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Issue 4, 2011
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Finding fulfillment: women's self-efficacy beliefs and career choices in chemistry

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Research has shown that self-efficacy beliefs are effective predictors of academic major and career choices in middle school, high school, and early college populations. There is little understanding, however, of how these beliefs develop and what influence they have on academic and career choices in women at the advanced undergraduate and graduate levels. This qualitative study identified key factors that contributed to women chemists' academic and career decisions. Participants completed a chemistry self-efficacy survey and participated in three in-depth interviews. The results indicated that the participants' efficacy beliefs were positively influenced primarily by mastery experiences and social support and were undermined by inaccurate social comparisons. Efficacy beliefs were found to help steer them towards different careers, but ultimately value judgments were more influential in directing their career choice. These women did not value the outcomes of chemistry research or find scientific research intrinsically fulfilling, which led them to choose careers that they felt more directly benefitted humanity. Suggestions for showing the value of chemistry research in the classroom and the laboratory are offered.

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Publication details

The article was received on 11 Apr 2011, accepted on 18 Aug 2011 and first published on 30 Sep 2011

Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C1RP90050A
Citation: Chem. Educ. Res. Pract., 2011,12, 420-426
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    Finding fulfillment: women's self-efficacy beliefs and career choices in chemistry

    M. L. Grunert and G. M. Bodner, Chem. Educ. Res. Pract., 2011, 12, 420
    DOI: 10.1039/C1RP90050A

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