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Drawing a Scientist: What We Do and Do Not Know After Fifty Years of Drawings


concerning this article should be addressed to Kevin D. Finson, Department of Teacher Education, WES 215, Bradley University, 1501 W. Bradley Avenue, Peoria, IL 61625-0209. Electronic mail may be sent via Internet to


Since 1957, there has been a growing body of research dealing with the perceptions students have of scientists. Typically, the research studies in this area have utilized students' drawings in efforts to discern what those perceptions are. Emergent from this research has been what one would call a stereotypical perception of scientists, and strong evidence exists that such a stereotypical perception is persistent and pervasive across grade levels, gender, racial groups, and national borders. This manuscript provides a review of the more salient studies done on students' drawings of scientists and the perceptions therein revealed since Mead and Metraux's seminal study in 1957. In addition, the manuscript summarizes what this body of research has and has not revealed thus far, and what seems to lie ahead, including implications for science education.