Developing a Framework for Assessing Identity Development, Retention and Success of STEM Social and Behavioral Scientists (STEM-SBS): The Case of Sociology
Effective Years: 2022-2025
The project examines STEM social and behavioral scientists’ identity formation to produce results that can be used in designing programs to attract a larger and more diverse pool of students to these disciplines. The study investigates factors that influence the development of STEM social scientists who will engage in transdisciplinary scholarship, whether some programs do so more extensively and more effectively than others, and in what ways and why. It provides a qualitative focus on student identity narratives and the experiences of practicing sociologists employed in a variety of STEM social and behavioral science (STEM-SBS) research careers. The research on identity development of STEM-SBS students and professionals can inform career development models and practices for this student population.
The investigators will explore the following research questions: (1) Why do sociology students and professionals choose to pursue a sociology degree and career? (2) How do sociology students and practicing sociologists conceptualize their professional and science identity? (3) What factors contribute to or hinder retention, success, and identity development in sociology? (4) How do other social identities (e.g., race, ethnicity, gender, etc.,) intersect with and influence the development and enactment of professional and science identities? (5) How do competing demands and differential access to opportunities shape entry and retention of a diverse student population into sociology? They will investigate the research questions through theoretical triangulation and employ a qualitative cross-sectional research design to explore identity formation of sociology undergraduate and graduate students and sociologists employed in diverse research settings. The study will enhance knowledge about the temporal nature of identity formation and broaden understanding of the institutional and societal context of STEM-SBS education and professional practice.
This project is funded by the EHR Core Research (ECR) program that supports fundamental research that addresses STEM learning and learning environments, broadening participation in STEM, and STEM workforce development.
This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.