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Scientists, their work, and how others perceive them: Self-perceptions of scientists and students’ stereotypes
I. Stamer, M. Kubsch, M. Steiner, T. Höffler, S. Schwarzer, I. Parchmann

Scientists, their work, and how others perceive them: Self-perceptions of scientists and students’ stereotypes

Research in Subject-matter Teaching and Learning (RISTAL), 2, 85-101.

Stereotypes are simplifications of complex characteristics of groups of persons and are common and widespread through media as well as everyday experiences. Especially regarding occupational groups stereotypes can be a problem because many young people base their occupational choices on these simplified conceptions. It is thus important to comprehensively depict scientists´ fields of activities. Therefore, we categorized typical scientific activities into the so-called RIASEC+N dimensions. Based on these dimensions, we investigated the self-perceptions of junior scientists (n = 92) and professors (n = 10) about their own work and compared these perceptions with the perceptions of school students ranging from grades 10 – 13 (n = 244). The results show differences between some scientific activity fields for the three groups. For example, students tend to underestimate creative and social aspects of typical scientists´ work fields and hold rather stereotypical views. Thus, interventions to promote an authentic image of science are needed.