ERIC Number: ED329815
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1990-Aug
Adding Context to the Study of Gender: Considering the Self-Context of the College Student.
Frieze, Irene Hanson
Although a large body of research has investigated the possibility of motivational or attitudinal differences in men and women that would explain observable differences in levels of achievement, much of this research has failed to produce results. The failure of researchers to consider the characteristics of their college-student samples may have contributed to this lack of results. Some of the relevant variables include those provided by the context of the typical laboratory experiment. Other context cues emerge from an analysis of the life stage of the typical research subject. This paper focuses on context limitations inherent in the use of undergraduate psychology students as research subjects in traditional laboratory experiments. It is argued that the purposeful ignoring of context effects within this paradigm has hindered the ability to answer questions about gender effects and to develop theories of gender differences. Major examples discussed include research on gender differences in achievement motives and lack of gender effects in the achievement area. It is claimed that motivational theories were given up too quickly when they were not predictive of gender effects in areas relating to male-female relations and traditional female role activities. A social context framework is applied to show why gender differences are not found in these studies. (Author/ABL)
Publication Type: Information Analyses; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association (98th, Boston, MA, August 10-14, 1990).