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  • 1.
    Andersson, Staffan
    et al.
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Physics, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Physics Didactics.
    Johansson, Anders
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Physics, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Physics Didactics. Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts, Centre for Gender Research.
    Gender gap or program gap?: Students’ negotiations of study practice in a course in electromagnetism2016In: Physical Review Physics Education Research, ISSN 2469-9896, Vol. 12, no 2, 020112Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This study of achievement differences, as reflected by course grades, on a third-semester electromagnetism course at a Swedish research university was motivated by instructor concerns about gender inequalities. Quantitative analysis showed a gender gap in course grades between female and male students for the period of fall 2007 to spring 2013. Dynamics behind this gap were explored through interpretative discourse analysis on interviews of 21 students who had recently passed the course. A recurring pattern was identified in the interviews. Students described studying electromagnetism as either studying to pass or studying to learn. Their choice of practice was influenced by the significance recognized in the course, which primarily was discussed in relation to program affiliation. Students stressed that perceived differences, in their study context, were larger between students affiliated with different programs than between male and female students on the same program. This was supported by quantitative analysis of course grades in relation to study programs, where the grade difference between female and male students on the same program in most cases were not statistically significant. The gender gap in grades for the whole course was related to different achievements on different programs. Programs further from the discipline of physics had lower mean grades and also enrolled a larger fraction of female students. Society-wide gender differences in interest and study choice are reflected in the grades on this single course. These results displace the achievement gap from the level of individuals to that of programs, and the gender gap from a difference in achievement to a difference in study choice. We discuss the implications of this shift of perspective in relation to gender differences for both research and teaching.

  • 2.
    Andersson, Staffan
    et al.
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Physics, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Physics Didactics.
    Johansson, Anders
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Physics, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Physics Didactics. Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts, Centre for Gender Research.
    “You’re viewed in a different way”– intersecting norms in science and technology education2016Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Much concern is given to increasing participation of “minorities” in Science and Technology. Simultaneously, research shows how these areas can appear hostile to people outside the norm. However, formation of and inte- ractions with the norm is complex and occur in the intersection of various aspects, such as gender and program belonging.

    To explore the dynamics of unequal treatment in science and technology, we have analysed reports of negative experiences from students at a Swedish research university. 3123 students responded to web-based questionnaires about educational experiences in 2012 and 2014. Negative experiences were reported by 14% of the female respondents and 7% of the male re- spondents.

    Qualitative analysis of answers about negative experiences identified more than two thirds of the responses as regarding how students are perceived, valued and treated, primarily in relation to gender and programme belonging. Female students were positioned as less knowledgeable and therefore needing and receiving more, often unwanted, help than their peers. Responses related to the expected masculinity of science and technology were more than four times as common among female respondents. Students in “non- traditional” programmes were perceived as having lower status and mee- ting unfair treatment. These programs often recruit larger fractions of female students and, consistently, responses regarding program status was three times more common among female respondents.

    Our study illustrates how normative factors affect higher education experiences in science and technology, especially for female students, who may be subject to unequal treatment both as women and as students on non- traditional programmes.

  • 3.
    Andersson, Staffan
    et al.
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Physics, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Physics Didactics.
    Johansson, Anders
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Physics, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Physics Didactics.
    Elmgren, Maja
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Chemistry, Department of Chemistry - Ångström, Physical Chemistry.
    Salminen Karlsson, Minna
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts, Centre for Gender Research.
    Negotiating a Practice of Learning2015Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Research on study choice and participation in higher education, particularly in science and engineering, stresses the importance of students' on-going identity work as learners (Holmegard, Ulriksen & Madsen, 2014; Henriksen, Dillon & Ryder, 2015), especially on the scale of field of study. Our project explore how such identity work takes place on course level.

    An interview study concerning course achievement was undertaken with 21 students on a third-semester physics course. An interpretative discourse analysis (Gee, 2011) of the interviews yielded a model for students' negotiations of their practice in the course. Three types of practice were described: Ignoring to study, Studying to pass, and Studying to learn. The choice between these was influenced by the significance recognized for the course. This recognition, in turn, was generally discussed in relation to identity, largely connected to programme affiliation.

