Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Sheryl A. Wendzik completes dissertation in the School of Educational Leadership and Change

Pursuing Passions: A Grounded Theory Study, Sheryl A. Wendzik

This grounded theory study examined the behaviors of people as they find and investigate an activity that interests them. Pursuing passions, the core variable that emerged from the data, is an active process of finding an activity that attracts a person’s attention, stimulates interest through emotion and value, and grows into a compelling focus in that person’s life.

The process of pursuing a passion consists of the four stages of discovering, investigating, executing and living, and mastering. Discovering is finding an activity, either by stumbling upon it, shopping around, or re-exposure and involves two steps—exposure to an activity and grabbing interest. Investigating is finding out more about an activity that interests. Investigating involves researching the activity via several means, such as spoken communication, media searching, observing, training, and dabbling. Executing and living is engaging in the pursuit of a passion to reach a satisfactory level of accomplishment, respect, and/or recognition. Executing and living involves devising and implementing a plan. Mastering is living a passion as a highly skilled and expert performer of the passion. Mastering the passion may involve maintaining the passion by continued training, seeking more opportunities, and diversifying into related areas.

During each stage, people come to points when they have to decide whether or not to continue pursuing the activity. Deciding is a sub-process in the process of pursuing a passion. The steps of the sub-process are weighing factors and/or prioritizing, then deciding.

There are various factors that people encounter when pursuing a passion. The presence or absence of or access to these factors may propel or hinder the pursuit. The manner in which a person responds to the factors often determines whether a factor propels or hinders. The stronger and more abundant the propelling factors, the more likely the success of the pursuit of a passion. Similarly, the bigger and more numerous the hindrances, the more likely the pursuit of a passion will be postponed or ceased. Four factors affecting all stages of pursuing a passion are emotions, character traits, one’s life situation, and resource availability.

Key Words: passion, grounded theory, interest, value, feeling, emotion, character trait, life situation, deciding, discover, investigate, living, mastering

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