New review published: How Diverse Is Diversity? An Exploration of References to Diversity in the Recent Literature in STEM Higher Education

Yesterday my old team from Leiden received a new publication related to the work we have been doing on tutoring and STEM. One of the side projects was examining how diversity is being studied in research on STEM. Lead author is Amber Bruijnzeel and the whole team participated.

The reference:

Bruijnzeel, A., Yazilitas, D., Smeets, I., De Bruyckere, P., & Cramer, J. (2022). How Diverse Is Diversity? An Exploration of References to Diversity in the Recent Literature in STEM Higher Education. European Journal of STEM Education, 7(1), 12.

Abstract of the open access review study:

Since STEM knowledge and skills are increasingly being sought after in our information and technology driven economies, it is pivotal that ideas and human resources that foster these economies also reflect the STEM population. Although it is evident from earlier research that specific demographics are clearly underrepresented, little is known about who constitutes as ‘diverse’, which makes it challenging to develop and assess effective policies aimed at increasing diversity in STEM. Through content analysis, we explore in recent STEM education literature, which groups of students and faculty are referenced in relation to diversity, i.e., groups that are underrepresented. The results reveal 180 uniquely defined references to underrepresented groups in STEM. Our main results show that across articles, the majority of the references to diversity are related to gender (69%), and a considerable portion of references (12%) can be classified under ‘other unspecified minorities’. Consequently, the analyzed articles portray a narrow understanding of diversity, and a variety of groups remain unspecified when it comes to background characteristics. To change this, clear definitions of the target groups are necessary and more consensus among the research community about the justifications to include or exclude these groups is needed.

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