Motherhood in academia: a grounded theory pilot study of online texts

CohenMiller, A. (2013). "Motherhood in academia: a grounded theory pilot study of online texts." The Researcher 25(1): 47-66.

Issues of gender in the workplace are a persistent issue in the U.S. The gender gap is particularly enhanced within academia, with academic mothers facing particular challenges. To address this issue of motherhood in academia, more needs to be known about the problem. Previous research tends to look at the experiences of faculty and graduate students through interviews or work-family policies to (in)formally assist parents with balancing career and caretaking duties. This grounded theory study adds to the literature in a new manner by looking beyond experiences and policies and instead concentrates on the phenomenon of motherhood as seen through an online source focused on an academic audience. By utilizing contemporary technology to focus on this topical problem, an expanded understanding can be achieved. Results from an analysis of texts on Chronicle.com revealed four primary themes: personal experience/story, biology, academic pressures, and advice. These emergent themes developed into a mid-level theory that explains the phenomenon of motherhood in academia online.

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