Date of Award

Spring 5-20-2019

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Secondary Education and Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Karen Embry Jenlink

Second Advisor

Dr. Patrick Jenlink

Third Advisor

Dr. Ali Hachem

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Josephine Taylor


The purpose of this qualitative meta-synthesis is the exploration and analysis of postsecondary students’ perceptions towards accepting and understanding evolution. Evolution as a process and theory is a foundation for understanding the biological sciences. Within the scientific and educational communities, evolution is a central theme tying the fabric of the biological sciences together. A three-tiered analysis was used to determine postsecondary students’ perceptions towards accepting and understanding evolution. This meta-synthesis analysis was guided by the following research questions: (1) What perceived conflicts do post-secondary students face when learning about evolution? and (2) Based on post-secondary students’ perspectives, how do personal religious beliefs influence understanding and accepting evolution? Overarching themes that emerged from this study included students’ perceived conflict between religion and evolution, students’ views of evolution strengthen religious beliefs, students’ religious beliefs and acceptance of evolution are kept separate from each other, evidentiary support is used to accept or deny evolution, exposure to evolution and scientific literacy influence acceptance of evolution, and the environment in which students learn evolution can influence their acceptance of evolution.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.



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