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ERIC Number: ED549943
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 175
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-2673-1620-2
Differences Within: A Comparative Analysis of Women in the Physical Sciences--Motivation and--Background Factors
Dabney, Katherine Patricia Traudel
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Virginia
Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education has become a critical focus in the United States due to economic concerns and public policy (National Academy of Sciences, 2007; U.S. Department of Education, 2006). Part of this focus has been an emphasis on encouraging and evaluating career choice and persistence factors among underrepresented groups such as females in the physical sciences (Hill et al., 2010; National Academy of Sciences, 2007). The majority of existing STEM research studies compare women to men, yet a paucity of research exists that examines what differentiates female career choice within the physical sciences. In light of these research trends and recommendations, this study examines the following questions: 1. On average, do females who select chemistry or physics doctoral programs differ in their reported personal motivations and background factors prior to entering the field? 2. Do such variables as racial and ethnic background, age, highest level of education completed by guardians/parents, citizenship status, family interest in science, first interest in general science, first interest in the physical sciences, average grades in high school and undergraduate studies in the physical sciences, and experiences in undergraduate physical science courses explain a significant amount of variance in female physical scientists' years to Ph.D. completion? These questions are analyzed using variables from the Project Crossover Survey dataset through a subset of female physical science doctoral students and scientists. Logistic regression analyses are performed to uncover what differentiates women in the physical sciences based on their background, interest, academic achievement, and experiences ranging prior to elementary school through postsecondary education. Significant variables that positively predict a career choice in chemistry or physics include content specific high school and undergraduate academic achievement and positive undergraduate experiences. Two multiple regression models, one composed of female chemists and one of female physicists, examine significant predictors that positively associated with time to doctoral degree completion. The models account for little differentiation in the outcome of time to doctoral completion. In addition, significant predictors are based on demographic and achievement factors that were not paralleled in the two multiple regressions. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: High Schools; Secondary Education; Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A