Title

Using qualitative methods to create new metaphors for women engineering students

Location

1052

Format Type

Paper

Format Type

Paper

Start Date

January 2016

End Date

January 2016

Abstract

The current literature on female undergraduates in engineering uses metaphors like the leaky pipeline (Blickenstaff, 2005; Lucena, 2000) and chilly climate (Hall & Sandler, 1982) to describe the experiences from a negative viewpoint or a deficit model, but the findings of the present study describe the experience in a positive viewpoint or an advantage model. While the deficit model looks at students as underprepared or at-risk and develops programs and initiatives to fix these shortcomings, the advantage model looks at the “knowledges, histories, and experiences students bring with them” in order to design “more effective and responsive programming” (Castro, 2012, p. 6). Using data from 13 semi-structured individual interviews of women involved in an engineering living-learning program, I employed a modified version of Systematic Metaphorical Analysis to create five interpretive metaphors: LLP as a Starting Point, LLP as a Neighborhood, Engineering Classes as Challenges, Different as Normal, and Female Engineers as a Support System. These advantage-based metaphors can be seen as the first step in creating a new metaphor to describe recruitment and retention programs in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) (Lucena, 2000). While the findings of the current research do not provide an overarching metaphor like the pipeline, the findings should be seen as a step in the right direction. This and future qualitative studies can produce findings that will help institutions develop strategies and support services to enhance the experiences of engineering women.

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Jan 14th, 2:45 PM Jan 14th, 3:05 PM

Using qualitative methods to create new metaphors for women engineering students

1052

The current literature on female undergraduates in engineering uses metaphors like the leaky pipeline (Blickenstaff, 2005; Lucena, 2000) and chilly climate (Hall & Sandler, 1982) to describe the experiences from a negative viewpoint or a deficit model, but the findings of the present study describe the experience in a positive viewpoint or an advantage model. While the deficit model looks at students as underprepared or at-risk and develops programs and initiatives to fix these shortcomings, the advantage model looks at the “knowledges, histories, and experiences students bring with them” in order to design “more effective and responsive programming” (Castro, 2012, p. 6). Using data from 13 semi-structured individual interviews of women involved in an engineering living-learning program, I employed a modified version of Systematic Metaphorical Analysis to create five interpretive metaphors: LLP as a Starting Point, LLP as a Neighborhood, Engineering Classes as Challenges, Different as Normal, and Female Engineers as a Support System. These advantage-based metaphors can be seen as the first step in creating a new metaphor to describe recruitment and retention programs in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) (Lucena, 2000). While the findings of the current research do not provide an overarching metaphor like the pipeline, the findings should be seen as a step in the right direction. This and future qualitative studies can produce findings that will help institutions develop strategies and support services to enhance the experiences of engineering women.