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Guidelines for Designing STEM Research
and Evaluation Studies

  • Review the literature about STEM career and workforce mentoring. Start the Mentoring Report and then review with Suzanne Brainard's perspective on the quality of the research base in Mentoring: Lessons Learned and Research Questions [PDF].

  • Identify a clear definition of mentoring. Becky Wai-Ling Packard provides some guidance for developing A Definition of Mentoring to Guide Research [PDF]. Also, see a summary on this topic and a 2005 letter to Science on Mentor, the legendary character. [PDF]

  • Review gaps in the research on STEM career and workforce mentoring identified by leaders in focus groups. In general, the quality of the research base on STEM mentoring is limited, particularly in regard to studies on career and workforce skills. Areas for STEM mentoring research include studies on (a) types, structure, and process of STEM mentoring; (b) STEM mentoring in business, government, and academia; and (c) student mentoring in academia.

  • Determine how you are going to unpack variables related to the STEM mentoring research or evaluation question. Multiple factors affect students' choice of college major or career in STEM, as well as career advancement. In addition, STEM career and workforce mentoring is a continuous process that begins during the primary and secondary school years, continues during the college and university years, and into the workplace.

  • Review resources on methodology, including the following:

In Pursuit of a Diverse Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Workforce: Recommended Research Priorities to Enhance Participation by Underrepresented Minorities
(pages 12-14). [PDF]

The 2002 User-Friendly Handbook for Project Evaluation [PDF]

User Friendly Guide for Mixed Method Evaluations [HTML]

The Center for Social Research Methods

A Policymaker’s Primer on Education Research

Compiled from a project report by Yolanda S. George and David Neale, American Association for the Advancement of Science, October 2005.