A bibliometric mapping of the structure of STEM education using co-word analysis



STEM, a set of fields that includes science, technology, engineering, and mathematics; allied disciplines ranging from environmental, agricultural, and earth sciences to life science and computer science; and education and training in these fields, is clearly at the top of the list of priority funding areas for governments, including the United States government. The U.S. has 11 federal agencies dedicated to supporting programs and providing funding for research and curriculum development. The domain of STEM education has significant implications in preparing the desired workforce with the requisite knowledge, developing appropriate curricula, providing teachers the necessary professional development, focusing research dollars on areas that have maximum impact, and developing national educational policy and standards. A complex undertaking such as STEM education, which attracts interest and valuable resources from a number of stakeholders needs to be well understood. In light of this, we attempt to describe the underlying structure of STEM education, its core areas, and their relationships through co-word analyses of the titles, keywords, and abstracts of the relevant literature using visualization and bibliometric mapping tools. Implications are drawn with respect to the nature of STEM education as well as curriculum and policy development.