Experiences of Select Women Doctoral Students: A Feminist Standpoint Theory Perspective

Valerie T Byers, Rachel N Smith, Kay E Angrove, Leah McAlister-Shields, Anthony J Onwuegbuzie


This mixed research study of the experiences of select women doctoral students was guided
by feminist standpoint theory. Specifically, the standpoints of 8 women doctoral students
were examined, with 2 men doctoral students included in the study for comparison purposes.
This study involved the inclusion of participant-researchers in order to obtain emtic (i.e., both
emic and etic) viewpoints. A fully mixed concurrent dominant status design was utilized.
Findings revealed 4 themes which indicated that although the women doctoral students
received support and encouragement to tackle the multitude of challenges that they faced,
particularly in terms of balancing one’s academic identity with other identities, they still felt a
strong sense of remorse and guilt towards the sacrifices that they had to make in order to
succeed within their doctoral programs—in contrast to the men doctoral students who,
although they felt some guilt, faced their challenges more by focusing on achieving their
goals and the implied results (i.e., career success) of that achievement. These findings have
important implications—at least for these students—with regard to the structuring of doctoral

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5296/ije.v7i1.6982

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