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A Synthesis of Practice-Oriented Literature in Gender and STEM

Elizabeth G. Creamer

Abstract


Even as endorsement for the idea of "evidence-based practice" has become widespread, there has been little headway to find an empirical way to gauge whether models for best practice put forward in practice-oriented literature are warranted. This research addressed questions about trends over time in both the quantity and quality of the evidence base of articles describing activities initiated to promote the recruitment of retention of women and girls in STEM. Practice-oriented publications (n=142) were identified from a larger database (N=976) of articles with references to gender and STEM in the title or abstract. A six-point ordinal scale was used to measure the quality of the foundational or evidence base of the articles. Between 1995 and 2009, the percentage of articles meeting the threshold definition of being evidence-based grew from 43.8% in the first time period, to 49.3% in the second time period, and to 59.6% in the most recent time period. The relatively recent expansion of the digital infrastructure that supports the dissemination of STEM-related publications, promises to minimize redundancy and to ensure that resources are invested in initiatives where there is evidence to support its potential to be effective.


Keywords


Evidence based practice, content analysis, gender and STEM

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