“Where My Ladies At?”: Online Videos, Gender, and Science Attitudes among University Students

Paul R. Brewer, Barbara L. Ley

Abstract


This study examines the impact of online videos on science attitudes that contribute to gender disparities in STEM participation. Its theoretical framework builds on research regarding media effects on science attitudes and gender schemas. In particular, it draws on social cognitive theory to argue that media models in science communication can influence audience members. A randomized experiment tested the effects of three videos from a YouTube channel, The Brain Scoop with Emily Graslie, on science interest, self-concept in science, science anxiety, perceptions of scientists, and perceptions of gender bias in science among university students. The results showed that a video in which a female communicator directly addresses sexism in science shaped university students’ positive perceptions of scientists and perceptions of gender bias in science. More broadly, the findings reinforce both the challenges in promoting equitable gender representation in STEM and the promise of using new media forms such as YouTube science channels to address these challenges.

 


Keywords


Science attitudes; online video; social media; YouTube; gender

Full Text:

PDF