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Social Network Structure And Co Authored Papers Between Men And Women Engineers

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2008 Annual Conference & Exposition


Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Publication Date

June 22, 2008

Start Date

June 22, 2008

End Date

June 25, 2008



Conference Session

Innovations in Biological/Agricultural Education-II

Tagged Division

Biological & Agricultural

Page Count


Page Numbers

13.1088.1 - 13.1088.13



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Paper Authors

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Paul Schreuders


Sara Driggs

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Sara Driggs is an undergraduate in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Utah State University. She is interested in women in engineering and an active member of the Society of Women Engineers.

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

Social Network Structure and Co-Authored Papers Between Men and Women Engineers


The interactions between humans have been described in a variety of ways, one of which is using network analysis. It is known that men and women interact differently and, as such, the dynamics between men and women may have an impact on their work. This paper examines the differences between how men and women engineers interact by performing a social network analysis of the co-authorship of conference papers. Understanding these interactions will give insight to how professionals network and how these networks form. This research performed the analysis on the co-authored papers from the American Society for Engineering Educators annual conferences from two divisions, Biological and Agricultural Engineering and Liberal Education. The analysis tracked information about the authors (nodes), with whom they wrote and if those connections (links) are male-male, male-female, or female-female. Then the data was analyzed for the degree, betweenness, and closeness, in a networking software program. After completion, the statistical analyses will compare the two genders to find differences. The objective is to discover if men and women in engineering differ, and ,if so, how? This will be answered by determining if the graphs are scale-free or random, if one gender network has more links than the other, or if they are the same. Finally, it will determine if the networks are quantitatively different as to degree, betweenness, and closeness.


Men and Women in Engineering Much research has been conducted about women in engineering, ascertaining the social impacts, interactions and affects of women in a male dominated workplace.1 However, the intimate details of these issues will not be discussed here. The focus of this research is to study the structure of the social networks and the impact of gender on position within these structures. Biological engineering, like many engineering disciplines, faces challenges recruiting and retaining women at all levels of the profession, from freshman undergraduate to professor. When combined with a strong move toward teamwork in the educational process, the question arises, “Do women collaborate differently than men?”

The role of gender has great weight; many women are pressured away from the sciences because of societal pressures of women being in the home and as mothers. From childhood, women are taught to limit their education and aspirations, whereas men are taught devotion to their careers.2 In the workplace, women have experienced treatment such as teasing or workplace exclusion. In addition, women sometimes feel they are not taken as seriously as their male counterparts.2

For these reasons it is expected that there are differences in how men and women engineers interact. How do these dynamics between men and women engineers affect their collaborative efforts? Are there measurable differences in their social network structure? Do women tend only to work with other women, or is it an even distribution?


Schreuders, P., & Driggs, S. (2008, June), Social Network Structure And Co Authored Papers Between Men And Women Engineers Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 10.18260/1-2--3599

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