    This negotiation process becomes especially relevant when differently profiled programmes allow students to recognize and expect different ways of doing disciplines. However, in the study context they often study the same courses. We will present examples of the consequences this can have, based on quantitative data from the fields of physics and economics. Our results emphasize the importance of designing and teaching courses in a way that enable all students to recognize them as significant, to encourage both learning and participation.

    References

    Gee, J.P. (2011). An introduction to discourse analysis: theory and method. (3rd ed.). New York: Routledge.

    Henriksen, E.K., Dillon, J., & Ryder, J. (Eds.). (2015). Understanding student participation and choice in science and technology education. Springer.

    Holmegaard, H.T., Ulriksen, L.M., & Madsen, L.M. (2014). The process of choosing what to study: A longitudinal study of upper secondary students' identity work when choosing higher education. Scandinavian Journal of Educational Research, 58(1), 21-40.

  • 4.
    Andersson, Staffan
    et al.
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Physics, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Physics Didactics.
    Johansson, Anders
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Physics, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Physics Didactics.
    Elmgren, Maja
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Chemistry, Department of Chemistry - Ångström, Physical Chemistry.
    Salminen Karlsson, Minna
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts, Centre for Gender Research.
    Recognizing the significance of electromagnetism as identity work of engineering students2015Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Differences in student achievement, as measured by course grades, were explored on a third-semester Electromagnetism course through a mixed-methods approach. Interpretative discourse analysis of interviews showed how students describe their studying in relation to practice, significance and identity. Students that only saw a formal significance of the course, as an eligibility requirement, related to a practice of Studying to pass. A practice of Studying to pass was related to the recognition of vocational and disciplinary significance of the course. Program affiliation, associated with different views regarding vocations and the discipline of physics, were described as central for the on-going identity work of these students as learners. The results indicated that program affiliation played a central role for student achievement on the course. This was corroborated by a quantitative analysis showing that male and female students on most programs performed equally. This study was initiated to inform pedagogical development with the outspoken goal to

    help all female students, but the situation was not that simple. Our results emphasize the importance designing and teaching courses in a way that enable all students to recognize them as significant, to encourage both learning and participation.

  • 5.
    Berge, Maria
    et al.
    Umeå universitet.
    Johansson, Anders
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Physics, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Physics Didactics. Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts, Centre for Gender Research.
    Lecture Jokes - a Litmus Test of Physics Discourse?2017Conference paper (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Earlier studies in physics education research have shown the importance of analysing students' processes of ‘becoming a physicist' in a wider sense. For example, it is often expected of physicists to have a kind of ‘authentic intelligence' or ‘smartness', which is generally perceived as male. In this study we contribute to this area of research by analysing an area often forgotten in educational research: humour. Empirically, this study is based on 177 jokes from physics lectures, collected from three different higher education contexts, the US and two Scandinavian countries. With a discourse analytical framework we explore the question of how teacher's jokes in physics lectures portray physics and physicists. In the analysis of the teacher's jokes, physics is constantly constructed as difficult and very advanced, mainly through ironically speaking of it as ‘easy'. Physicists are portrayed as single minded and very passionate, not to say obsessed, about physics. In this study we argue that although none of the jokes were mean the jokes contributed to a discourse that can be perceived as problematic in limiting the conceptions of who a physicist may be.

  • 6.
    Johansson, Anders
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Physics, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Physics Didactics. Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts, Centre for Gender Research.
    Analysing discourse and identity in physics education: Methodological considerations2016Conference paper (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Physics education research has for a long time primarily been concerned with helping students to learn physics and to "think like a physicist". The results I present here contribute to the emerging subfield where students' identity development is analyzed to explore processes of "becoming a physicist" in a wider sense. Drawing on sociocultural theories and methodologies, and specifically analyzing identity and discourse, I focus on what happens when students with different outlooks on physics encounter advanced physics courses. A discourse analytical framework allows me and my colleagues to inquire into the messages about "who one should be as a physicist", communicated to students during courses. This enables a discussion of what physicist identities are made available to physics students. I argue that focusing on these social aspects of physics learning contributes to a better and more inclusive physics education that may also attract a more diverse student body.

