Off-campus UMass Amherst users: To download campus access dissertations, please use the following link to log into our proxy server with your UMass Amherst user name and password.

Non-UMass Amherst users: Please talk to your librarian about requesting this dissertation through interlibrary loan.

Dissertations that have an embargo placed on them will not be available to anyone until the embargo expires.

Date of Award


Access Type

Campus Access

Document type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program


First Advisor

David R. Evans

Second Advisor

Sharon F. Rallis

Third Advisor

Tayeb El Hibri

Subject Categories

Education Policy | Higher Education | Other Philosophy


This study investigates the prevailing epistemological and cultural conditions that underlie educational research in Palestine. Using a case study of a major Palestinian University that awards Masters Degrees in Education, the study analyzes the assumptions and the methodology that characterizes current educational research. Using an analysis of approximately one hundred recent Masters Theses, interviews with current faculty members in Education, and an analysis of research articles published by those faculty members, the study reveals that the approach to research is strongly inclined toward positivist/postpositivist, quantitative paradigm. This inclination is supported by the presence of certain societal cultural values that facilitate the acceptance of many tenets found in the positivist/postpositivist epistemologies.

Overcoming such inclination in this context or in any similar context will require opening a space for a better representation for alternative epistemologies and approaches to educational research. This study argues that changing such prevailing conditions must start by critically reviewing and challenging the basic epistemological assumptions that underpin the dominant positivist/postpositivist epistemologies. The study concludes with recommendations that all the parties involved in the conduct, representation, and funding of educational research should seek to promote epistemological diversity while remaining sensitive to the cultural values of the society.