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A Q-Methodological Study of Women's Subjective Perspectives on Mathematics

Authors
  • Oswald, Debra L.1
  • Harvey, Richard D.2
  • 1 Marquette University, Milwaukee, Wisconsin , Milwaukee
  • 2 Saint Louis University, Saint Louis, Missouri , Saint Louis
Type
Published Article
Journal
Sex Roles
Publisher
Kluwer Academic Publishers-Plenum Publishers
Publication Date
Aug 01, 2003
Volume
49
Issue
3-4
Pages
133–142
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1023/A:1024456829810
Source
Springer Nature
Keywords
License
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Abstract

The objective of this study was to explore, using Q-methodology, women's subjective reactions to and experiences with mathematics. Ninety-six undergraduate women from a private university conducted Q-sorts on items that related to their personal experiences, attitudes, and belief/awareness of gender stereotypes for math. On the basis of the Q-factor analysis, three unique perspectives toward math emerged. The perspectives were classified as “Successfully Encouraged,” “Stereotypically Discouraged,” and “Mathematically Aversive.” These groupings were differentiated by their variety of experiences, attitudes, and awareness of stereotypes about math. Measures of math self-schema, math anxiety, and self-reported math ability were also used to interpret the groupings. This research revealed the women's various experiences with and attitudes toward math. The findings are integrated with previous theories in order to understand women's underrepresentation in math-related fields.

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