  • 7.
    Johansson, Anders
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Physics, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Physics Didactics. Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts, Centre for Gender Research.
    Analyzing discourse and identity in physics education: Methodological considerations2016In: 2016 Physics Education Research Conference Proceedings / [ed] Dyan L. Jones, Lin Ding, and Adrienne L. Traxler, American Association of Physics Teachers , 2016, 180-183 p.Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Physics Education Research has for a long time primarily been concerned with helping students to learn physics and to “think like a physicist.” This paper explores the emerging subfield where students’ identity development is analyzed to examine processes of “becoming a physicist” in a wider sense. Drawing on sociocultural theories and methodologies, and specifically analyzing identity and discourse, I focus on what happens when students with differing outlooks on physics encounter advanced physics courses. A discourse analytical framework allows one to inquire into the messages about “who one should be as a physicist” communicated to students during courses. This enables a discussion of what physicist identities are made possible for physics students. In this way, a discourse perspective can be one way of analyzing identities in physics without taking the norms of the discipline for granted.

  • 8.
    Johansson, Anders
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Physics, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Physics Didactics. Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts, Centre for Gender Research.
    En mångfald bland studenter och likriktade kurser?2016Conference paper (Other (popular science, discussion, etc.))
  • 9.
    Johansson, Anders
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Physics, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Physics Didactics. Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts, Centre for Gender Research.
    Exploring physics students' identities and social relations: Norms, exclusion and inclusion in a higher education context2013Conference paper (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Identity and social relations are topics which have not been studied to any large extent in the physics education research field (with a few notable counter-examples, e.g. [Danielsson, 2009]). Some studies indicate that these wider aspects of education are of great importance for students’ learning and persistence (Seymour & Hewitt, 1997; Forsman, Linder, Moll, Fraser, & Andersson, 2012). A few studies in different disciplines have focused on the social relations among physics students, e.g. Cathrine Hasse’s anthropological studies (Hasse, 2002), and have found that there exist many culture specific codes and norms affecting whether a student feels included or excluded in the social context of university physics studies. In these contexts socio-economic background, gender, ethnicity, age and possibly other identity categories have been shown to be important for students’ experiences (Hasse, 2002; Danielsson, 2009). This recently started research project will aim to explore these issues of norms, identity and social belonging in physics students’ experiences of their studies. My theoretical framework will draw from theories of social identity, gender, disciplinary discourse (Becher, 1987) and situated learning (Lave & Wenger, 1991). To approach the students’ paths into studying science, narrative analysis, focusing on the students’ own accounts of their development, will be used. Some starting questions are: How have the experience of fitting in or not fitting in earlier in life formed one’s course of life and the choices that led to studying the current educational programmme? How do these experiences influence inclusion or exclusion today? How do gender and other identity categories come into play in one’s identity construction? How do all these aspects influence the formation of a professional identity? This qualitative study will complement statistical studies, which show a complex pattern of reasons for student persistence in higher education (Forsman et al., 2012). The qualitative approach will enable understanding of the intricate interactions forming individual students’ identities, and of the reasons for a single student to choose or not to choose specific educational programmes, careers or life paths.

    References

    • Becher, T. (1987). Disciplinary discourse. Studies in Higher Education, 12, 261–274. doi:10.1080/03075078712331378052
    • Danielsson, A. T. (2009). Doing physics – doing gender: an exploration of physics students’ identity constitution in the context of laboratory work (PhD thesis, Uppsala University).
    • Forsman, J., Linder, C., Moll, R., Fraser, D., & Andersson, S. (2012, February 2). A new approach to modelling student retention through an application of complexity thinking. Studies in Higher Education. doi:10.1080/03075079.2011.643298
    • Hasse, C. (2002). Gender diversity in play with physics: the problem of premises for participation in activities. Mind, Culture, and Activity, 9, 250–269. doi:10.1207/S15327884MCA0904_02
    • Lave, J. & Wenger, E. (1991). Situated learning: legitimate peripheral participation. Cambridge University Press.
    • Seymour, E. & Hewitt, N. M. (1997). Talking about leaving: why undergraduates leave the sciences. Boulder, Colorado: Westview.
  • 10.
    Johansson, Anders
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Physics, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Physics Didactics. Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts, Centre for Gender Research.
    Fysikstudenters identitet och sociala relationer: Normer, exkludering och inkludering i en högre utbildningsmiljö2013Conference paper (Other academic)
    Abstract [sv]

