Just Like All the Other Humans? Analyzing Images of Scientists in Children's Trade Books



Despite the efforts of researchers and national science organizations to recruit more women and minorities into the science and engineering workforce, these fields are still largely dominated by White males. Research suggests that children's mental prototypes of the scientist include a variety of negative and stereotypical features that may contribute to decisions not to pursue a career in science among underrepresented groups. This study examines 1,656 images of scientists in children's nonfiction trade books, which are often used in classrooms and are many children's first introduction to science, to determine the extent to which these depictions perpetuate the stereotypical standard image of the scientist. Results indicate that while many elements of the stereotypical scientist image are not prevalent in these titles, gender and race are causes for concern.