The development and validation of the Survey of Attitudes Toward Research Methods

Elizabeth S Dimond, University of Rhode Island


Students' attitudes toward research methods may affect their learning approaches and outcomes in such courses. The four studies in this dissertation developed and provided evidence for the validity of the Survey of Attitudes Toward Research Methods (SATRM), a measure with which students' attitudes toward research methods can be better understood. ^ The first objective was to develop the measure, including adaptation of items from an existing measure, the Survey of Attitudes Toward Statistics (Schau, Stevens, Dauphinee, & Del Vecchio, 1995), to reflect research methods, and determining the factor structure and the questions best representing those factors. The SATRM was then administered to two new samples of students and multiple analyses were used to examine factorial and construct validity. Research methods instructors' perceptions of students' attitudes toward research methods were assessed to explore any discrepancy between faculty perceptions' and students attitudes. ^ Exploratory analyses in a large undergraduate sample found a two-factor structure in the SATRM, consisting of Value and Beliefs scales, which was confirmed in a second large undergraduate sample and in a large national sample of faculty. Measurement invariance was demonstrated between male and female undergraduates as well as between undergraduates and faculty. Correlations between the SATRM and related measures supported construct validity. The ability of the SATRM to predict performance in a research methods course was examined in a smaller sample of undergraduates. Mean faculty SATRM scores were significantly higher than those of the undergraduates. Reliability was high in the large samples of students and faculty. ^ Results from the two large undergraduate samples support the reliability and validity of the SATRM. Results of the faculty study support the possibility that a large difference may exist between faculty perceptions and students' true attitudes. Replication is needed with more diverse student samples that will provide a more valid comparison to the national faculty sample. ^ The SATRM could be used to learn more about students' attitudes in general or by faculty to identify attitudes of their specific students. It is hoped that this development of a valid and reliable measure will facilitate research enabling a deeper understanding of students' attitudes toward research methods. ^

Subject Area

Psychology, Behavioral|Psychology, Experimental|Psychology, Psychometrics

Recommended Citation

Elizabeth S Dimond, "The development and validation of the Survey of Attitudes Toward Research Methods" (2010). Dissertations and Master's Theses (Campus Access). Paper AAI3415514.