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A Delphi Study To Structure A Working Conference On Women’s Success In Stem

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2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

Perceptions of Women's Success in STEM

Tagged Division

Women in Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

12.34.1 - 12.34.13



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Paper Authors


Maria Brunette University of Massachusetts-Lowell

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Dr. Brunette's work focuses in applying human factors and systems engineering to the design of work systems. Her interests includes methods for measuring the role of job, organizational, and cultural factors in the quality of work life. In all these areas her focus is on underrepresented ethnic groups and women, especially those from Hispanic origin. Her research initiatives also include investigating the work environment of women in Latin America.

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paula rayman University of Massachusetts-Lowell

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meg bond University of Massachusetts-Lowell

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Lu Yuan University of Massachusetts-Lowell

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

A Delphi Study to Structure a Working Conference on Women’s Success in STEM


Although there is vast information regarding the difficulties that women face in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields, still it is still not very clear how the critical work-related factors interact and have an impact on the attraction, retention, and advancement of women in STEM fields. Since there is little evidence regarding the magnitude and direction of established relationships between these work- related factors and women’s success, it is critical to collectively attempt to define the scope of the research that scholars might consider focusing on.

In addition, as we embark on the 21st century, many of the scholars who have been working in the area of women in STEM are approaching retirement. At the same time, new themes and issues are emerging from the next generation of scholars. To date, no gathering has brought these two generations together with the express purpose of comparing research themes and evaluating findings.

In this paper the authors present results of a qualitative study that was conducted to provide structure for a working conference scheduled for late Spring 2007 intended to a) foster intergenerational and interdisciplinary dialogue on workplace factors associated with women’s success in STEM, and b) develop a set of potential research questions to guide future work. This qualitative study implemented a process where principles of content analysis and the Delphi methodology were applied in structuring a working conference. Preliminary results of such process are presented here.

Using a Qualitative Approach: The Delphi Method

The Delphi method facilitates the process of gathering opinions from a group of experts who share a common interest but usually represent different points of view. The method is based on a structured and iterative process for extracting knowledge from a panel of experts via a series of questionnaires with controlled opinion feedback. The Delphi method improves the generation of critical ideas by structured collection of information and processing of the collective input from a panel of geographically dispersed experts1. By facilitating communication between and among a panel of experts the process is effective and the group as a whole can deal with a complex problem2.

In general, this technique is more valuable for analyzing evolving trends than existing conditions. As noted by the Illinois Institute of Technology3 (2002), “The results of the sequence are only as valid as the opinions of the experts who made up the panel.” This method was first applied to assess long-range trends in science and technology by the RAND Corporation. In the last decades, the Delphi method has been extensively applied in industry, academia, government, and healthcare4.

The advantages of the method are numerous and include5:

Brunette, M., & rayman, P., & bond, M., & Yuan, L. (2007, June), A Delphi Study To Structure A Working Conference On Women’s Success In Stem Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--3050

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