Sunday, February 19, 2017
Exhibit Hall (Hynes Convention Center)
Jill Allen, Drake University, Des Moines, IA
The “team science revolution” suggests that people working together from different backgrounds and with different training make for the best innovation and discovery. Yet, scientific research is often viewed as uncollaborative, and relatively little is known regarding when, and for whom, such perceptions emerge and whether these fluctuating perceptions matter. We investigated the natural development of perceiving research as a collaborative, team-based endeavor and the resulting motivational consequences. Across 10 universities/colleges, 522 undergraduate biomedical research assistants (28% underrepresented ethnic minority, 60% female) completed surveys about their research experience and science motivation over four academic terms. Longitudinal analysis showed that during a single academic term, students’ social-collaborative science perceptions plummeted, β = -.50, t(842) = –5.07, p < .001. Notably, fluctuations in social-collaborative science perceptions were less uniform between the end of the first and fourth academic terms when taking into account a research assistant's gender and ethnicity. Underrepresented ethnic minority women’s social-collaborative science perceptions were most resistant to decline over the next three academic terms (compared to other groups), β = .38, t(690) = 2.13, p = 0.03. Such patterns are troubling given our results showing greater social-collaborative science perceptions predicted enhanced intrinsic interest in science over time [β = .96, t(267) = 2.47, p = 0.01], which in turn predicted greater intentions to attend a biomedical graduate program [β = .53, t(293) = 5.07, p < 0.001]. No differences in this pathway emerged based on intersecting disadvantaged identities – which clearly points to increasing social-collaborative science perceptions to increase all students’ biomedical research motivation. Taken together, results underscore the potential impact of faculty mentors creating an inclusive team science environment early in students’ research training to broaden participation in science.