Exploring Girl Scouts' self-perceptions as geoscientists using a feminist standpoint lens and transformative mixed methods

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University of Alabama Libraries

Currently in the United States jobs abound in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Yet, women remain an underrepresented demographic both in university STEM degrees and careers. This study sought to understand constraints to the participation of young women in geoscience learning. Twenty-one girls in the sixth through eighth grades participated in a six-week study, which featured informal geoscience experiences. Three research questions guided the study: (1) What are girls' standpoints on "science"? (2) How might the Girl Scouts offer an alternative environment for learning and doing science while at the same time allowing them to be scientists? (3) How might this Girl Scout experience transform the ways girls engage with geoscience? The study employed a transformative mixed method approach involving quantitative and qualitative data generation tools including the CLES, the DAST, autobiographical writing, photonarratives, and researcher analytic memos. The study results are reported through three key phases of data generation. Phase 1 categorizes the girls as those having positive, negative and neutral science perceptions. Phase 2 explores the girls underlying science stories. Phase 3 highlights the girls' transformative narratives. Results of this study contribute significant insights about the subtle stances of young girls in [geo]science learning and how engaging their voices to critique their science learning experiences can open up their agentic possibilities to take up participation in science.

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Secondary education, Science education, Pedagogy