Final M.A. Thesis Defence – Julie White, HDLC

Final Thesis Defence

Julie White
M.A. in Human Development, Learning, & Culture

Wednesday August 5, 2020
10:00 am
Zoom (contact supervisor if you want to attend the presentation)


A Meta-Synthesis of Qualitative Research: Features of Academic Programs
that Are Helping Students Who are Refugees to Succeed Academically


Examining Committee

Dr. Laurie Ford, HDLC/SACP (Supervisor)
Dr. Sandra Mathison, MERM (Department Examiner)

Additional Supervisory Committee Member
Dr. Shelley Hymel (HDLC)



The number of persons forcibly displaced worldwide, has surged to levels higher than at any other point in history. In 2019, the global population of displaced persons reached 79.5 million, with 26 million persons forced to cross state lines under the title, or status of refugee (UNHCR, 2020). Half of this population is under the age of 18, with 7.1 million refugee children of school age and the devastating reality that 3.7 million of these school aged children, living in regions without access to school (UNHCR, 2019). In 2018 over 28,0000 Canadian citizens arrived from refugee backgrounds, with 10,999 under the age of 17 (Mendicino, 2019). The present study directs focus to academic settings as offer a viable point of contact and observation for researchers, educators, and community members seeking to gain insight and understanding into the needs and experiences of student population. The present study utilized the methodology of qualitative meta-synthesis to systematically source, appraise, and analyze qualitative research findings in seeking to in question driving the present inquiry addressing the successes of students from refugee backgrounds following resettlement (Sandelowski & Barroso, 2007; Spradley, 1979). The present study thematically analyzed the edited findings from 16 qualitative reports, highlighting the features of academic program shown to contribute to the academic success of students from refugee backgrounds. The results of the meta-synthesis generated seven themes, 26 sub-themes and 90 features that were shown to be significant in facilitating the academic success for students from refugee backgrounds in school.