The gender gap in computers and composition research: Must boys be boys?

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12 Scopus citations


Biological sex has become a common variable in studies analyzing participation levels in both traditional oral and computer classrooms. This article, however, argues for the overlay of the biological sex variable and one that measures a socially constructed gender (such as the Bem Sex-Role Inventory). This article reports on a study of male and female students' participation in class discussions (measured in word counts), which found that students (in general) participated more frequently in electronic than in face-to-face discussions. Overall, students participated more frequently in face-to-face discussions after they participated in Daedalus Interchange sessions, but socially constructed variables such as gender led some students to participate less frequently in traditional oral discussions after using Interchange. These findings indicate that although the computer environment may not promote egalitarian discourse in which everyone participates equally, it does tend to produce more democratic discourse, in which everyone has an equal opportunity to participate.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)121-140
Number of pages20
JournalComputers and Composition
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1999


  • BEM
  • Biological sex
  • Difference
  • Empirical research
  • Gender
  • Interchange
  • Participation levels
  • Sex-roles
  • Socially constructed gender
  • Word counts


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