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NSF AGEP CIRTL Research: Focus Groups

AGEP CIRTL National Science Foundation Project Information

The purpose of the visit by Iowa State University evaluators is to inform the NSF AGEP CIRTL research study that explores campus climate, and the socialization experiences of graduate students at the university. The research team will elicit information from:

  • Student participants about their initial interest in STEM, academic and social experiences in educational settings, how they perceive the climate and see themselves as scholars, and their future goals in STEM.
  • Faculty, postdoc and administrator participants about their perceptions of STEM campus climate and current initiatives.

Qualitative data will be gathered to inform our decisions on the initiatives, and provide insights, from multiple perspectives, on the professional formation of STEM students. Using case study methodology, the researchers are looking to understand how students develop, and sustain their desire to pursue an academic career, and capture key elements related to advising, mentoring, and peer interactions. To do so, multiple focus groups will be conducted with University of Maryland graduate students, faculty, postdocs, and administrators.

Focus Groups

4 (90-minute) focus groups with 6-8 graduate students – 3 with Students of Color/Racially Minoritized Students and 1 with White students

3-4 (90-minute) focus groups with 6-8 administrators, postdocs, department leaders, and faculty members

Focus Groups Composition

Student Groups – Three Groups with Students of Color/Racially Minoritized Students

  • Black/African/African American

  • Latina/o/x

  • American Indian/Native American

  • Asian/Asian American and Pacific Islander

  • Multiple racial identities

One group with white students

Administrator, Postdoc and Faculty Groups

  • Four groups with administrators, postdocs, department leaders, and faculty members

  • Individuals can be from any race, ethnicity, background 

Focus Group Schedule

December 7, 2020 (Day 1)
4:00 – 5:30 P.M.  Faculty/Postdoc/Administrator Group (Location: Zoom link to be sent to participants)

December 8, 2020 (Day 2)
2:00 - 3:30 P.M. Students of Color/Racially Minoritized Graduate Student Group (Location: Zoom link to be sent to participants)

4:00 - 5:30 P.M. Students of Color/Racially Minoritized Graduate Student Group (Location: Zoom link to be sent to participants)

December 9, 2020 (Day 3)

1:30-3:00 P.M. Faculty/Postdoc/Administrator Group (Location: Zoom link to be sent to participants)

5:00-6:30 P.M. White Graduate Student Group (Location: Zoom link to be sent to participants)

December 10, 2020 (Day 4)
1:30-3:00 P.M. Faculty/Postdoc/Administrator Group (Location: Zoom link to be sent to participants)

4:30-6:00 P.M. Faculty/Postdoc/Administrator Group (Location: Zoom link to be sent to participants)

6:30-8:00 P.M. Students of Color/Racially Minoritized Graduate Student Group (Location: Zoom link to be sent to participants)

Deciding to participate in this study is completely voluntary, and anyone invited may elect to discontinue your involvement at any time, without any negative consequences.

Confidentiality

Each participant’s privacy and the confidentiality of their data will be protected by the following measures.

  • All participants will be assigned a pseudonym when results are being published.

  • Finally, all data will be on a password protected computer, encrypted device, or protected in a locked office.

  • During the course of the study, participants have the ability to opt out of any question, take breaks or end their participation all together.

  • Participants can expect that their information will be shared in professional settings, and used for the betterment of services, and support to students/postdocs. It will be shared at conferences, and published materials, however, it will not use individually identifiable information or aspects from the participants’ responses.

  • All names will be removed and replaced with a researcher-assigned pseudonym or code name. Evaluators will utilize a master key file in which they will store the participant’s real name, and the assigned pseudonyms. Only the principal investigators, and graduate research assistant will have access to the
    digital audio recordings, and other data.

  • The documents that identify the subjects will be kept until 2025 and then destroyed.

  • Records identifying participants will be kept confidential to the extent allowed by applicable laws and regulations. Records will not be made publicly available; however, de-identified information collected about each participant during this study may be shared with other researchers or used for future research
    studies.

  • Researchers will not obtain additional informed consent from participants before sharing the de-identified data. Federal government regulatory agencies, the National Science Foundation, auditing departments of Iowa State University, and the ISU Institutional Review Board (a committee that reviews and approves human subject research studies) may inspect and/or copy your records for quality assurance
    and data analysis. These records may contain private information.

  • If you choose to participate in this study, you will be audio recorded. Any audio recordings will be stored securely, and only the research team will have access to the recordings.

Contact Information

The Graduate School, University of Maryland

2123 Lee Building
7809 Regents Drive
College Park, MD 20742
301-405-3644
gradschool@umd.edu