    Identiteter och sociala relationer har endast studerats i en begränsad utsträckning inom PER(ett av de få exemplen är Anna Danielssons avhandling [1]). Detta trots att andra studier pekar på att dessa vidare aspekter av högre utbildning har stor betydelse för studenters lärande och utbildningsval [4, 2]. En del studier i andra discipliner har fokuserat på de sociala relationerna bland fysikstudenter, t.ex. Cathrine Hasses antropologiska arbeten [3], och resultaten pekar på att det finns många kulturella koder och normer som påverkar hur väl en student anser sig passa in i den sociala miljön under universitetsstudier i fysik. Socioekonomisk bakgrund, genus, ålder och andra sociala identitetskategorier har visat sig viktiga för studenternas erfarenheter[1].

    I mitt nyligen startade doktorandprojekt ämnar jag undersöka hur normer, identitet ochsocial tillhörighet påverkar fysikstudenters erfarenheter av sina studier. Jag avser att närma migproblemet med hjälp av teorier kring social identitet, genus, disciplinär diskurs och situeratlärande. Då fokus kommer att ligga på studenternas egen bild av sin utveckling kommerförmodligen någon form av narrativa analys att användas. Några inledande frågor är: Hur harerfarenheten av att tidigare i livet passa in eller inte format fysikstudenters livsbana och valensom lett till att studera fysik? Hur påverkar dessa erfarenheter känslan av social tillhörighetidag? Vilken roll spelar genus och andra identitetskategorier i identitetskonstruktionen idag?Hur influerar alla dessa aspekter bildandet av en professionell identitet?

    Referenser

    [1] Anna T. Danielsson. »Doing Physics – Doing Gender: An Exploration of Physics Students’ Identity Constitution in the Context of Laboratory Work«. PhD thesis. Uppsala University,2009.

    [2] Jonas Forsman m. fl. »A new approach to modelling student retention through an application of complexity thinking«. I: Studies in Higher Education (2 febr. 2012). DOI: 10.1080/03075079.2011.643298 .

    [3] Cathrine Hasse. »Gender Diversity in Play With Physics: The Problem of Premises for Parti-cipation in Activities«. I: Mind, Culture, and Activity 9 (4 2002), s. 250–269. DOI: 10.1207/S15327884MCA0904_02.

    [4] Elaine Seymour och Nancy M. Hewitt. Talking about leaving: why undergraduates leave the sciences.Boulder, Colorado: Westview, 1997.

  • 11.
    Johansson, Anders
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Physics, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Physics Didactics. Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts, Centre for Gender Research.
    Hur skapas en kvantfysiker?: Diskurs, identitet och praktik i kvantfysikkurser2015Conference paper (Other academic)
    Abstract [sv]

    Som en del av mitt doktorandprojekt har jag genomfört observationer på flera introducerande kurser i kvantfysik på två lärosäten. Syftet är att undersöka hur diskursen i klassrummet strukturerar studenters möjligheter att identifiera sig som ”någon som gör kvantfysik”. I min analys kan jag identifiera några olika praktiker som uttrycker vad det innebär att göra kvantfysik. Den huvudsakligen dominerande kallar jag ”plugga kvantfysik”, och den pekar på kvantfysikstudier som i första hand ett inlärande av en matematisk formalism. De mindre dominerande praktikerna ”utforska kvantfysik” och ”tillämpa kvantfysik” handlar mer om  att förstå världen eller att tillämpa kvantfysiken tekniskt. Dessa två senare praktiker har flertalet studenter  lättare att identifiera sig med än den dominerande. En rekommendation för förbättrad undervisning, både i kvantfysik och andra kurser, är att låta studenter engagera sig i praktiker som pekar mot hur kursen kan vara meningsfull för studenternas framtid.

