The University of Michigan is conducting a study on male engineering students to determine whether their unconscious biases—microaggressions—are driving women out of the field. The study is funded via the National Science Foundation, which means taxpayers coughed up more than $500,000 for it.
Are microhelens safe from microserfs?
Men are more likely than women to go into engineering, and researchers want to know if sexism plays a role in that. This study involves male engineering students being recorded while they interact with their female counterparts. Researchers will then watch the tapes and make a note of any microaggressions.
The goal of Study One is to identify the specific types of microaggressions (e.g., ignoring women's contributions or assigning women to less important tasks) occurring in videotaped laboratory-based engineering teams. Researchers will develop a reliable microaggressions assessment procedure, and will analyze effects on engineering outcomes (learning, performance, and persistence). In Study Two, the lab-based data will be supplemented with qualitative data reported by students who previously participated in an engineering student group project, via student focus groups. Study Three will examine the influence of microaggressions occurring in class-based teams on engineering outcomes over time.