, Volume 15, Issue 2, pp 167-183
Date: 23 Sep 2009

Effects of an educational intervention on female biomedical scientists’ research self-efficacy

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Abstract

Women and people of color continue to be underrepresented among biomedical researchers to an alarming degree. Research interest and subsequent productivity have been shown to be affected by the research training environment through the mediating effects of research self-efficacy. This article presents the findings of a study to determine whether a short-term research training program coupled with an efficacy enhancing intervention for novice female biomedical scientists of diverse racial backgrounds would increase their research self-efficacy beliefs. Forty-three female biomedical scientists were randomized into a control or intervention group and 15 men participated as a control group. Research self-efficacy significantly increased for women who participated in the self-efficacy intervention workshop. Research self-efficacy within each group also significantly increased following the short-term research training program, but cross-group comparisons were not significant. These findings suggest that educational interventions that target sources of self-efficacy and provide domain-specific learning experiences are effective at increasing research self-efficacy for women and men. Further studies are needed to determine the longitudinal outcomes of this effort.

Portions of this study were presented at the 2nd Annual Conference on Understanding Interventions that Encourage Minorities to Pursue Research Careers, May 2–4, 2008.