Self-efficacy beliefs of women in chemistry: Influences and career effects

CHED 394

Megan L. Grunert, mgrunert@purdue.edu and George M. Bodner, gmbodner@purdue.edu. Department of Chemistry, Purdue University, 560 Oval Drive, West Lafayette, IN 47907
This study was conducted with undergraduate and graduate women in chemistry. Through the administration of a self-efficacy survey and three interviews, the author sought to answer three questions. What factors or experiences do women identify as being influential in the development of their self-efficacy beliefs in chemistry? How do women's self-efficacy beliefs contribute to their education and career decisions? How do women's self-efficacy beliefs in chemistry change over time as they move from middle school to high school to college and beyond? To better understand the factors that influence the self-efficacy beliefs of women in chemistry, themes and patterns were identified from narratives constructed from the interview data. Results included a strong dependence on support from teachers, family, and peers in the development and maintenance of self-efficacy beliefs. Understanding these beliefs better allows educators to help retain women in chemistry, especially at the upper levels in industry and academia.