Families in Quarantine
Currently, we are assessing how families are functioning in their daily lives during the COVID-19 pandemic. Specifically, we are interested in how parents are dividing household labor, childcare, and children’s education. We are interested in the cognitive effects this may have on parents, as well as how children’s daily routines are affected, along with how they may be spending their additional time at home. Two waves of this survey were administered to assess families' adjustment from the beginning of the pandemic to their current status. Preliminary data from wave one can be found here!
Students in Quarantine
Our lab investigated how well university students coped with the COVID-19 quarantine. We were interested in assessing the effects the pandemic may have had on students’ mental health and perceived stress. Additionally, we were interested in students’ perceptions regarding their readiness to transition into online learning at universities. Analysis of data is still ongoing, however, some preliminary results showed that women were more likely than men to be stressed and anxious, possibly due to higher self-efficacy, for the understanding of COVID-19 transmission than men. We also found that overall mental health lowered with increased understanding of COVID transmission and increased worry about contraction.
I developed a study that utilizes Foldscopes to examine how children use them to test hypotheses about the appearance of macroscopic and microscopic images. Foldscopes are paper microscopes that are meant to make science more accessible to those who typically do not have access to mechanical microscopes. Examples of some Foldscope images can be found at http://microcosmos.foldscope.com/. Data analysis is ongoing, however, preliminary findings highlight the importance of hands-on STEM activities and how concrete information about science jobs’ qualifications may increase children’s interest in STEM careers, including rural STEM jobs. Further analysis is needed to disentangle the finding that all children, regardless of gender, were better able to match feminine-appearing slides and samples compared to the masculine-appearing condition
Family interaction at a community science exhibit
I collected data on parents and children interacting at a community science exhibit. I was interested in how boys versus girls navigated the exhibit and how parents and peers assisted them. Preliminary results suggest that with age, boys and girls diverge in the methods they use to explore the exhibit. Our results suggest that across early development, some girls may be losing interest in science while boys may be gaining interest.
Instruction in Construction (LEGO)
In collaboration with Dr. Megan Fulcher at Washington and Lee University, I investigated how adults teach about LEGO construction to boys vs. girls. Our SEAL Lab showed instructional videos, created in Dr. Fulcher's lab, to assess how successfully adults (and eventually children) can assemble the described LEGO constructions. Preliminary results suggest that effective teaching strategies for children versus adults in building tasks may be quite similar. The results of this research may also have implications for educational and parental training.
Experiencing Homelessness in Puyallup
I collaborated with the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty to survey homeless adults in the Puyallup, WA area about their experiences living homeless in the area. This project examines key concerns around shelter and safety, as well as positive and negative interactions with police, and experiences of discrimination more generally. Current work on this topic examines the prevalence of homelessness among children, and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on access to resources.
Parent-child play with a STEM toy
My dissertation examined how parents and children use a toy designed to teach mechanical skills and promote STEM interest, and how that varies based on the gendered marketing of the toy. These video-taped sessions offer ample opportunity to code for various aspects of parent-child interaction in a STEM play task. Recent analysis looked at parental praise/encouragement vs. criticism/discouragement to examine how those might relate to children's persistence in the STEM task and a later independently completed mechanical transfer task.
Gender & STEM intervention meta-analysis
This meta-analysis evaluates the effectiveness of interventions aimed at increasing girls’ and women’s interest and participation in STEM. I am interested in empirically evaluating the impact of STEM intervention programs in order to understand what works well, what does not work, and what might be harmful. Some of our findings showed that interventions which target motivation and STEM skills are effective. We also found that few interventions assessed participation, a component that could be key to determine if STEM interventions have an impact on the STEM gender gap.
Join the Team
Interested in joining? Students are able to work on all aspects of my research, from project design to data collection to dissemination of results at conferences and in papers.
Interested students should contact me directly for more information: ECoyle@stmartin.edu