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ERIC Number: EJ1204300
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2019
Pages: 14
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0263-5143
The Draw-a-Scientist Test in an African Context: Comparing Students' (Stereotypical) Images of Scientists across University Faculties
Meyer, Corlia; Guenther, Lars; Joubert, Marina
Research in Science & Technological Education, v37 n1 p1-14 2019
Background: People's perceptions of scientists have repeatedly been investigated using the Draw-a-Scientist Test (DAST). The test is used to identify people's (stereotypical) images of scientists, which might affect attitudes towards science and science-related career choices. Purpose: The current study has two goals. (1) Applying the DAST at a university in South Africa, the study will add to the existing research literature through its Southern African context. (2) The study will also look more closely at the link between (stereotypical) images of scientists and science-related career choices. Sample: The DAST was applied to first-year students (n = 445) across different faculties at a South African university. If the assumption that young people's perceptions of scientists influence their career choice is correct, one would expect differences in the drawings made by students who have opted for different fields of study. Design and methods: The DAST was administered during orientation week of the first-year students in January 2017. Students were provided with a prepared blank sheet of paper and asked to draw a scientist and to fill in further information on the back of the paper. A content analysis applying the DAST checklist was used to analyse the images. Results: The findings show that South African students use about four stereotypical indicators when drawing a scientist, and social science students drew stereotypical attributes more frequently when compared to students from other faculties. A typical scientist -- as depicted in this study -- is a man of uncertain age, who wears eyeglasses and a lab coat, and is surrounded by laboratory equipment. Conclusions: Findings are largely in line with the international research literature. To challenge gender stereotypes, more contact between students and female role models might be essential. If (stereotypical) images really affect science-related career choices deserves further attention in future research studies.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: South Africa