A mixed method, exploratory, sequential research design was conducted to investigate the presence of latent bias in early childhood STEM literature content, applying a non-biased, sociocultural, STEM identity, theoretical framework. A survey of children's perceptions of gender and a content analysis found unintentional bias. Exploratory findings confirmed 102 children were gendering images. An examination of the relationship between the participants' gender and how the participant gendered AND preferred the images indicated differences existed between boys and girls. Children preferred images perceived as matching their own, with statistical significance. Girls were found to prefer images less than boys AND they were more likely to gender the images. Children were more likely to give gender to the 50 images considered in the study, than to non-gender them. The gendering and preference was found to be statistically significantly higher for anthropomorphic and personified inanimate images. Additionally, a content analysis of eight award winning and popular selling STEM children's books were conducted and were found to contain biased narratives and image content. A content analysis found significant differences relating to the frequency of character representation in the eight books. Analysis indicated a higher lexical representation of females to males, and image representation was more male than female. Further analysis of additional books and images is warranted from the findings of this exploratory study.
Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
College of Community Innovation and Education
School of Teacher Education
Education; Instructional Design and Technology
Length of Campus-only Access
Doctoral Dissertation (Campus-only Access)
Herlihy, Christine, "Discovering Latent Gender Bias in Children's STEM Literature" (2019). Electronic Theses and Dissertations, 2004-2019. 6773.