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How Novices Perceive the Culture of Physics

Title: How Novices Perceive the Culture of Physics.
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Name(s): Bremer, Martin, author
Hughes, Roxanne, author
Type of Resource: text
Genre: text
journal article
Date Issued: 2017-07-13
Physical Form: computer
Physical Form: online resource
Extent: 1 online resource
Language(s): English
Abstract/Description: This study is an exploratory qualitative research project utilizing deductive thematic analysis to investigate how undergraduate physics students form their physics identity. Physics is a unique community of practice that has lagged behind other science fields in terms of the representation of women and members of underrepresented minority groups. This underrepresentation within physics is often credited to the culture of physics which makes identity studies within this specific field that much more important – understanding who persists and why they persist in terms of their identification with physics will help physics departments determine how they can better attract and retain students from underrepresented groups. In this study we used individual interview data with 44 undergraduate physics majors at a Research I university. Our study indicates that novices within physics see the culture of physics as filled with smart, curious, people who are committed to physics as a subject matter and see it as the basis for all science. As part of this culture these novices saw arrogance as a definitive trait for a strong physics identity. Women who left the major mentioned the culture (arrogance) as one of the main factors for their decision to leave. This study indicates that younger generations of women are still facing the same issues as past generations of women in physics. Future studies should investigate the differences between the discipline cultures that may be affecting the improvement of women and underrepresented minorities in specific STEM fields, thereby tailoring programs and policies to the unique culture within each discipline.
Identifier: FSU_libsubv1_scholarship_submission_1500467064_f4144f0f (IID), 10.1615/JWomenMinorScienEng.2017016953 (DOI)
Keywords: Physics, Undergraduate, Culture, Physics identity
Publication Note: This material is copyrighted by the Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering, a Begel House Publication. https://doi.org/10.1615/JWomenMinorScienEng.2017016953
Grant Number: National Science Foundation Division of Materials Research through DMR 0654118 and the FSU Council of Research and Creativity, Project 034888
Persistent Link to This Record: http://purl.flvc.org/fsu/fd/FSU_libsubv1_scholarship_submission_1500467064_f4144f0f
Owner Institution: FSU
Is Part Of: How Novices Perceive the Culture of Physics.
Issue: iss. 2, vol. 23