Understanding the factors and conditions that play a role in the persistence of undergraduate women in the physical and biological sciences: An exploratory study
AuthorMallory, Sherry Lynn, 1970-
AdvisorWoodard, Dudley B., Jr.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThis exploratory study sought to provide insight into the persistence of undergraduate women in the physical and biological sciences. The study examined the experiences of women who persisted and graduated in science and non-science fields of study. Specifically, a group of science and non-science alumni were asked to talk about, in their own words, the factors and conditions that they believe played a role in their ability to persist and graduate. Two methods were used to gather data: a self-report survey and a semi-structured interview. The survey was designed to collect information about the women's background characteristics and experiences, while the semi-structured interview was designed to gain insight into the factors and conditions that played a role in the women's ability to persist and graduate. In interpreting the survey and interview responses, a conceptual framework that drew on salient constructs taken from two bodies of scholarly research--the research on women students in higher education and the research on student persistence and graduation rates in higher education--was used. The results of the current study not only provide insight into why women persist, but also suggest the importance of including variables not previously considered in future research on student persistence and graduation rates. These variables include: the role of pre-college expectations and attributes, the use of academic good practices, and the importance of social support in student persistence. Future research must continue to draw upon qualitative methods, as this study has done, and to look beyond the obvious in understanding the factors and conditions that play a role in student persistence.
Degree ProgramGraduate College