  • 12.
    Johansson, Anders
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Physics, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Physics Didactics. Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts, Centre for Gender Research.
    Learning the right physics: Master’s students’™ negotiations of legitimacy2017Conference paper (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    The last years have seen an increase in science education research focused on social identity. Studies of university physics education have used identity frameworks to address issues of gender and equality in transitions to and from University educations. This study highlights the specific situation of physics students starting on an international Master’s programme and the identity negotiations that take place there. With a poststructuralist discourse analytical framework, I analyse negotiations of legitimacy in interviews with first-semester Master’s students. Several themes emerge from the analysis, pointing out negotiations of legitimacy related to discourses about the perceived quality of educations from different universities, the central value of knowledge and ‘smartness’ in physics, and the ranking of different directions of physics along lines of ‘coolness’ or ‘smartness’. This relates to norms about masculinity connected to physics practices. In the ends my study contribute to a picture of a physics education discourse that is still constructing some positions as more ‘valued’ and legitimate than others, on grounds that partly appear unjustified and discriminatory.

  • 13.
    Johansson, Anders
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Physics, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Physics Didactics. Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts, Centre for Gender Research.
    Studying identity in discourse: From individuals to structure in physics education2017Conference paper (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Recent studies in physics education research have focused on identity to answer questions about equality and gender. Identity is a concept with many definitions, and some approaches to using it may have an extensive focus on the individual’s navigation of already established norms. In my research, I employ a poststructuralist view of identity as constituted in discourse as one way of moving beyond stable binary categories and focusing on the construction of norms in physics education. Drawing from my studies of identity in university-level physics education, I show how discourse analysis enables a detailed study of both individual  negotiations of identity and the dominant discourses structuring individuals’ negotiations. Specific examples include: identity negotiations of students in a course in electromagnetism; the subject positions offered students in the dominant discourse of quantum physics courses; and negotiations of legitimacy among physics Master’s students. In the end, this approach means employing a student-centered perspective on educational systems to explore limitations and possibilities for a diversity of students in attending physics education at the university.

  • 14.
    Johansson, Anders
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Physics, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Physics Didactics. Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts, Centre for Gender Research.
    Uniformity in physics courses and student diversity: A study of learning to participate in physics2015Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    This licentiate thesis describes an investigation of participation and achievement in undergraduate physics courses with a discourse analytical lens. Issues of unequal participation have been a growing concern for the physics education research community. At the same time, these issues have not been explored to any large extent using already developed theoretical tools from fields of social science and humanities. This thesis builds on earlier studies in physics education research but crosses disciplinary boundaries to bring in perspectives from gender studies. The two papers use a discourse theoretical framework to explore what it might mean to participate in physics, whether that is one’s primary subject or not, in courses in electromagnetism and quantum physics. A general conclusion that can be drawn from these empirical studies is that physics courses may often be taught from a narrow physics perspective, and that this may limit the possibilities for identification for many students. For instance, engineering students whose main area was not physics failed to see much significance in studying electromagnetism and then just “studied to pass”. Additionally, students on physics programmes may find that the limited positions in quantum physics which can be characterized as mainly focused on “calculating”, are hard to reconcile with their interest in physics. Using a discourse perspective, I broaden this critique to a discussion of the culture of physics: What does it mean to become a physicist and what physics culture follows from different “productions” of physicists? These results inform continued research in physics education by raising issues of identity and providing critical frameworks for exploring them. They also point to the importance of including broad views of physics in courses. Critically examining participation in physics, this thesis aims at widening the discussion and provide new ways to talk about these issues in physics education research.

