Determinants of student intention to engage in laboratory versus non-laboratory science learning behavior Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/q811kp092

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  • The purpose was to gain information about the determinants of student behavior with respect to laboratory (lab) and non-laboratory (non-lab) science learning activities. Fishbein and Ajzen's (1975) theory of reasoned action was used to investigate students' salient beliefs, correlations between determinants of intention, and the relative weights of determinants of intention. Analogous correlations for the lab and non-lab were compared, and gender and grade level were tested for effects upon the determinants of intention. Multistage cluster sampling was used to select 377 grades 3 to 8 public school students in 18 classes in 3 Oregon school districts. Salient beliefs were elicited from 72 of these students. Cores of salient beliefs related to attitude toward lab and non-lab behaviors and cores of salient beliefs related to subjective norm (significant others) for lab and non-lab behaviors were identified. These beliefs were used to construct two instruments (lab and non-lab). A pilot study was conducted involving 102 other students. Finally, half of the original 377 sample responded to the lab instrument and half to the non-lab instrument. Multiple regression showed that attitude toward behavior and subjective norm explained significant (p̲ < .01) amounts of variance in behavioral intention for both lab (R̲² = .14) and non-lab (R̲² = .25). The Rs for lab and non-lab were not significantly different (p̲ > .10). Attitude toward behavior had a greater relative weight than subjective norm for both lab and non-lab. The correlations between adjacent constructs in the theory of reasoned action were significant (p̲ < .08) for both lab and non-lab. Some significant differences between analogous lab and non-lab correlations were found. ANOVA revealed that gender had a significant effect on precursors of attitude toward behavior and subjective norm in one of four cases; it was of low practical significance. ANOVA showed that grade level had a significant effect on precursors of attitude toward behavior and subjective norm for both lab and non-lab behavioral intentions. The data with the theory showed that, in general, the intention to engage in lab and nonlab activities would be lowest for those in grade 8. A subjective analysis revealed that both gender and grade level affected the relative weights of attitude toward behavior and subjective norm for lab and non-lab. A psychological theory of social behavior was used to gain baseline information relevant to the intentions of science learners. This information might be used to plan strategies for affecting science student behavior so that they will become more scientifically literate.
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