As the seven introductory
related in Everyday Lives indicate,
several significant themes emerged from multiple readings of the interview
transcripts and structured the data analysis and subsequent understandings of
adult education decision-making obtained through this study.
These themes transcended both regional and individual differences and
served as organizing principles for the analysis phase of the study.
These three themes intersect in important ways that further complicate
respondentsí stories. For
example, older men typically voiced different concerns about education and
employment than older women. While
men worried about health issues related to physical labor and their declining
ability to perform in the workplace as they aged, women often were concerned
about extended family obligations that potentially included responsibilities for
both grandchildren and ailing parents. Economic
pressures resulting in changing requirements for work have stranded many senior
workers by eliminating their job security, regardless of whether or not they are
still able to successfully do the work. Other
issues such as learning problems, childcare needs, and health concerns also
affected the decisions respondents made about work and education.
These additional complexities are explored in later sections of the
report. The present section
examines how these three primary organizing themes broadly structured the adult
education needs and choices of study participants.