The perceived barriers toward reading empirical articles among graduate students: A mixed methods investigation

Hesborn O. Wao, Oma Singh, Valerie Rich, Tina N. Hohlfeld, Matthew Buckmaster, Denise Passmore, Christen Tonry, Anthony J. Onwuegbuzie, Qun G. Jiao


This mixed methods study identified doctoral students’ perceptions of barriers that prevent them from reading empirical articles. A secondary purpose was to examine the relationship between the students’ perceived barriers and their levels of reading vocabulary and comprehension. Participants were 148 doctoral students in education at a large metropolitan research extensive university. The students were enrolled in sections of a one-semester research design course offered over a 2-year period. A thematic analysis (qualitative phase) revealed the following six barriers that students perceived as preventing them from reading empirical articles: lack of time (76.4%), psychological physical factors (14.8%), lack of relevancy (10.8%), lack of statistical background (7.4%), language style (4.7%), and accessibility (2%). Lack of time was statistically significantly related to levels of reading ability (quantitative phase). Moreover, students with high levels of reading vocabulary were 3.4 times more likely than were their counterparts to perceive time as a barrier. Also, students with high levels of reading comprehension were 2.8 times more likely than were their counterparts to perceive time as a barrier. Implications of the findings are discussed.


reading empirical research; barriers; reading ability; graduate students; higher education

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ISSN 1527-9316