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D.I.V.A. Diaries

The Road to the Ph.D. and Stories of Black Women Who Have Endured


Cherrel Miller Dyce and Toni Milton Williams

The Distinguished, Intellectual, Virtuous, Academic Sistas (D.I.V.A.S.) is a group of Black women who formed a bond with one another as doctoral students as a means of support on their journey through the academy. The acronym defines the women individually and as an entire group. This anthology can be used as a practical, student-centered sourcebook for Black female doctoral candidates. By providing narratives about the importance of race, class, culture, religion, socioeconomics, and nationality, this book aims to encourage more Black women to pursue a terminal degree and to continue professional development throughout their careers. It provides readers with strategies to sustain themselves while in a graduate program, on the job market, and during the tenure-earning process. Contributors are full of passion as they encourage one another while bringing the reader into their realm of the academic battlefield.
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7. Transition—“Changing the Game”: The Role of Qualitative Narratives in Research and Knowledge Construction


7. Transition—“Changing the Game”: The Role of Qualitative Narratives in Research and Knowledge Construction


It is important to note that qualitative inquiry is not formulaic but multifaceted and includes life history, autoethnography, and portraiture among many other forms. Interwoven like fabric on a quilt, these DIVA narratives present an epistemology that is grounded at the crossroads of research and practice. Essentially, the stories are their constructed realities, seasoned with passion, authenticity, and validity. These are true counter-narratives that underscore the question “Who decides which stories are valid?” and as such creates a new paradigm in social science research where “narrative and story as we imagine them functioning in educational inquiry generate a somewhat new agenda of theory-practice relations” (Connelly & Clandinin, 1999).

In capturing and generating new knowledge, these stories are our attempt to engage in open dialogue with a broad audience that might not as a practice read research-laden text. It is our vision that our words touch the very soul of the readers, not just their intellectual being. Thus, by employing various qualitative methodologies, we pay homage to Sarah Lawrence-Lightfoot’s (2005) sentiments that:

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