Off-campus UNL users: To download campus access dissertations, please use the following link to log into our proxy server with your NU ID and password. When you are done browsing please remember to return to this page and log out.

Non-UNL users: Please talk to your librarian about requesting this dissertation through interlibrary loan.

‘You just know’: A phenomenological study examining how to recognize when you are called

Kevin L Warneke, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


This phenomenological study describes the experiences of 12 residents of a Midwestern community who were identified by their peers as possibly possessing a calling. The central research question was: What are the experiences that lead to feelings of strong commitment in their lives? Calling was defined as a summons, which originates outside of one's self, to serve a cause that betters humanity. Participants described the strong commitments they felt in their lives and explained their origins. Five themes emerged from the semi-structure interviews: (a) "You have to be asked and respond to being asked"—the role of a mentor in one's calling, (b) the call to service: "It just happened", (c) calls can come at unexpected times, (d) answering a call can be rewarding—but those rewards aren't always obvious, and (e) secular callings can come from a religious calling. The essence of recognizing one's calling was the realization that a calling can come at a moment's notice—even if it isn't immediately recognized—and the source of this call can be a summons to serve—society, and one's God, family, community and profession.

Subject Area

Social research|Communication|Organizational behavior

Recommended Citation

Warneke, Kevin L, "‘You just know’: A phenomenological study examining how to recognize when you are called" (2012). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3505148.