Decision-making factors of female A-level chemistry students when choosing to study a degree in chemistry

Rachel Crossdale, Fraser J. Scott, Gemma Sweeney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
23 Downloads (Pure)


Gender issues, and specifically the lack of women in the physical sciences, has been a subject of intense debate for decades. The problem is so acute, that national initiatives have been developed to analyse and address the issues, with some success in STEM, particularly in higher education and also in industry. However, despite this progress, there is little understanding as to why women are less likely to study the chemical sciences in particular. In this research, a survey and interviews were used to find out why female A-level chemistry students choose, or do not choose, to study chemistry at higher education level. Two distinct phases were identified. Firstly, intelligence gathering to understand the location, content, entry requirements, and career options for potential course and institution combinations. Secondly, self-reflection to establish whether, knowing themselves, students feel as though they would be successful on a particular course at a particular institution. These findings align with research into gender imbalance in STEM and Higher Education more broadly, but go beyond this to broaden current debates with a focus on chemistry in particular.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)231-242
Number of pages12
JournalChemistry Teacher International
Issue number3
Early online date27 May 2022
Publication statusPublished - 5 Oct 2022


  • gender issues
  • misconceptions
  • attitudes
  • culture and education


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