Using Child-Centered Qualitative and Multi-Method Approaches to Investigate Childrens Understanding of Racial Diversity Cues in STEM-focused Educational Television
Effective Years: 2022-2025
Advancing participation in STEM is significant for meeting NSF’s goals and benefits the nation. Michigan State University aims to improve understanding of the impacts of STEM-focused children’s media programming by identifying children’s understanding of racial diversity cures in educational television shows. The professional development plan will build research capacity by exploring children's attention to and interpretations of diversity cues and then building a multi-method study that explores the relationship between viewing diverse STEM portrayals and the perceptions of who belongs in STEM. Through advancing knowledge of how to create STEM media that authentically represents children from historically marginalized communities, the project aims to positively impact interest and engagement in STEM, while building the PI’s capacity to conduct education research using child-centered, equitable practices.
Educational media can serve as a powerful tool for early STEM learning. This project seeks to understand how children receive the messages of diversity in STEM programming. Using cultivation theory and social cognitive theory as foundational structures, the project incorporates theory of reasoned action to achieve the societal goal of increasing participation in STEM. The project aims to use qualitative methods with parents and children to explore children’s perspectives of STEM-focused media. Quantitative content analysis and interviews will then be used to examine perspectives of STEM, STEM identity development, and sense of belonging in STEM. Research capacity will be built through methodological training institutes, qualitative research workshops, and mentor training. The project will be evaluated through formative and summative assessments. The project is supported by NSF's EHR Core Research Building Capacity in STEM Education Research (ECR: BCSER) program, which is designed to build investigators’ capacity to carry out high-quality STEM education research.
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.