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Students’ Sense of Belonging in Introductory Astronomy Labs

Published onJun 01, 2020
Students’ Sense of Belonging in Introductory Astronomy Labs

Students’ sense of belonging in science has been identified as a predictor for students’ motivation, self-efficacy, and persistence in the field, especially for historically under-represented students. Our focus for this study is on students’ sense of belonging in introductory general education astronomy labs. Previous studies have shown that students’ sense of belonging can be influenced by interpersonal relationships in lab (with peers and/or the instructor), perceived competence, personal interest, or sense of science identity. Our goal here is to understand whether these factors or others also influence general education astronomy students’ sense of belonging. This study is being conducted at San Francisco State University, a hispanic-serving institution and one of the most diverse institutions in the country; we hope to give further voice to a population of students that may not yet be well represented in the current literature. We have collected a number of attitudinal surveys from students taking introductory astronomy labs spanning from Spring 2018 to Spring 2020. By identifying factors that affect students’ sense of belonging in the lab, we hope to further inform how we as an astronomy community may create an inclusive scientific environment for all.

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