Michigan State University

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Physics and Astronomy

Your expertise is wanted!

We welcome your help in curating this bibliography. To suggest additional resources, comments, or insights related to inclusive teaching, please contact the following librarians directly, or fill out this form.

MSU Researcher Highlight

Locally, MSU's College of Natural Science has created the Physics Education Research Lab (PERL). One of PERL'S major areas of research is how different instructional model support diverse groups of students in learning and engaging with physics. Co-Director Dr. Vashti Sawtelle has published works in this area as well as Dr. Katie Hinko with her recent article titled, "Deconstructing Black physics identity: Linking individual and social constructs using the critical physics identity framework."

We want to feature MSU research on our website. If that is you or someone else you know, please contact the subject librarian(s) above, and we'll highlight it on our page!

Databases & Terms Searched: 

The Library does not subscribe to any databases that specifically cover the fields of Physics and Astronomy so the following databases were searched; Web of Science, Scopus, Google Scholar, Summon, Education Full Text, and ERIC. The terms used included Physics or Astronomy combined with at least one of the terms inclusive, diversity, or anti-racist and at least one of terms like pedagogy, curriculum, or classroom environment.  Despite doing a comprehensive search of these databases and Summon no articles dealing with topic of inclusive teaching the field of Astronomy were found.


The field of Physics began efforts to emphasize inclusive teaching and recognition of cultural diversity a number of years ago. Instructors have made concerted efforts to understand student perspectives and the social dynamics of classroom settings. Women and minorities struggle with their perceived intelligence levels and feelings of belonging in physics classrooms. Effective interventions include not singling out particular groups, using psychology literature on inclusion, and making sure to give constructive feedback. Instructors must also work on their own self-awareness of cultural diversity to create a welcoming culture and course content with various groups in mind. Physics has long been seen as a masculine field, so using gender-neutral language and encouraging peer interactions and mentoring can help all students feel a sense of belonging in the field.  Locally MSU's College of Natural Science has created the Physics Education Research Lab (PERL). One of PERL'S major areas of research is how different instructional model support diverse groups of students in learning and engaging with physics.

The astronomy community is aware of the lack diversity in the field and it has taken some steps to address the issue.  Because no articles were found that addressed the issue of diversity in the field, a Google search was done which located an American Astronomical Society (AAS) web site entitled “Inclusive Astronomy – The Nashville Recommendations”.   The Nashville Recommendations emerged from an AAS sponsored conference entitled Inclusive Astronomy held in Nashville in 2015. The International Astronomical Union (IAU)is sponsoring a symposium entitled Astronomy for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion — a roadmap to action within the framework of the IAU 100th Anniversary.  It will  take place in November of 2019 in Tokyo, Japan.

Relevant Journals: 

The Physics Teacher

Physics Today

Physical Review – Physics Education Research

Physical Review Special Topics – Physics Education Research

Journal of Women & Minorities in Science and Engineering

International Journal of Science Education

International Journal of STEM Education

Cultural Studies of Science Education

Journal of Astronomy and Earth Sciences Education



Aguilar, L., et al. (2014). Psychological insights for improved physics teaching. Physics Today, 67(5), 43-49.

Gotschel, H. (2014). No space for girliness in physics: understanding and overcoming the masculinity of physics. Cultural Studies of Science Education, 9(2), 531-53.

Ngwa, W. (2013). Access for Minorities to Physics Education & Research Excellent (AMPERE). Medical Physics, 40(6), 414.

Whitten, B. L., & Burciaga, J. R. (2000). Feminist and multicultural pedagogy in physics: a status report. Women's Studies Quarterly, 28(1), 213-35.

Witten, B. L., Fester, S.R.,  Duncombe, M.L. (2013). What Works? Increasing the participation of women in undergraduate physics. Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering, 9, 239-258.

Zohar, A. & Bronshtein, B. (2005). Physics teachers’ knowledge and beliefs regarding girls’ low participation rates in advanced physics classes. International Journal of Science Education, 27(1), 61-77.


Rifkin, M. (2016). Addressing Underrepresentation: Physics Teaching for All. Physics Teacher, 54, 72-75.

Traxler, A., & Brewe, E. (2015). Equity investigation of attitudinal shifts in introductory physics. Physical Review Special Topics - Physics Education Research, 11(2), 020132. doi:10.1103/PhysRevSTPER.11.020132


Johnson, A. (2019). A model of culturally relevant pedagogy in physics. AIP Conference Proceedings, 2109(1), 130004. doi:10.1063/1.5110152

Hoshino-Browne, E., Lui, K. P. H., & Graves, A. L. (2017). Swimming against the tide: Gender bias in the physics classroom. Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering, 23(1), 15-36. doi:10.1615/JWomenMinorScienEng.2017013584

Hodapp, T., & Brown, E. (2018). Making physics more inclusive. Nature, 557(7707), 629-632.

Cochran, G. L. & White, G. D. (2018). Continuing conversations on equity in the physics classroom. The Physics Teacher, 56(1), 3-5.

Marshman, E., Kalender, Z., Schunn, C., Nokes-Malach, T., Singh, C. (2018). A longitudinal analysis of students' motivational characteristics in introductory physics courses: Gender differences. Canadian Journal of Physics, 96(4), 391-405.

Nelson, A. (2017). Diversity in physics: Are you part of the problem? Physics Today, 70(5), 10.

Seyranian, V., Madva, A., Duong, N., Abramzon, N., Tibbetts, Y., & Harackiewicz, J. M. (2018). The longitudinal effects of STEM identity and gender on flourishing and achievement in college physics. International Journal of STEM Education, 5(1), 1-14.

Webb, D. J. (2017). Concepts first: A course with improved educational outcomes and parity for underrepresented minority groups. American Journal of Physics, 85(8), 628-632.

Brewe, E., Sawtelle, V., Kramer, L. H., O’Brien, G. E., Rodriguez, I., & Pamelá, P. (2010). Toward equity through participation in Modeling Instruction in introductory university physics. Physical Review Special Topics - Physics Education Research, 6(1), 010106. doi:10.1103/PhysRevSTPER.6.010106

Center for History of Physics. Teaching Guides on Women and Minorities. https://www.aip.org/history-programs/physics-history/teaching-guides-women-minorities

Contact Info

Erika Weir
Physical Sciences Librarian
(517) 884-0907