Academic journal article Kuram ve Uygulamada Egitim Bilimleri

Scientist-Image Stereotypes: The Relationships among Their Indicators

Academic journal article Kuram ve Uygulamada Egitim Bilimleri

Scientist-Image Stereotypes: The Relationships among Their Indicators

Article excerpt

These days, the importance of science and scientific knowledge is gradually increasing. In this sense, the importance of the scientist who directs science and scientific activities also increases. Bringing different perspectives to science is thought to enable countries to have a voice in scientific principles. Thus, stakeholders, educators, and researchers strive for students to have positive images of scientists. The studies in this field can be examined in two dimensions. The aim of studies from the first dimension is to examine students' scientist-images and the effects that individual differences have on this image in several countries at various educational levels. The aim of studies from the second dimension is to revise the images that are defined negatively, that stereotype. A large proportion of studies relevant to this field have been concerned with the first dimension. These studies have respectively been presented in a theoretical framework.

Theoretical Framework

The first dimension: student's scientist-images based on certain variables. The first study regarding the identification of scientist-images was conducted by Mead and Metraux (1957). Results from this study showed that students generally defined scientists through stereotypes, as shown in the following statement from the researchers:

The scientist is a man who wears a white coat and works in a laboratory. He is elderly, or middle aged, and wears glasses . . . he may have a beard . . . He is surrounded by equipment: test tubes, Bunsen burners, flasks, and bottles, a jungle gym of blown glass tubes, and weird machines with dials. . . He writes neatly in black notebooks . . . One day he may sit up and shout: "Eureka! I've found it!". . . Through his work, people will have new and better products . . . He has to keep dangerous secrets . . . His work may be dangerous . . . He is always reading a book (p. 386).

From 1957 to 1983, semantic differential scales, Likert-type scales, and essays were used in various studies, from Mead and Metraux (1957) to Chambers (1983). For instance, Beardslee and O'Dowd (1961) used a scale composed of open-ended questions with a semantic differential scale; Krajkovich and Smith (1982) utilized a Likert-type scale. Results from studies undertaken in the 1960s and 70s showed that students' scientist-image stereotypes were resistant to change and common for individuals from various cultures worldwide.

In 1983, Chambers's study was an important attempt to determine students' scientist-images. In his study, Chambers developed the Draw-A-Scientist Test (DAST) and a code list relevant to it. Chambers (1983) described the scientist-images of 4,807 primary-school students (preschool through 5th grade) from their drawings. Research results showed that students generally perceived scientists as: males with beards or mustaches who wear lab coats and eye glasses, use technological devices, work alone in environments equipped with chemical substances and tools, and are adorned with knowledge symbols such as books and filing cabinets. Chambers coded student drawings on these categories and provided analyses using the frequency of category-use in drawings. The researcher pointed out that scientist-image stereotypes were generally first seen in second or third grade, and this image became the norm over time. Based on Chambers's approach, various studies have been conducted to determine students' scientist-images and the effects of individual differences on this image in several countries at various educational levels. Studies that have aimed to determine the effect of individual differences on this image in several countries at various educational levels have emphasized gender, culture, socio-economic level, age (grade), and academic discipline. In the results of these studies (Finson, 2002; Finson, Beavor, & Cramond, 1995; Medina-Jerez, Middleton, & Orihuela-Rabaza, 2011; Newton & Newton, 1998; She, 1995) students were generally found to have the scientist-image stereotypes presented by Chambers (1983). …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.