CAREER: Ethically Contentious Science and the Graduate School Experience

Principal Investigator: 
Project Overview
Background & Purpose: 

Scientific advances in diverse fields ranging from stem cell research to nanotechnology pose challenging ethical questions. At the same time efforts to strengthen and broaden the U.S. workforce in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) are crucial to the long-term competitiveness of the national economy. This project examines the nexus of these two trends, assessing the extent to which and the manner by which ethical controversy affects the training of graduate students and their transition to the scientific workforce. To do so, the project combines qualitative interviews with early career scientists in contentious fields with a large longitudinal survey of graduate students currently enrolled in doctoral programs in STEM fields in the United States.

Setting: 

Doctoral Education in the United States in a range of STEM fields.

Research Design: 

The project uses a longitudinal research design and will generate evidence that is descriptive [survey], associative/correlational [quasi-experimental], and causal [fixed effect models]. Original data are being collected on a stratified random sample of current doctoral students in STEM fields in the U.S. using survey research [self-completion questionnaire]. Semi-structured qualitative interviews will be analyzed using a modified grounded theory approach to identify key themes. The survey data will be analyzed using a variety of statistical techniques appropriate to each individual question and analysis.

Findings: 

Findings will be posted as they become available.