Cultivating Confidence: Young Women's Self-Efficacy in Science Museums

Monday, October 1, 2018 to Wednesday, September 1, 2021
Resource Type:
Project Descriptions
Environment Type: 
Exhibitions, Museum and Science Center Exhibits
Adults | Museum/ISE Professionals
General STEM
Access and Inclusion: 
Women and Girls

Cultivating Confidence: Young Women's Self-Efficacy in Science Museums is an NLG Diversity and Inclusion research project that studies the impact of a single science museum visit on "emerging adult" learners (young adults aged 18-29, not yet married, no children). Cultivating Confidence builds directly on prior IMLS-funded research that found that a science museum visit mitigated a pre-existing gender gap in science self-efficacy: Young women entered the museum with significantly lower science self-efficacy (confidence to do or learn science) than men, experienced a significant increase over the course of the visit, and remained at that same level, equal to men's, three months after the visit. Cultivating Confidence will replicate and investigate this effect further by observing male and female young adults during their visit and over the course of the following three months. The study will attempt to understand how museum visits help young women build crucially important science self-confidence. What happens during the visit and how does that affect young women's subsequent behavior and beliefs? The study will also attempt to untangle the confound between gender and initial science self-efficacy (SSE), since the women in the prior study tended to have lower pre-visit SSE than men.

Funding Program: 
National Leadership Grants for Museums - Diversity and Inclusion
Award Number: 
Funding Amount: 

Team Members

Josh GutwillPrincipal Investigator
Toni DancstepCo-Principal Investigator

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