    List of papers
    1. Gender gap or program gap?: Students’ negotiations of study practice in a course in electromagnetism
    Open this publication in new window or tab >>Gender gap or program gap?: Students’ negotiations of study practice in a course in electromagnetism
    2016 (English)In: Physical Review Physics Education Research, ISSN 2469-9896, Vol. 12, no 2, 020112Article in journal (Refereed) Published
    Abstract [en]

    This study of achievement differences, as reflected by course grades, on a third-semester electromagnetism course at a Swedish research university was motivated by instructor concerns about gender inequalities. Quantitative analysis showed a gender gap in course grades between female and male students for the period of fall 2007 to spring 2013. Dynamics behind this gap were explored through interpretative discourse analysis on interviews of 21 students who had recently passed the course. A recurring pattern was identified in the interviews. Students described studying electromagnetism as either studying to pass or studying to learn. Their choice of practice was influenced by the significance recognized in the course, which primarily was discussed in relation to program affiliation. Students stressed that perceived differences, in their study context, were larger between students affiliated with different programs than between male and female students on the same program. This was supported by quantitative analysis of course grades in relation to study programs, where the grade difference between female and male students on the same program in most cases were not statistically significant. The gender gap in grades for the whole course was related to different achievements on different programs. Programs further from the discipline of physics had lower mean grades and also enrolled a larger fraction of female students. Society-wide gender differences in interest and study choice are reflected in the grades on this single course. These results displace the achievement gap from the level of individuals to that of programs, and the gender gap from a difference in achievement to a difference in study choice. We discuss the implications of this shift of perspective in relation to gender differences for both research and teaching.

    National Category
    Physical Sciences Educational Sciences
    Research subject
    Physics with specialization in Physics Education
    Identifiers
    urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-267307 (URN)10.1103/PhysRevPhysEducRes.12.020112 (DOI)000393396900010 ()
    Available from: 2015-11-20 Created: 2015-11-20 Last updated: 2017-04-04Bibliographically approved
    2. “Shut up and calculate”: The available discursive positions in quantum physics courses
    Open this publication in new window or tab >>“Shut up and calculate”: The available discursive positions in quantum physics courses
    (English)In: Cultural Studies of Science Education, ISSN 1871-1502, E-ISSN 1871-1510Article in journal (Refereed) Epub ahead of print
    Abstract [en]

    Educating new generations of physicists is often seen as a matter of attracting good students, teaching them physics and making sure that they stay at the university. Sometimes, questions are also raised about what could be done to increase diversity in recruitment. Using a discursive perspective, in this study of three introductory quantum physics courses at two Swedish universities, we instead ask what it means to become a physicist, and whether certain ways of becoming a physicist and doing physics is privileged in this process. Asking the question of what discursive positions are made accessible to students, we use observations of lectures and problem solving sessions together with interviews with students to characterize the discourse in the courses. Many students seem to have high expectations for the quantum physics course and generally express that they appreciate the course more than other courses. Nevertheless, our analysis shows that the ways of being a “good quantum physics student” are limited by the dominating focus on calculating quantum physics in the courses. We argue that this could have negative consequences both for the education of future physicists and the discipline of physics itself, in that it may reproduce an instrumental “shut up and calculate”-culture of physics, as well as an elitist physics education. Additionally, many students who take the courses are not future physicists, and the limitation of discursive positions may also affect these students significantly.

