, Volume 6, Issue 2, pp 509-523
Date: 12 Apr 2011

Identity: a complex structure for researching students’ academic behavior in science and mathematics

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This article is a response to Pike and Dunne’s research. The focus of their analysis is on reflections of studying science post-16. Pike and Dunne draw attention to under enrollments in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields, in particular, in the field of physics, chemistry and biology in the United Kingdom. We provide an analysis of how the authors conceptualize the problem of scientific career choices, the theoretical framework through which they study the problem, and the methodology they use to collect and analyze data. In addition, we examine the perspective they provide in light of new developments in the field of students’ attitudes towards science and mathematics. More precisely, we draw attention to and explicate the authors’ use of identity from the perspective of emerging theories that explore the relationships between the learner and culture in the context of science and mathematics.

This review essay addresses issues raised in Pike and Dunne’s paper entitled: Student reflections on choosing to study science post-16.