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

CHED 394

Megan L. Grunert, and George M. Bodner, 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.