Why is Diversity Important for Science?

Share This:



Special Feature

Why is Diversity Important for Science?


Kendra Redmond, SPS Program Manager

Engaging people from a variety of genders, ethnicities, sexual orientations, perspectives, backgrounds, areas of expertise, religions, cultures, and other variables to participate in science is important for addressing inequities and increasing the size of the scientifically trained workforce. It’s also important because it leads to better science! How?

• Scientific progress relies on problem solving and collaboration. Groups composed of people with diverse experiences and areas of expertise tend to be more creative and innovative.

• Asking questions drives science forward, and scientists with different perspectives often ask different questions. Different questions can lead to new insights.

• The ways in which scientists seek answers to questions can be heavily influenced by their values, and new techniques often lead to new knowledge.

For more discussion on this and to see examples of research in these areas, check out the following resources.

• Daryl E. Chubin and Shirley M. Malcom, “Making a Case for Diversity in STEM Fields,” Insider Higher Ed (October 2008). www.insidehighered.com/views/2008/10/06/chubin

• Kenneth Gibbs, Jr., “Diversity in STEM: What It Is and Why It Matters,” Scientific American (September 2014). http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/voices/2014/09/10/diversity-in-stem-...

• Douglas L. Medin and Carol D. Lee, “Diversity Makes Better Science,” Association for Psychological Science Observer (May-June 2012). www.psychologicalscience.org/index.php/publications/observer/2012/may-ju...

• Scott Page, The Difference: How the Power of Diversity Creates Better Groups, Firms, Schools and Societies (Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ, 2007).

More from this department

Special Feature