From an Elderly Middle-Aged Man to ‘A Scientist May Be Anyone’: DAST in Nepalese Context
Purpose: This paper wants to explore the attitude of high school Nepalese students toward scientists using a famous method named as Draw-A-Scientist-Test (DAST).
Design/methodology/approach: This paper analyses the drawings of scientists made by the students to explore their attitude regarding scientists. Drawings are analyzed based on the activities, locations, appearances, tools, and objects depicted in the drawings, and captions to examine the popular stereotypes regarding scientists.
Findings: The findings indicated gender imbalance with male dominance in the images of scientists and some usual stereotypes relating to hair, equipment, objects, use of eyeglasses, and lab coat. Moreover, the influence of some mainstream western male scientists was widely seen in the drawings implying the exposure of limited male scientists. In contrast to male scientists, no real-life female scientists were mentioned by the participants demonstrating limited exposure of female scientists. However, some of the findings also challenged the previous findings and depicted scientists with local features, positive expression, and working outdoors. Unlike the previous studies participants’ awareness that scientists could be anyone with an inquisitive mind was indicated by the variations in the scientists’ activities, and appearances in the drawings.
Research limitations/implications: This study recommends the inclusion of participants’ interviews, and exploration of their textbooks to uncover details regarding their understanding and influence. Also, a critical discussion of the stereotypical attitudes about scientists in class could help challenge the stereotypical assumptions regarding scientists.
Practical implications: This research makes science educators aware about the stereotypes prevalent in science students. It encourages science teachers to critically discuss the prevalent stereotypes and use examples of female scientists in class to break the gendered view of scientists.
Keywords: scientists, stereotypes, gender, high-school students, drawings