Building STEM Interest Among K-12 Girls

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This guide is meant as a starting point for your research. It covers a large number of major resources, but your research will likely take you far beyond these initial sources. Try everything listed here, then expand with similar sources & strategies beyond this page. And definitely ask for help if you get stuck!


TIP: The issue of how best to ensure interest and participation in STEM areas among women has been a hot topic for years. That means that there has been lots of research on the topic, plus schools, governments, and workplaces have tried many solutions. The problem persists, however, so it would seem that none of the solutions are absolutely perfect and that the issue is complex and varied.

That doesn't mean solutions and research from earlier and elsewhere aren't applicable! Learn from what's been attempted and discovered thus far, then build your own recommendations that fit your case's context.


Education articles & journals

We have many databases for researching education-related topics, but the two I'd suggest starting with in this case are Education Source and ERIC. I've provided links to initial searches in each database below, but you should focus/expand those searches to fit your own needs.


Using "cited by/times cited" links to cycle searches

Keyword searching is a good start, but it can be inefficient. Save yourself some effort by using your best initial hits/articles to find additional articles and chapters. For instance, this article from my initial ERIC search results...

... has been cited by over 60 newer articles and chapters since it was published in 2017 (according to Google Scholar). Some of those citing articles may be useful, or their references may have other leads you can follow.


Key journals

Here is a small sample of key journals that often contain articles on this topic. This list is definitely not exhaustive (search the Education databases above for much broader coverage), but I'm providing this list because sometimes it can be useful to start by browsing a few relevant journals:


Books

Search the SFU Library catalogue starting with this rough exploratory search to find such titles as...

And, as with articles, be sure to explore the references in each book for further clues, plus look up the book titles in Google Scholar to see if they have been cited by newer articles and chapters. Follow all leads as you build up your evidence!


News

This topic is often in the news, and a good news article usually mentions relevant associations, reports, researchers, etc., all of which are leads you can explore!

  • For news articles from around the world, try our Factiva database.

Again, look for leads/clues in news articles. For example, this news article from The Daily Gleaner newspaper in New Brunswick...

... led me to this report from TD Economics: Women and STEM: Bridging the Divide, which included appendices listing many programs and groups designed to address the gender disparity in STEM in Canada.


Miscellaneous

(The term "miscellaneous" is not meant to imply these resources are of less value -- I just got tired of trying to categorize them all!)

A. Statista is a great source for digging up stats on a topic AND for finding new sources of additional information. Try searches for terms such as STEM and science education, and always check the source links for each statistic/chart that you find. I've provided a few examples below. (If the Statista pages those links lead to don't have "Simon Fraser University" at the top, come back to this page and click on them one more time.)


B. Policy Commons -- Our newest database, Policy Commons will help you dig up reports from think tanks and research institutes. Start with this rough search for STEM and girls, then use the post-search limiting option on the left side of the results to refine your search.


C. Westcoast Women in Engineering, Science and Technology


D. Our CQ Researcher includes a 2018 report on this topic: The STEM Gender Gap: Can science and tech attract more women?. The focus is on the US situation and isn't exclusively about the K12 context, but it might still help you understand the big picture and lead you to additional resources.


E. Interesting and recent article in the BBC's ScienceFocus Magazine: Physics: Do girls avoid it because it’s too hard?

  • Be sure to explore the many links!


<That's all for now... but do check back later to see if more resources or tips have been added. -- MB>