Date of Award

Winter 12-1-2004

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Teaching & Learning


This research posed three broad questions about perceptions of adult Saudi Arabian women living in Midwestern states of North Dakota, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. Specifically, the questions explored were: (I) What were the women experiencing while living in the Midwest? (2) What did the experiences mean to the women? and, (3) How did the women interpret their experiences? The purposes of this research were to amplify the women's ''voices'' and to add to the limited base of qualitative research on Saudi Arabian women. Interviews and brief observations of 13 native Saudi women were the main for1ns of data collection, and rigorous data analysis methods inherent in a grounded theory approach were done. From the methodologies used, a low-level substantive theory was presented, supported with quotations and observations, and illustrated in a visual model. The quotations and visual model further explained the meanings and interpretations associated with the women's perceptions. The final theory showed that the women were experiencing, referred to as the central phenomena, (I) an appreciation of American services and a positive view of Americans, and (2) mixed/negative reactions to the Midwest, concerns about American culture, and negative American perceptions of Saudi women. The causal conditions, those factors that may cause phenomena to appear, were identified as the religious/cultural no1ms of Saudi Arabia and the women's reasons for coming to the Midwest. In response to the phenomena, the women used several strategies to adjust to the Midwest. These strategies were (I) to maximize positive perceptions by using time in the Midwest to pursue educational opportunities and engage in activities, and (2) to minimize negative perceptions through religion, family, and friends. Several contextual and intervening factors that influenced the women's choice of strategies were identified. Three consequences of using the strategies were: (I) most of the women did not plan to remain in the U.S., (2) positive changes and exchanges in viewpoints about and with Americans, and (3) the realization that most Americans had little knowledge about Saudi women. Finally, benefits, personal reflections, and recommendations for future research were offered.