Methodology and Data Sources for the “Academic STEMM Labor Market, Productivity, and Institutional Responses,” by Felicia A. Jefferson, Matthew T. Hora, Sabrina L. Pickens, and Hal Salzman
To understand the COVID-19 pandemic’s potential effects on women in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and medicine (STEMM), the authors of the paper “Academic STEMM Labor Market, Productivity, and Institutional Responses” that provided much of the information for Chapter 3, compiled two bodies of evidence. First, existing empirical literature concerning women in STEMM informed the pre-COVID-19 pandemic background. This literature is situated in many academic disciplines and addresses gendered and racialized barriers, among others, that are unique to STEMM (e.g., field or laboratory-related work pressures) and some that are relevant to the academic workforce as a whole (e.g., the utility of tenure clock extensions). Second, recent stories and emerging studies provide understanding of the COVID-19 pandemic’s emerging effects. This work was conducted in fall 2020, within the first 9 months of the COVID-19 pandemic, which began in winter 2019. Given this timeline, much of the evidence used to assess how women academics are experiencing the COVID-19 pandemic and how it is affecting their careers is emergent. Additionally, it is important to stress that evidence of the impacts of the pandemic on some topics for particular groups (e.g., views of academic productivity for Black, Indigenous, and other Scholars of Color) were not yet available and thus are not included in Chapter 3 or throughout the report. In other cases, such as for academic productivity for women, considerable evidence exists but does not account for racial and ethnic diversity.
To identify the literature, the authors of this paper conducted a search of Google Scholar and PubMed using combinations of the following search terms: “STEMM,” “careers,” “pandemic,” “intersectionality,” and “women.” The authors then reviewed the papers and conference presentations identified and further limited the search using the following criteria: the manuscripts had to be in English;
the materials had to be peer reviewed; and the content of the materials had to address the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on STEMM careers, the unique or disproportionate impact of the pandemic on women and/or Black, Indigenous, and People of Color researchers in the STEMM disciplines, and institutional responses to the pandemic.
The authors then analyzed the materials using thematic analysis techniques, which in this case included taking notes about recurring topics, data points, or arguments in articles, papers, and reports. The topics, data points, and arguments that were most frequently noted and/or were considered salient to the topic of this report were included in the submitted paper (Ryan and Bernard, 2003). These results served as the raw material for preparing this paper, which is laid out in three parts related to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on (1) the STEMM landscape (or STEMM educational attainment and STEMM occupations), (2) notions of academic productivity, and (3) institutional responses. Each part provides information as available about researchers at different career stages; Scholars of Color; effects by gender, specifically on women; and discipline and institution type.