Cracking the Code: What’s Keeping Women from Watching Deep Look’s Science Videos? No Easy Answers

Saturday, July 24, 2021
Resource Type:
Research Case Study | Research Products
Environment Type: 
Media and Technology, Broadcast Media, Websites, Mobile Apps, and Online Media
Adults | Museum/ISE Professionals | Scientists
General STEM
Access and Inclusion: 
Women and Girls
KQED, Inc., Texas Tech University, College of Media and Communication, Yale University & University of Pennsylvania

The KQED science digital video team continue their study of gender disparity in viewership for the YouTube series Deep Look.

Below is a summary of the study’s key findings and you can read the complete study attached below.

1. Science curiosity is a key motivator of viewing Deep Look videos; science comprehension is not. You don’t need a Ph.D. in chemistry, just a dash of curiosity to have a look at, and maybe even get hooked on, science videos.

2. Diverging from previous findings — and researchers’ expectations — the gender disparity previously found in Deep Look viewership was not replicated in this study. Men and women were not significantly different in terms of their intention to view or engagement when viewing Deep Look videos. This finding held among science curious men and women and not-so science-curious men and women alike.

3. Because a gender gap wasn’t detected (in this study), the research team was unable to test their novel “stereotype threat” and “disgust sensitivity” hypotheses. Namely that stereotypes about men’s superior science skills and women’s higher disgust sensitivity may account for the viewership gender disparity. Past research suggests that perceived stereotypes can hinder women’s math and science performance (an effect not seen when participants are explicitly told that men and women perform comparably). Previous studies have also indicated (albeit less robustly) that women tend toward greater disgust sensitivity than men. Neither the “stereotype threat” nor the “disgust sensitivity” was tested in this study because the gender disparity in viewership was not replicated.

4. Among the most likely to be highly absorbed with Deep Look videos were older, science curious women (women in the baby boomer and silent generations, aged 57 and above.) Along with young, science curious men, this demographic demonstrated the most engagement with the content of the science-themed videos.

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Team Members

Sue Ellen McCannPrincipal Investigator
Sevda ErisSevda ErisCo-Principal Investigator
Asheley LandrumAsheley LandrumCo-Principal Investigator
Sarah MohamadSarah MohamadProject Manager
Daniel ChapmanDaniel ChapmanAuthor
Natasha StrydhorstNatasha StrydhorstAuthor

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