Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Analysis of the Research and Literature on Diversity in Education Abroad: A Synopsis

Some time ago I conducted a content analysis of the research literature on diversity in education abroad.[1] There were several themes I found across this literature relating to the barriers to participation in study abroad by students of color which include the following:

- Financial Issues (most commonly cited reason)
- Lack of Family Support and/or Needing to Remain Close to Family
- Concerns about Language
- Concerns about Discrimination
- Program Sites not of Interest

Recommendations for Future Research:

1. Need for more rigorous and advanced research. The field needs more Doctoral Dissertations and peer reviewed journal articles specifically focused on diversity issues in education abroad.

2. Need for more quantitative studies. The majority of studies on diversity in education abroad are qualitative in nature and have produced valuable data. However, we need more studies that provide hard data. Results from this type of data and methodological approaches will be helpful in our advocacy efforts both here in Washington, D.C. and on our campuses/organizations.

3. Better data collection in the field. Consider how we can we collect demographic data (institutional/provider or national level) on underrepresented student participation rates for comparison. Also, it is important to disseminate these data/results to the greater education abroad community.

4. Need for longitudinal studies focusing on diversity issues. Replication of a recently completed or current projects known in the field but with a specific focus on diversity issues. Comparisons can be drawn from the data and analysis.

5. Gain a better understanding of the heritage-seeking phenomena.

6. Compare and analyze data on minority student foreign language study, retention rates and other academic issues such as attendance at community colleges vs. four-year institutions.

[1] Data compiled by analysis of Research and Literature on Underrepresentation in Education Abroad: An Annotated Bibliography (© 2002-2006 David J. Comp)

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