    Keyword
    Physics, Higher education, Quantum physics, Discourse, Identity
    National Category
    Physical Sciences Educational Sciences Gender Studies
    Research subject
    Physics with specialization in Physics Education
    Identifiers
    urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-267306 (URN)10.1007/s11422-016-9742-8 (DOI)
    Available from: 2015-11-20 Created: 2015-11-20 Last updated: 2016-08-15
  • 15.
    Johansson, Anders
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Physics, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Physics Didactics. Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts, Centre for Gender Research.
    Vilken roll spelar kultur och identitet i fysikutbildning?2016Conference paper (Other (popular science, discussion, etc.))
  • 16.
    Johansson, Anders
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Physics, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Physics Didactics. Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts, Centre for Gender Research.
    What student subject positions are made intelligible in the discourse of quantum physics courses?2015Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This study addresses questions of belonging in the context of university physics from an identity perspective. Using a post-structuralist, discursive view of identity, I ask: What discursive possibilities for identification are available for students in an undergraduate quantum physics course and how do students negotiate these possibilities in constructing a viable identity as a physics student? The study was conducted through participant observation, primarily of lectures and tutorials, on three introductory courses in quantum physics at different Swedish universities. Observations were followed by one group interview for each course. Two courses were mainly attended by physics bachelor students and one mainly by engineering physics students. Observations were collected into detailed field notes with spoken language quoted, both almost verbatim and more in summary. This material was analysed through iterative coding using a discourse analytical perspective. The analysis showed that through the discourse in the courses, a few different practices are made recognised as going on: ‘performing quantum physics’, ‘exploring quantum physics’, and ‘applying quantum physics’. These practices are related to a few possibilities for identification, which I call 'physicist' and 'physics student'. I argue that these possibilities put a limit on who can be recognized as a legitimate subject in quantum physics courses. First, the possibilities of being something else than a 'physics student', 'performing quantum physics' are narrow, meaning that those students who strive for being 'physicists' and 'exploring' or 'applying' quantum physics can have a hard time. Second, many different students, including pre-service teachers and meteorology students take the courses, and for some of them, perhaps no intelligible position is available. This points to how becoming intelligible, mastering the discourse, or being a ‘proper’ physics student may be a part of the problem of inclusion or exclusion in specific courses and in science in general.

  • 17.
    Johansson, Anders
    et al.
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Physics, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Physics Didactics. Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts, Centre for Gender Research.
    Andersson, Staffan
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Physics, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Physics Didactics.
    Gendered cultures in STEM education: Nuancing the picture2016Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Discussions about gender equality in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education often focus on the lack of women. Researchers and teachers approach the issue by exploring obstacles facing women, as a minority, in the often masculinely coded cultures of STEM. However, a more nuanced picture of what happens in STEM programmes is of vital importance for increasing equality in STEM education.

    Our mixed-methods study on engineering students’ approaches to learning electromagnetism was motivated by an apparent gender gap in grades perceived by teachers. We found that students related their experiences of and approaches to the course to their identification as certain types of engineering students, rather than gender. However, gender plays an important role on the level of recruitment to different engineering programmes, where the different programmes in our study recruited from 15-70% women.

    Our findings illustrate how nuancing the picture of STEM participation involves taking different dimensions of gender into account; for instance, the association of certain concepts, like “nature” or “environment”, with femininity and how this might structure the gendered “market” of higher education STEM. Different programmes appeal to different, and partly gendered, student populations. However, as our study illustrates, these programmes are made up of courses that sometimes limit the possibilities for identification, not necessarily along gendered lines. This shows the importance of discussing gender issues in STEM in a nuanced way, analysing the specific discourses around STEM subjects and gender that students relate to.

  • 18.
    Johansson, Anders
    et al.
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Physics, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Physics Didactics. Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts, Centre for Gender Research.
    Andersson, Staffan
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Physics, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Physics Didactics.
    Salminen-Karlsson, Minna
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts, Centre for Gender Research.
    Elmgren, Maja
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Chemistry, Department of Chemistry - Ångström, Physical Chemistry.
    Shut Up and Calculate: Becoming a Quantum Physicist2016Conference paper (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Educating new generations of physicists is often seen as a matter of attracting good students, teaching them physics and making sure that they graduate. Sometimes, questions are also raised about what could be done to increase diversity in recruitment. Our qualitative study of introductory quantum physics courses in Sweden, instead asks what it means to become a physicist, and whether certain ways of becoming a physicist and doing physics is privileged in this process. The results show that, although students have high and diverse expectations of the courses, a pronounced focus on techniques of calculation seem to place students in a position where the only right way of doing quantum physics is “shutting up and calculating.” This raises questions of how best to accommodate varying student motivations and make different ways of being a physicist possible.

