Date of Conferral





Human Services


Elaine Spaulding


This interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA) study was implemented to explore

and describe the initial and long-term motivations of community volunteers within a selected homeless shelter in central Indiana. The settlement house movement of human service delivery was the conceptual framework, which provided guidance and understanding concerning why and how community members provide human services through volunteerism. The research question examined the ways in which long-term volunteers thought about and made sense of their motivations to volunteer initially and over the long term at a homeless shelter. To answer the research question, the IPA methodology was implemented with 6 long-term community volunteers at a selected shelter. This design provided rich qualitative text that was analyzed to develop themes to explain and describe how the 6 study participants made sense of their individual motivations descriptively, emotionally, religiously, and socially. The overarching conclusion was that all 6 participants shared a common theme, which was Evangelical tradition, volunteerism, and social responsibility. This new finding provides a first look at the motivations of community volunteers, previously unknown in academic literature, and indicates a key subgroup of volunteers that may be the focus of future research on assisting community shelters with recruiting and retaining community members for the effort to eradicate homelessness in the United States.