ERIC Number: EJ1111445
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016-Sep
Abstractor: As Provided
Science That Matters: The Importance of a Cultural Connection in Underrepresented Students' Science Pursuit
Jackson, Matthew C.; Galvez, Gino; Landa, Isidro; Buonora, Paul; Thoman, Dustin B.
CBE - Life Sciences Education, v15 n3 Article 42 Sep 2016
Recent research suggests that underrepresented minority (URM) college students, and especially first-generation URMs, may lose motivation to persist if they see science careers as unable to fulfill culturally relevant career goals. In the present study, we used a mixed-methods approach to explore patterns of motivation to pursue physical and life sciences across ethnic groups of freshman college students, as moderated by generational status. Results from a longitudinal survey (N = 249) demonstrated that freshman URM students who enter with a greater belief that science can be used to help their communities identified as scientists more strongly over time, but only among first-generation college students. Analysis of the survey data were consistent with content analysis of 11 transcripts from simultaneously conducted focus groups (N = 67); together, these studies reveal important differences in motivational characteristics both across and within ethnicity across educational generation status. First-generation URM students held the strongest prosocial values for pursuing a science major (e.g., giving back to the community). URM students broadly reported additional motivation to increase the status of their family (e.g., fulfilling aspirations for a better life). These findings demonstrate the importance of culturally connected career motives and for examining intersectional identities to understand science education choices and inform efforts to broaden participation.
Descriptors: Disproportionate Representation, Science Instruction, College Science, Mixed Methods Research, Biological Sciences, Physical Sciences, Longitudinal Studies, Content Analysis, Focus Groups, Student Motivation, Science Education, Science Careers, Ethnic Groups, Minority Groups, Undergraduate Students, Majors (Students), College Freshmen, Culturally Relevant Education, Science Interests, Surveys
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Sponsor: National Science Foundation (NSF)
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: California
Grant or Contract Numbers: DRL1420271