This research project included surveys and site visits for interviews and focus groups. Departments were recruited for the project from a stratified random sample of all U.S. post-secondary institutions with active doctoral programs in computer science or computer engineering. The sampling frame consisted of 147 CSE departments that awarded at least three doctorates in academic years ending 1998, 1999, or 2000. The frame was divided into three tiers according to the departments’ NRC (1993) rating of faculty quality, plus an unrated group. Two samples (one for this study and one for another CRA study) were randomly selected from each group. Of the 60 departments (20 top-tier, 20 second-tier, 10 third-tier, and 10 unranked) selected to participate in this study, 49 departments accepted our invitation. The doctoral program in one institution was inactive, so this program was dropped from the study.
After pre-testing interview protocols with random volunteers at the 2002 Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing, we visited four study departments for final pretests of our instruments. We conducted interviews with chairpersons and faculty, and focus groups with graduate students where they completed and discussed the draft instruments. Based on their feedback, we revised our survey instruments and sent summary climate reports to participating departments.
In the fall and winter of 2003, we collected survey data using three instruments: chairpersons, faculty, and graduate students questionnaires. All full-time graduate faculty, and in most cases all students, in a department were invited to participate.
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Response rates for particular questions varied. By winter 2004, each department was sent a confidential “report card” comparing their average responses to selected survey items with the average study responses.
In spring 2005, five departments were selected for follow-up site visits. The purpose of these visits was to explore in more depth the survey findings. A trained team of researchers sought specific examples of graduate student, faculty, and chair experiences and observations, and their explanations for some of the survey results. Participating departments were sent narrative summaries that expanded upon their department “report card” results.
|Copyright 2002-2006, J. McGrath Cohoon, University of Virginia|