Lisbon University Institute (ISCTE-IUL) (PORTUGAL)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2016 Proceedings
Publication year: 2016
Page: 2359 (abstract only)
ISBN: 978-84-608-5617-7
ISSN: 2340-1079
doi: 10.21125/inted.2016.1496
Conference name: 10th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 7-9 March, 2016
Location: Valencia, Spain
In the last few decades there has been a growing interest among academics and policy makers in whether and how research and teaching practices are related and benefit one another. Recent works have been focused on what institutions, departments and staff can do to reinforce the link between research and teaching in order to benefit student’s learning (e.g. Healey, 2005; Jenkins & Healey, 2005; Jenkins, Healey & Zetter, 2007). While the majority of such works addresses this challenge from the perspective of the staff and institutions, others have been studying students’ experience of the research-teaching nexus. Quantitative studies of student experience have relied on surveys assessing students’ motivations, beliefs and attitudes towards research; students’ perceived benefits of research-teaching integration (R&T) in general; and students’ participation on specific R&T practices during their studies. However, none of these instruments assesses students' attitudes towards specific R&T practices. The goal of the present study was to develop and validate a new instrument to monitor the degree to which students are favorable to participating in specific R&T practices throughout their academic course. We developed a 20-item measure, 15 items of which were adapted from Healey, Jordan and Short’s (2002) questionnaire of the student experience of teaching, research and consultancy, while the remaining five items emerged from a focus group conducted with the targeted population. The original Healey and colleagues’ 15 items assess whether students have participated in specific R&T practices. Instead, we used the same items and asked the students to rate their favorability towards students’ participation in each practice on a 5-point Likert scale. We tested the new instrument among a sample of 757 students (37% males, 446 undergraduates, 292 master students) of different scientific areas at a public research-intensive university. An exploratory factor analysis conducted with half the sample revealed a three-factor solution comprising 14 items and accounting for 51% of explained variance. The three factors were: participating in research, learning as audience, and practicing research skills. The internal consistency was good for the first (α=0.86) and second (α=0.84) factors, and acceptable for the third (α=0.75). A confirmatory factor analysis with the remaining half of the sample tested and supported a three-factor structure, which presented the best fit [χ2(74)=226.65; GFI=.92; CFI=.93; RMSEA=.073]. We conclude that the three factors correspond to three categories of Healey’s (2005) typology of how research is included in teaching: research-based, research-led and research-oriented, respectively. The advantages of our instrument for diagnosing and monitoring the impact of departmental and staff practices, as well as disciplinary cultures, on student learning and attitudes towards R&T practices will be discussed.
Teaching-research nexus, teaching-research integration, students' attitudes, student experience, questionnaire, university, undergraduate.