The CSI Effect: Changing The Face of Scienceby: Richard Jones and Arthur Bangert

Journal ArticleDigital resources are stored online in your NSTA Library.

Until recently, the vast majority of female student images of scientists were versions of white males working alone in laboratory settings (Barman et al. 1997). As a result, the authors asked the question, “What phenomenon is responsible for the recent change in female students’ mental images of scientists?” They suggest that the popular Crime Scene Investigation (CSI) television series and other television programming have greatly influenced how students, especially female students, perceive scientists at work. Evidence for the “CSI effect” was found in drawings from 388 middle school students asked to participate in the Draw-A-Scientist Test (DAST) activity. The procedures and results of this fascinating study are described in this article.

  • Middle
Publication Date

Community ActivitySaved in 67 Libraries

Reviews (2)
  • on Mon Feb 20, 2012 7:00 PM

This article sheds some light on the age old misconceptions of scientists some of which are being propagated today. The article gave me ideas to use with the students in my school. It also triggered some new ideas of my own. A must read!

Anthony O'Bannon
Anthony O'Bannon

  • on Mon Jun 13, 2011 12:07 PM

This article attempts to explain the assumption that today’s female students have a new view of what a scientist should look like. Exchanging the stereotypical Einstein-type images that do not portray girls actively engaged in scientific endeavors to mental images of TV portrayals of females doing science (through programs like CSI, Bones, and Crossing Jordan). The authors conducted a study to duplicate the “Draw A Scientist Test (DAST) from 1983. The newer study was composed of a convenience sample of 265 students in grades 7, 9, and 11. These students were part of an eMSS (electronic Mentoring for Student Success) National Science Foundation (NSF) –funded program. Another conclusion that the authors drew was that the middle school girls in their study had a more balanced global view of scientists in terms of gender. The authors are quick to point out that there are many other plausible explanations for the results they documented, and they invite others to conduct similar studies using the DAST. The article provides a URL link to the study.

Carolyn Mohr  (Buffalo Grove, IL)
Carolyn Mohr (Buffalo Grove, IL)

Free - NSTA Members

$1.29 - Nonmembers

Login or Create a Free Account to add this resource to your library.