Over this summer, I began my independent research project investigating the science gender bias. Many studies indicate the existence, extent, and impact of gender biases in science (i.e., that males are perceived as better at science than females). Such studies have shown that this science gender bias can discourage females from gaining interest in scientific fields, worsen their performance in science classes, and negatively affect their success in scientific careers. Due to the indication of a gender bias in science with significant negative impacts, I decided to further investigate the science gender bias in hopes of understanding it further and informing ways to reduce its impact. My independent research project thus aims to investigate the science gender bias in relation to scientific reasoning ability and gender identity.
This summer I completed designing my study and began to run participants. Once the methodology was finalized, I spent every Wednesday at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University speaking to parents about my study and running participants (i.e., 7 to 10-year-old boys and girls) in the study as experimenter. I will continue to work on this research through my senior year. In a few months, I should have enough data collected to run statistical analysis and eventually draw conclusions.
I hope to make a small contribution towards encouraging children of all genders to pursue careers in science-related fields if they wish to and enabling their success in said careers. This study could help highlight the need to address this bias and help educators, parents, and other individuals determine ways to reduce its impact. Hopefully, years from now, all girls will feel encouraged to explore and pursue science.
Being able to participate in research over the summer has taught me about the details of what it is like to conduct my own research. I have learned about the process of independent research and how it can require a fair amount of adjustment. For example, devising a measure needed for a study can require extensive research, conferring with my mentor and fellow lab members, and pilot testing. After doing my best to look at something from every angle, I might come across unexpected results and need to adjust in response. However, I have enjoyed this process as I appreciate having such thought-provoking problems to solve.
I am looking forward to further learn from my independent research study. It has been exciting to work towards discovering the answers to the exact questions I wish to delve into.