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What elements of a community help undergraduates gain confidence?
2019-07-24, Güven, Jasmin, McCormack, Tom, Coffey, Deirdre, Sokell, Emma, Ní Shúilleabháin, Aoibhinn, Fracchiolla, Claudia
Women's underrepresentation in the field of physics continues to be an issue, in part because of the perceptions women may have about their abilities to study physics. In this paper, we will study undergraduate students' perceptions about the required level of competence for studying physics, and how these perceptions may change due to participation in spaces that support competence building. We use a mixed methods approach to look at survey responses collected from students on the Foundations of physics course at University College Dublin, and interviews with physics undergraduate facilitators of an informal program that explore the overlaps of physics and music. We hypothesise, that female students perceive the required level of competence to study physics to be higher than male students. We propose that providing formal and informal spaces that support competence building will improve undergraduate students' perceptions of their competence to study physics.