Understanding Student Participation and Choice in Science and Technology Education: The Contribution of IRIS



Many of the chapters in this volume provide reviews of the existing research literature. In this chapter we focus on what the research studies presented in this book have contributed to our understanding of students’ educational choices. The nature of these contributions is varied. Many findings corroborate existing research insights, or explore existing perspectives in new educational contexts or across distinct geographical and cultural settings. In some cases our work challenges prevalent accounts of students’ educational choices. This chapter has five themes: theoretical perspectives; choice as a continuous process; the role of identity and social structure; gender; and methodological insights. We end with suggestions for the future development of research into student participation and choice


  1. Aikenhead, G. S. (1996). Science education: Border crossing into the subculture of science. Studies in Science Education, 27(1), 1–52. doi: 10.1080/03057269608560077.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Archer, L., DeWitt, J., Osborne, J., Dillon, J., Willis, B., & Wong, B. (2012). Science aspirations, capital and family habitus: How families shape children’s engagement and identification with science. American Educational Research Journal, 49(5), 881–908.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Atkinson, W. (2008). Not all that was solid has melted into air (or liquid): A critique of Bauman on individualization and class in liquid modernity. The Sociological Review, 56(1), 1–17.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bennett, J., Lubben, F., & Hampden-Thompson, G. (2011). Schools that make a difference to post-compulsory uptake of physical science subjects: Some comparative case studies in England. International Journal of Science Education, 35(4), 663–689.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Blickenstaff, J. C. (2005). Women and science careers: Leaky pipeline or gender filter? Gender and Education, 17(4), 369–386.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bøe, M. V. (2012). Science choices in Norwegian upper secondary school: What matters? Science Education, 96(1), 1–20.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bøe, M. V., & Henriksen, E. K. (2013). Love it or leave it. Norwegian students’ motivations and expectations for post-compulsory physics. Science Education, 97(4), 550–573.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Butler, J. (1990). Gender trouble: Feminism and the subversion of identity. New York/London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  9. Cleaves, A. (2005). The formation of science choices in secondary school. International Journal of Science Education, 27(4), 471–486.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Danielsson, A. T. (2009). Doing physics – Doing gender. Uppsala: Uppsala Universitet.Google Scholar
  11. Eccles, J. (2007). Where are all the women? Gender differences in participation in physical science and engineering. In S. J. Ceci & W. M. Williams (Eds.), Why aren’t more women in science? – Top researchers debate the evidence (pp. 199–210). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Eccles, J., Vida, M. N., & Barber, B. (2004). The relation of early adolescents’ college plans and both academic ability and task-value beliefs to subsequent college enrollment. Journal of Early Adolescence, 24(1), 63–77.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Fredricks, J. A., & Eccles, J. S. (2002). Children’s competence and value beliefs from childhood through adolescence: Growth trajectories in two male-sex-typed domains. Developmental Psychology, 38(4), 519–533.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Furlong, A. (2009). Revisiting transitional metaphors: Reproducing social inequalities under the conditions of late modernity. Journal of Education and Work, 22(5), 343–353.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Giddens, A. (1991). Modernity and self-identity. Self and society in the late modern age. Cambridge: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  16. Gill, T., & Bell, J. F. (2013). What factors determine the uptake of A-level physics? International Journal of Science Education, 35(5), 753–772.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Hampden-Thompson, G., Lubben, F., & Bennett, J. (2011). Post-16 physics and chemistry uptake: Combining large-scale secondary analysis with in-depth qualitative methods. International Journal of Research and Method in Education, 34(3), 289–307.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Hazari, Z., Sonnert, G., Sadler, P. M., & Shanahan, M. (2010). Connecting high school physics experiences, outcome expectations, physics identity, and physics career choice: A gender study. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 47(8), 978–1008.Google Scholar
  19. Holmegaard, H. T., Madsen, L. M., & Ulriksen, L. (2014). To choose or not to choose science: Constructions of desirable identities among young people considering a STEM higher education programme. International Journal of Science Education, 36(2), 186–215. doi: 10.1080/09500693.2012.749362 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Homer, M., Ryder, J., & Donnelly, J. (2013). Sources of differential participation rates in school science: The impact of curriculum reform. British Educational Research Journal, 39(2), 248–265.Google Scholar
  21. Jacobs, J., Davis-Kean, P., Bleeker, M., Eccles, J., & Malanchuk, O. (2005). “I can, but I don’t want to”. The impact of parents, interests, and activities on gender differences in maths. In A. Gallagher & J. Kaufman (Eds.), Gender differences in mathematics. An integrative psychological approach (pp. 246–263). New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  22. Krogh, L. B. (2006). ‘Cultural border crossings’ i fysikundervisningen – unges forhold til fysik i et kulturelt perspektiv. Aarhus: Aarhus University.Google Scholar
  23. Ryan, L. M. (2012). “You must be very intelligent…?”: Gender and science subject uptake. International Journal of Gender, Science and Technology, 4(2), 167–190.Google Scholar
  24. Sadler, P. M., Sonnert, G., Hazari, Z., & Tai, R. (2012). Stability and volatility of STEM career interest in high school: A gender study. Science Education, 96(3), 411–427.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Schreiner, C. (2006). Exploring a ROSE-garden. Norwegian youth’s orientation towards science – Seen as signs of late modern identities. Doctoral thesis, University of Oslo, Oslo.Google Scholar
  26. Shanahan, M.-C. (2009). Identity in science learning: Exploring the attention given to agency and structure in studies of identity. Studies in Science Education, 45(1), 43–64. doi: 10.1080/03057260802681847.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Sinnes, A., & Løken, M. (2012). Gendered education in a gendered world: Looking beyond cosmetic solutions to the gender gap in science. Cultural studies of science education, 1–22. doi: 10.1007/s11422-012-9433-z.
  28. Søndergaard, D. M. (1996). Tegnet på kroppen. Køn: Koder og konstruktioner blandt unge voksne i akademia. København: Museum Tusculanums Forlag, Københavns Universitet.Google Scholar
  29. Ulriksen, L. (2009). The implied student. Studies in Higher Education, 34(5), 517–532. doi: 10.1080/03075070802597135.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Walker, M. (2001). Engineering identities. British Journal of Sociology of Education, 22(1), 75–89. doi: 10.1080/01425690124860.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jim Ryder
    • 1
  • Lars Ulriksen
    • 2
  • Maria Vetleseter Bøe
    • 3
  1. 1.School of EducationUniversity of LeedsLeedsUK
  2. 2.Department of Science EducationUniversity of CopenhagenCopenhagen CDenmark
  3. 3.Norwegian Centre for Science EducationOsloNorway

Personalised recommendations