Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Education, Educational Leadership & Policy Studies

Date of Defense

12-14-2012

Graduate Advisor

E. Paulette Isaac-Savage, Ed.D.

Committee

Ann Steffen

Angela Coker

Clark Hickman

Abstract

Although there have been numerous studies on adult education participation and on adult religious education, little is known about Jewish women’s participation in adult education. A key component of the Jewish religion is lifelong learning, which is nurtured in Jewish people from an early age. Research has indicated that Jewish women participate in adult Jewish educational programs at higher rates than their male counterparts, yet there is a lack of research into what motivates them to engage in these learning opportunities. This research study was designed to examine Jewish women’s motivations and participation in adult Jewish educational programs. A survey was designed to identify the motives as well as the characteristics of women who participate in adult Jewish education. This survey was developed using a modified version of Boshier’s Education Participation Scale, Isaac, Guy, and Valentine’s instrument as well as conferring with rabbis and Jewish educational leaders. One of the objectives of the study was to identify adult Jewish women’s most and least important motivations for participation in Jewish-based educational programs. In order to do so, the means for the individual items were calculated and placed in rank order from the highest to the lowest. Another goal of the study was to identify and describe conceptually meaningful dimensions of motivation. This was accomplished by employing an exploratory factor analysis in which a series of models using varimax rotation was utilized. The final question of the study was to determine if there is a relationship between selected background variables and the identified factors. To determine the correlations, both Pearson and t-tests were conducted. Results of this study may assist religious leaders, program directors, and community and national organizations to better meet the needs of adult Jewish women learners. Furthermore, this study may enable them to draw new audiences to their programs and construct new programming with a wider audience appeal. Findings from this study will also broaden our knowledge relative to adult education participation and motivation.

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