About this research
How was the research carried out?
The research involved a mixed methods design including quantitative research methods e.g. a large-scale survey of year 10 learners of physics from 137 UK schools during the academic year 2008-2009 (responses were gathered from 5,034 students) and a literature review.
What are the strengths of the research methodology?
Mixed methods designs combine research methods. These designs aim to use the strengths of different methods to triangulate findings to produce more balanced results and a deeper understanding of the issues.
What is the context for this research?
The paper is derived from the ‘Understanding Participation rates in post-16 Mathematics and Physics Study (2008-2011)’ which explored the factors linked to students’ intended choices in relation to physics and mathematics. Existing research focused on average differences between boys and girls, and not within gender groups or between gender group overlap. This paper aimed to add to the literature by focusing on these issues and identifying any distinctive characteristics of girls choosing to study physics post-16. As it focuses on UK research, the different policy and educational contexts mean the findings may need to be contextualised for application in Scotland.
The following questions may provide a stimulus for discussion:
- In your setting, are you aware of a gender gap between learners who choose to study science subjects post-16?
- What can you do to increase the number of girls choosing to study science subjects post-16 in your setting?
- How can you work with partners to engage girls in science subjects?
About the author(s)
This research report was written by Tamjid Mujtaba and Michael J.Reiss (Institute of Education, University of London).
OECD (2014). Are Boys and Girls Equally Prepared for Life? Paris: OECD.
Teddlie, C. and Tashakkori, A. (2011). Mixed Methods Research: Contemporary Issues in an Emerging Field; in Denzin, N. K. and Lincoln, Y. S. (eds.) The SAGE Handbook of Qualitative Research (Sage Handbooks), 4th. Ed.
This research was not commissioned by Education Scotland and the findings, recommendations and conclusions do not necessarily reflect the views of Education Scotland.
Mujtaba, T. and Reiss, M.J. (2012). What Sort of Girl Wants to Study Physics After the Age of 16? Findings From a Large-Scale UK Survey. London: Institute of Education, University of London.
Link(s) to full research article
What sort of girl wants to study physics after the age of 16? - Full report