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Soc. Sci. 2018, 7(1), 7;

Framing Engineering: The Role of College Website Descriptions

International Education Policy Program, College of Education, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 20 November 2017 / Revised: 24 December 2017 / Accepted: 26 December 2017 / Published: 31 December 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Women in Male-Dominated Domains)
Full-Text   |   PDF [233 KB, uploaded 31 December 2017]


This study contributes to the literature on women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) by examining the framing of engineering on college websites, a major recruitment tool. We take websites to be key sources of textual data that can provide insights into the discourses surrounding the field of engineering. We ask whether women-only institutions (WOIs) frame engineering in ways that appeal more broadly to women. Our sample comprises the full range of WOIs offering engineering degrees in the US (14) and a comparison sample of 14 coeducational universities also offering engineering degrees. We employ established methods for discourse analysis, and both deductive and inductive coding processes in analyzing the textual data. Our main findings indicate that WOIs’ framing of engineering places a greater emphasis on collaboration, supports for students, interdisciplinarity, and the potential for engineering to contribute to improvements for society. In contrast, co-ed institutions tend to place a greater emphasis on the financial returns and job security that result from majoring in engineering. We conclude that co-ed engineering programs should consider a broadening of the descriptions surrounding the engineering field, since the inclusion of a wider set of values could be appealing to women students. View Full-Text
Keywords: women-only institutions; coeducational institutions; discourse analysis; engineering; framing; gender; higher education; major selection; program selection; STEM women-only institutions; coeducational institutions; discourse analysis; engineering; framing; gender; higher education; major selection; program selection; STEM
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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da Costa, R.B.; Stromquist, N.P. Framing Engineering: The Role of College Website Descriptions. Soc. Sci. 2018, 7, 7.

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