Alt Title

Women's participation in advanced and emerging technology programs : Stories of confidence and determination

Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Jeris, Laurel

Degree Name

Ed.D. (Doctor of Education)

Legacy Department

Department of Counseling, Adult and Higher Education


Information technology--Study and teaching--Middle West; Women in information science--Middle West; Computer literacy--Middle West


Gender gaps in advanced and emerging information technology programs persevere as a critical social issue. Women in general do not participate in information technology (IT) programs and thus do not show up in the IT workforce. This produces an imbalance within societal power structures, leaving women voiceless regarding technology development and implementation in the United States. Examining women who participate in advanced and emerging technology programs provided impetus for this study. Conceptually, this study investigated the phenomenon through three adult learning participation models. The models explained participation as being both internally and externally influenced. The participation models also described participation as influenced by past experiences, present situations, and future assumptions. Computer self-efficacy (CSE) also offered structure to this study. Computer self-efficacy supplied a conceptual link between the participation models and women’s participation in advanced and emerging IT programs. Women participating in advanced and emerging technology programs were identified as the sample. Semistructured in-depth interviews, follow-up conversations, demographic data, and CSE scores comprised the data set for analysis. A case by case breakdown and a two-tiered cross case analysis enabled category generation and thematic development. The findings revealed seven categories of influences existed for the participants. Based on the conceptual framework, six categories were classified as external influences, while the seventh was internal. The external influences were further identified as related to past experiences, present situations, and future assumptions. The primary internal influence was identified as high CSE. The findings ultimately showed that the participants’ external influences were less influential on participation. From this critical finding, themes were developed and a new participation model suggested. Through the development of a participation model designed to explain women’s participation in IT, a contribution to adult participation research results. This exploration also provides momentum for additional inquiry into CSE, skillsspecific participation models, and the relationship between gender, race, culture, and participation.


Includes bibliographical references (pages [195]-203).


x, 216 pages




Northern Illinois University

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