College Fund Research

Postsecondary research and recommendations for federal datasets with American Indians and Alaska Natives: Challenges and future directions

June 1, 2018

This article discusses methodological strengths and limitations of federally managed postsecondary data with American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) college student populations. To support understanding, we define fundamental research and measurement validity concepts associated with credible quantitative research. The validity concepts are then applied to dominant culture and AI/AN postsecondary persistence theories. Challenges of conducting scientifically valid research with AI/AN populations using large federally available datasets are considered within the described research and measurement validity frameworks. Our critique focuses on vital needs for culturally relevant constructs and AI/AN subpopulation-specific studies. Our discussion concludes with implications and policy recommendations for postsecondary research with AIs/ANs.

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Native American students studying at tribal colleges and universities located in remote, rural, reservation communities experienced food and housing insecurity and homelessness at much greater rates than other college students, according to the Tribal Colleges and Universities #RealCollege Survey report.

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