ERIC Number: ED394816
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1996-Apr-1
Qualitative Analysis of the Graduate Student Experience.
Workman, Margaret A.; Bodner, George M.
This research study investigated the concern that too many women were dropping out of the Ph.D. program in chemistry and getting an M.S. degree. A major focus was on the differences and similarities in the reasoning between males and females who dropped out. The major source of data was focus group interviews involving 3 people in each of 2 interviews. The first interview consisted of females who decided not to continue in the Ph.D. program and stop with an M.S. degree and the second consisted of males who made the same decision. Surveys were also used as a method of triangulation. Results indicate that women were more likely than men to drop out of the chemistry Ph.D. program. The major difference between the men and the women was apparent in the percentage of students who changed from the Ph.D. track to the M.S. track. The women were also more likely overall to experience some sort of change in area of study, degree plan, or career plan. Major differences were found between the males and the females in the focus groups in the reaction they received from their family, friends, and advisors. Women were made to feel ashamed of their decisions while men were celebrated for their decisions to not go on for a Ph.D. Another difference was that issues about family and career were a big factor in the women's decisions. A similarity between the males and the females in the focus groups was that none of them had a good conception of what graduate school was like. They either followed the crowd to graduate school or went because it was expected of them. Contains 25 references. (JRH)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the National Association for Research in Science Teaching (69th, St. Louis, MO, April 1, 1996).