Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Curriculum and Instruction

First Advisor

John P. Wilson


The purpose of this study was to identify whether the educational experiences of female adult students trigger and/or facilitate perspective transformations. Mezirow (1991) refers to perspective transformation as the process of becoming aware of the context and origin of one's meaning perspective, of critically reflecting on the supporting arguments for one's perspective to allow a more inclusive, discriminating, and integrative perspective, and finally of acting on one's new perspective. Meaning perspectives are the set of habitual expectations and assumptions that people use to interpret and evaluate the meaning of their experiences. Providing students with opportunities to examine their perspectives is necessary for higher education to meet its mission of facilitating the growth and development of the students;Oral history interviews were conducted with twenty randomly selected female adult students. Glaser and Strauss' (1967) grounded theory approach was used to analyze the interviews and to establish themes and categories;Most of the interviewees experienced stressful events or stressful time periods in their life before they enrolled in college. Most considered going to college as an opportunity to make a positive change in their lives, to give them a break from worrying about their problems. In fact, college was able to meet these expectations for them;For some, however, college was able to do more. It helped them to reexamine perspectives they held: perspectives of themselves, of their relationships with family members, of the role of females, and religious perspectives. The interviewees differed with regard to the degree to which educational experiences were able to trigger and/or facilitate perspective transformation. Some individuals revised a perspective and acted on the new perspective; that is, they completed a perspective transformation. For other interviewees, their educational experiences helped them to become aware of their perspectives but did not stimulate them to test the validity of their perspectives. For other interviewees, attending college was meaningful only in the sense that the college degree will provide them with a better position in the job market. Hypotheses on the process of perspective transformations and recommendations for future research are presented.



Digital Repository @ Iowa State University,

Copyright Owner

Maria Renate Vogelsang



Proquest ID


File Format


File Size

151 pages