Why We Are Still Talking About Leaving

  • Elaine SeymourEmail author
  • Anne-Barrie Hunter
  • Timothy J. Weston


In this chapter, we discuss the scholarly debate about the nature and consequences of losses from STEM majors. We also offer a summary of findings from the original study, Talking about Leaving: Why Undergraduates Leave the Sciences (Seymour & Hewitt, Talking about leaving: Why undergraduates leave the sciences, Boulder, CO: Westview Press; 1997), which are revisited in findings from the present study throughout this book. The original work was designed to discover, and establish the relative importance of factors contributing to high rates of switching from STEM to non-STEM majors; the current study explores what has and has not changed in the intervening years, what new variables have arisen, and how these contribute to losses from STEM majors. The digest of original findings allows comparison and contrast with findings from the present study. We also review research that has tested and augmented the original findings and explain what prompted the follow-up study. The purposes, design, and conduct of the new study are explained, and the chapter finishes with an overview of the book’s content and structure.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elaine Seymour
    • 1
    Email author
  • Anne-Barrie Hunter
    • 1
    • 2
  • Timothy J. Weston
    • 1
    • 3
  1. 1.Ethnography and Evaluation Research (E&ER)University of Colorado BoulderBoulderUSA
  2. 2.Center for STEM LearningUniversity of Colorado BoulderBoulderUSA
  3. 3.National Center for Women and Information Technology (NCWIT)University of Colorado BoulderBoulderUSA

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