Dr. Billy Wong (Associate Professor in Widening Participation, University of Reading) publishes a latest co-authored research paper from his Supporting Identity Development of Underrepresented Students (SIDUS) project (funded by Imperial College London). The article, titled ‘Biology is easy, physics is hard’: Student perceptions of the ideal and the typical student across STEM higher education’, is published in the journal, International Studies in Sociology of Education.
The paper draws on 89 interviews with undergraduates Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) degrees and presents their descriptions of the ideal as well as the typical student within their disciplines. The study found a social hierarchy within STEM degrees where biology was perceived as the easier STEM subject, whilst harder subjects such engineering, mathematics and physics were constructed as masculine. The paper discusses the impact of such hierarchies can have on students’ STEM identities, as well as the potential implications for equality, diversity and inclusion.
A news blog of the paper is available from the University’s website here.
Dr. Wong’s article is written with Tiffany Chiu, Orla Murray, Jo Horsburgh and Meggie Copsey-Blake – who will be starting her PhD at the University of Reading’s Institute of Education in October 2022.
Wong, B., Chiu, Y.L.T., Murray, O.M., Horsburgh, J., & Copsey-Blake, M. (2022). ‘Biology is easy, physics is hard’: Student perceptions of the ideal and the typical student across STEM higher education. International Studies in Sociology of Education. https://doi.org/10.1080/09620214.2022.2122532