The AWE literature overviews summarize current academic literature on women in engineering and are designed to provide reliable and current research-based information to directors and coordinators of WIE programs and activities. Based on an extensive review of the existing WIE literature, the overviews are designed to 1) point to the core research on a topic, 2) identify influential authors in a subject area and 3) facilitate access to original data sources. Throughout, the goal was to place individual experience within the social and academic context in which they occur, shifting focus from the individual toward the broader social and cultural circumstances. The issue of gender must be considered in any literature reviews, programs, etc. that focus on women in engineering. The AWE Annotated Bibliography points interested readers to more on this topic via those publications categorized as “Feminism and/in Science.”

Literature Review Process

The literature review began with a keyword search of the University of Missouri’s Ellis Library’s holdings and electronic databases using the terms “women and engineering” and “women in engineering”. The early focus of the literature review was confined to women in engineering, with an emphasis on programming and program evaluation and assessment. Results in this area were limited and the search was extended to include math, science, and technology to provide a broader context and theoretical foundation for engineering-specific research. The literature review was limited to undergraduate and younger women and girls to reflect the majority of women in engineering activities conducted by AWE grant participants.

Reviews of bibliographies and references cited were particularly fruitful and helped to define major themes, authors, and research studies. Consultants and grant participants also provided suggestions for additional sources.

Databases used in the literature search include:
  • EbscoHost
  • Contemporary Women’s Issues
  • SocioFile
  • PsychInfo
  • Eric
  • GenderWatch
  • Web of Science
  • WorldCat

Significant online sources of information included:

  • National Science Foundation
  • National Center for Education Statistics
  • Women in Engineering Programs & Advocates Network
  • Society of Women Engineers
  • National Institute for Science Education
  • American Association of University Women

Another component of the literature review included a search for assessment instruments relevant to women in engineering activities. Relevance was determined via the critical factors to women in engineering programming and success defined above (e.g. we searched for ways of measuring self-efficacy). Evaluation and assessment instruments were located through various sources, including:

  • Published research
  • Internet Searches
  • ERIC/AE Test Locator
  • ETS Test Collection
  • Buros Institute Mental Measures Handbook
  • Tests in Print
  • Measures of Social Psychological Attitudes
  • Measures for Clinical Practice: A Sourcebook.

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Developed by The Pennsylvania State University and University of Missouri
Funded by The National Science Foundation (HRD 0120642 and HRD 0607081)