financial and academic assistance compared to peers.


Azmitia, M., Sumabat Estrada, G., Cheong, Y., & Covarrubias, R. (2018). “Dropping out is not an option”: How educationally resilient First-Generation students see the future. New Directions for Child and Adolescent Development, 2018(160), 89-100.

Bogdan, R., & Taylor, S. J. (1975). Introduction to qualitative research methods: A phenomenological approach (3rd ed.). New York, NY: Wiley.

Creswell, J. W., & Creswell, J. D. (2017). Research Design: Qualitative, Quantitative, and Mixed Methods Approaches (5th Edition). SAGE Publications, Inc.

LeBouef, S.; Dworkin, J. (2021). First-Generation College Students and Family Support: A Critical Review of Empirical Research Literature. Educational Sciences, 11(60294), 294.

RSCH FPX 7860 Assessment 3 Qualitative Research Proposal

Roksa, J., & Kinsley, P. (2018). The role of family support in facilitating academic success of low-income students. Research in Higher Education, 60(4), 415-436.

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