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date: 15 May 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Enhancing expertise in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) is vital to promoting both the intellectual and economic development of a modern society. This chapter synthesizes relevant studies on the acquisition and development of STEM expertise from different areas of research, including cognitive psychology, the psychology of science, sociology and anthropology, and educational research. Specifically, first, the structure of relevant STEM disciplines in conceptualizing the domain of expertise are discussed. Then the fundamental mechanisms of thinking and problem-solving practices in science and engineering that underlie expert performance within these disciplines are presented. Issues pertaining to assessment and recognition of expertise in STEM fields are also examined. Lastly, evidence pertaining to the impact of training and education on the development of STEM expertise is reviewed. The chapter closes with a critical analysis of STEM expertise research to date and identifies unanswered critical questions and new directions for future research.

Keywords: research training, science, engineering, discipline, psychology of science, socialization, graduate education, innovation

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