1st Edition

Understanding Young People's Science Aspirations How students form ideas about ‘becoming a scientist’

By Louise Archer, Jennifer DeWitt Copyright 2017
    198 Pages
    by Routledge

    198 Pages
    by Routledge

    Understanding Young People's Science Aspirations offers new evidence and understanding about how young people develop their aspirations for education, learning and, ultimately, careers in science. Integrating new findings from a major research study with a wide ranging review of existing international literature, it brings a distinctive sociological analytic lens to the field of science education.

    The book offers an explanation of how some young people do become dedicated to follow science, and what might be done to increase and broaden this population, exploring the need for increased scientific literacy among citizens to enable them to exercise agency and lead a life underpinned by informed decisions about their own health and their environment. Key issues considered include:

    • why we should study young people’s science aspirations        
    • the role of families, social class and science capital in career choice
    •  the links between ethnicity, gender and science aspirations
    • the implications for research, policy and practice.

    Set in the context of widespread international policy concern about the urgent need to improve, increase and diversify participation in post-16 science, this key text considers how we must encourage a supply of appropriately qualified future scientists and workers in STEM industries and ensure a high level of scientific literacy in society. It is a crucial read for all training and practicing science teachers, education researchers and academics, as well as anyone invested in the desire to help fulfil young people’s science aspirations.  


    1. Why Study Young People’s Science Aspirations?  2. What Do Young People Today Aspire to?  3. Schools, Lessons and Science Identities  4. The ‘Brainy’ Scientist  5. The Role of Families, Social Class and Science Capital on Young People’s Aspirations  6. Gender, Girls and Science Aspirations  7. Ethnicity and Science Aspirations: British Asian and British Black students  8. Conclusions and Implications for Research, Policy and Practice


    Louise Archer is Professor of Sociology of Education at King’s College London, UK.

    Jennifer DeWitt is Research Fellow at King’s College London, UK.