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Conceptualizing Science Identity: Its Nature and the Gendered Role It Plays in Early Secondary Students’ Science Choices

Vincent-Ruz, Paulette (2019) Conceptualizing Science Identity: Its Nature and the Gendered Role It Plays in Early Secondary Students’ Science Choices. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Research on the persistence of minoritized populations within science trajectories has often
highlighted identity as a particularly important factor in those choices (Archer et al., 2010; Barton & Calabrese, 2007; Barton et al., 2013; Merolla & Serpe, 2013). However, identity has often been studied from a qualitative perspective or in college populations. To push the field forward by addressing several key open questions, this dissertation consists of three quantitative studies that I argue have deepened and broaden the field of science identity. A central underlying goal of this dissertation is to address the issue of equity in science, with a particular focus on patterns of marginalization through the lens of science identity that emerge in early secondary school, particularly gender. These results are consistent with the lack of representation and power of minoritized populations in science careers. The first empirical paper clarifies the nature of science identity as integrating internal and external recognition components and establishes it as different from other attitudinal variables. The second study provides the framework of topical identity complexes for studying the interaction of different topical identities. The empirical results reveal a surprising finding about which identity complexes involving science are (and are not) found in early secondary student as well as their impact of student’s choices. The third study focuses on understanding career affinities of early secondary school students and their relationship to science identity for both science and science-related careers. Finally, I also reflect on the use of quantitative methods in this work since such methods have been long critiqued for their inability to capture the nuance of everyday experience or further an equity agenda in education.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Vincent-Ruz, Paulettepvincentruz@gmail.comPAV220000-0002-8244-8700
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Thesis AdvisorSchunn, Christian
Committee MemberBinning,
Committee MemberKinloch,
Committee MemberWallace, Tanner
Date: 25 September 2019
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 7 May 2019
Approval Date: 25 September 2019
Submission Date: 10 September 2019
Access Restriction: 2 year -- Restrict access to University of Pittsburgh for a period of 2 years.
Number of Pages: 133
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Education > Learning Sciences and Policy
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: science identity, quantitative methods, gender
Date Deposited: 25 Sep 2019 18:39
Last Modified: 25 Sep 2021 05:15


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