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Title

A Comparative Study Of The Female Image In Selected Elementary School Science Textbooks

Date of Award

1981

Document Type

Dissertation

Abstract

Problem. The purpose of this study was to conduct a content analysis of elementary school science textbooks from two time periods to determine whether or not the female image contained therein had undergone any qualitative or quantitative changes. The population consisted of textbooks adopted for use in the State of California for 1970-1971 and 1980-1981. In both time frames, all series were selected that included titles for grades one through six. The result was a per-page examination of more than eight thousand pages in thirty pupil editions for grades two, four, and six. Procedure. The investigation was completed in four stages as follows: (1) a panel of sociologists and science educators established the content validity of the definitions used in the questions under investigation, (2) a Content Analysis Form for the Female Image in Elementary School Science Textbooks was developed using the definitions, (3) an interrater reliability for analyzing the books was established at .91 with a correlation coefficient of .82 between the investigator's and panel members' responses, and (4) the evaluator analyzed the thirty textbooks independently. Seventeen contingency tables summarized the data collected. Findings. During the decade between 1970-1971 and 1980-1981, the image of women in the elementary school science texts analyzed has improved on most variables. The female image in these texts, however, still remains unequally represented as compared to males in all but two of the areas examined. These areas include: (1) numerical representation in illustrations, (2) the allocation of biographical citations, and (3) the allocation of vocational, non-traditional, physically and/or mentally active roles. In addition, both groups of texts were found to utilize male referents to describe the activites of both males and females. Implications and Recommendations. Textbook evaluators should conduct vigorous examinations of educational materials to determine if fair and equal treatment has been given to both sexes. Secondly, educational publishers should be commended for the apparent progress toward equalization between the sexes, but they should also be encouraged to complete the process.

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