What kind of research do I do?
My program of feminist psychological research is broadly concerned with expanding participation in STEM, focusing on key developmental processes in adolescence and emerging adulthood. My research interests are broad and diverse, reflecting emerging topics in feminist psychology and gender development and incorporating an intersectional approach. This combination of breadth and depth is exciting to me, in part, because it creates new opportunities for interdisciplinary collaboration and transdisciplinary innovation. Science is a team sport!
I aim to make science more inclusive. My work is grounded in a commitment to justice and accountability as a scientist, and it demonstrates systematic development and refinement of theory and methodology to produce useful knowledge. I have honed my expertise in longitudinal research methods and meta-analysis and promoted the development of rigorous feminist research strategies. Consistent with the American Psychological Association’s guiding principle to “Champion diversity and inclusion,” and strategic goal to “Utilize psychology to make a positive impact on critical societal issues,” I understand my skillset in psychological science as essential to my feminist praxis.
As STEM innovation is increasingly central to macro-level economic development, STEM education is also a gateway to the economic empowerment of individuals and communities. Moreover, a more diverse STEM workforce is a more innovative and creative workforce. For these reasons, gender and ethnic differences in STEM motivation and achievement are one of many paths by which women and people of color remain economically marginalized, with negative outcomes for our country more broadly. Much of my research is guided by the situated expectancy-value model (Eccles & Wigfield, 2020), which broadly posits that aspects of STEM motivation are rooted in our sociocultural context and have real consequences for STEM achievement.
In the context of my goal to make science more inclusive, my research program engages with three major, interconnected research aims and questions:
- Description: What is the magnitude of psychological gender differences? This question goes beyond examining traditional binary differences to examining multiple dimensions of gender, including gender identity, gender-typing, and gender typicality, across the lifespan.
- Application of Intersectional Approach: How do we best apply intersectionality and explore how psychological gender differences are linked to intersecting systems of inequality? Intersectionality is an approach, not a hypothesis. When we apply an intersectional approach, we discover new questions, new problems, new mechanisms, and new strategies for optimizing human development.
- Optimization: How can we reduce gender differences and improve outcomes for women & girls? The end game is justice–science can be used to help us discover how to mitigate inequities and disparities, thereby maximizing everyone’s potential.
Current projects are focused on applying feminist, intersectional approaches within interdisciplinary collaborations to improve educational, health, and developmental outcomes across the lifespan.
If you are interested in joining my lab, send me an email!
Philadelphia Adolescent Life Study
Data collection for the Philadelphia Adolescent Life Study (PALS) was completed in 2012. This longitudinal study with Philadelphia high school students was funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation. You can learn more about PALS from these publications…
- Telfer, N. A.*, & Else-Quest, N. M. (2022). An intersectional approach to parental ethnic-racial socialization practices and adolescent academic outcomes. Merrill-Palmer Quarterly, 68, 368-400.
- Else-Quest, N. M., & *Peterca, O. (2015). Academic attitudes and achievement in students of urban public single-sex and mixed-sex high schools. American Educational Research Journal, 52, 693-718.
- Else-Quest, N. M., & *Morse, E. (2015). Parental ethnic socialization and adolescent ethnic identity among four ethnic groups. Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, 21, 54-64.
- Else-Quest, N. M. (April 9, 2013). Contextualizing the conversation on women and STEM. Huffington Post.
- Else-Quest, N. M., *Mineo, C. C., & *Higgins A. (2013). Math and science attitudes and achievement at the intersection of gender and ethnicity. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 37, 293-309.