  • 19.
    Johansson, Anders
    et al.
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Physics, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Physics Didactics. Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts, Centre for Gender Research.
    Andersson, Staffan
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Physics, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Physics Didactics.
    Salminen-Karlsson, Minna
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts, Centre for Gender Research.
    Elmgren, Maja
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Chemistry, Department of Chemistry - Ångström, Physical Chemistry.
    “Shut up and calculate”: The available discursive positions in quantum physics coursesIn: Cultural Studies of Science Education, ISSN 1871-1502, E-ISSN 1871-1510Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Educating new generations of physicists is often seen as a matter of attracting good students, teaching them physics and making sure that they stay at the university. Sometimes, questions are also raised about what could be done to increase diversity in recruitment. Using a discursive perspective, in this study of three introductory quantum physics courses at two Swedish universities, we instead ask what it means to become a physicist, and whether certain ways of becoming a physicist and doing physics is privileged in this process. Asking the question of what discursive positions are made accessible to students, we use observations of lectures and problem solving sessions together with interviews with students to characterize the discourse in the courses. Many students seem to have high expectations for the quantum physics course and generally express that they appreciate the course more than other courses. Nevertheless, our analysis shows that the ways of being a “good quantum physics student” are limited by the dominating focus on calculating quantum physics in the courses. We argue that this could have negative consequences both for the education of future physicists and the discipline of physics itself, in that it may reproduce an instrumental “shut up and calculate”-culture of physics, as well as an elitist physics education. Additionally, many students who take the courses are not future physicists, and the limitation of discursive positions may also affect these students significantly.

  • 20.
    Johansson, Anders
    et al.
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Physics, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Physics Didactics. Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts, Centre for Gender Research.
    Elmgren, Maja
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Chemistry, Department of Chemistry - Ångström, Physical Chemistry.
    Salminen-Karlsson, Minna
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts, Centre for Gender Research.
    Andersson, Staffan
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Physics, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Physics Didactics.
    Vilken roll spelar studenters sociala relationer och identiteter i universitetsutbildning?2013Conference paper (Other (popular science, discussion, etc.))
  • 21.
    Johansson, Anders
    et al.
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Physics, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Physics Didactics. Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts, Centre for Gender Research.
    Hussenius, Anita
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts, Centre for Gender Research.
    Andersson, Staffan
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Physics, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Physics Didactics.
    Danielsson, Anna
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts, Centre for Gender Research. Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Educational Sciences, Department of Education.
    Reaching out across epistemological borders2016Conference paper (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    There is a broad consensus that gender equality is a crucial issue in science education. However, science education researchers approaching issues of gender have often used the quantitative research methods that dominate the natural sciences. This means that introducing a qualitative, feminist tradition into science education research potentially presents several difficulties. Several “paradigm gaps” have to be bridged in order for fruitful dialogues to occur.

    The organizers of this round table are all science education researchers who have experience of publishing in science education journals. Drawing on our experiences, we will initiate a discussion of the challenges of bringing interpretative research perspectives in dialogue with traditionally positivist research fields. We invite researchers facing similar challenges to join this roundtable to share experiences, problems, and strategies for doing feminist research, for example, discussing the hurdles of publishing in journals unaccustomed to feminist perspectives. Questions to be discussed during the roundtable include: How can we as feminist researchers make a difference in research fields where the research questions and methodologies we employ are often seen as “unscientific”? How do we communicate results from experience-based research about in/equality in contexts infused with taken-for-granted notions of objectivity and meritocracy?

  • 22.
    Johansson, Anders
    et al.
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Physics, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Physics Didactics. Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts, Centre for Gender Research.
    Salminen-Karlsson, Minna
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts, Centre for Gender Research.
    Elmgren, Maja
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Chemistry, Department of Chemistry - Ångström, Physical Chemistry.
    Andersson, Staffan
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Physics, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Physics Didactics.
    Normer och identiteter inom högre utbildning: Rapport från ett rundabordssamtal2014In: I stort och smått – med studenten i fokus. / [ed] Geir Gunnlaugsson, Uppsala: Enheten för kvalitetsutveckling och universitetspedagogik , 2014, 157-167 p.Conference paper (Other (popular science, discussion, etc.))
1 - 22 of 22
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