Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

First Advisor

Okpala, Comfort


Studies report that mentoring has a positive correlation with research development of doctoral students in higher education. Ten percent of Black doctoral degree recipients receive their education at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). Therefore, research mentoring at HBCUs should be examined. Understanding these environments can ensure diversity in higher education mentoring, tenured faculty positions, and research funding opportunities. This qualitative case study seeks to collect the research mentoring experiences reported by doctoral students at two HBCUs in the state of North Carolina and to report their perceptions of these experiences for characteristics relative to ten elements of Research Training Environment (RTE) Theory. One-on-one interviews and cluster/focus groups were used to allow participants from HBCUs in the state of North Carolina to share their perceptions of mentoring during their doctoral matriculation and whether or not they believe their experiences have had an impact on their research attitudes and abilities. Codes were created based on the characteristics of RTE theory. Nine of the ten characteristics emerged from the data collected. Member checking was utilized after analysis. Analysis was done using ATLAS.ti software. Interviews were transcribed and coded for emerging themes. Dominant outcomes from the conversations included mentee responsibility, anxiety and frustration about research, peer support and collaboration, a division of responsibility and opportunities, and reference to research as a guided journey. Future implications from this research include training faculty mentors to engage students in research efforts and to follow up on their efforts, implementing strategies that stress the importance of scholarship and industry, and enforcing or reinforcing collaborative research efforts among the doctoral student population.