About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 448-452
Publication year: 2009
ISBN: 978-84-613-2953-3
ISSN: 2340-1095

Conference name: 2nd International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 16-18 November, 2009
Location: Madrid, Spain

SCIENTIST-PRACTITIONER INTEREST CHANGES AND COURSE PERFORMANCE IN AN UNDERGRADUATE RESEARCH METHODS PSYCHOLOGY COURSE

T. Pettijohn, S. Ahmed

Coastal Carolina University (UNITED STATES)
The field of psychology involves interests and skill development related to science and conducting research, as well as counseling and interpersonal interactions. While some models of graduate training have combined these areas as the scientist-practitioner model (i.e., the Boulder model), others argue that scientists and practitioners have different interests, personalities, and theoretical world views and acceptance of one view often leads to the rejection of the ideals of the other. Differences in these mental frameworks have recently been investigated empirically to determine how individual interests and personality function within different training programs and choose career paths. Few studies have investigated the scientist-practitioner interests of undergraduate psychology majors and the influence of these interests on performance in science and practice themed courses.
The current investigation specifically focused on how the science and practice interests of psychology majors at a public university in the United States would change after completing a research methods course, and how these changes were related to student course performance. We predicted that students who earned higher scores in the methods course would report an increased interest in science-related areas and a lower interest in practice-related areas.
Students enrolled in an undergraduate research methods psychology course (n=28) completed the Scientist-Practitioner Inventory (Leong & Zachar, 1991) at the beginning and end of the semester. The Scientist-Practitioner Inventory (SPI) was comprised of 42 likert-style questions related to interests in the science and practice of psychology. The research methods course covered experimental design, ethics of research, experimental control, validity and reliability of measures, as well as a student assigned research project involving literature review, hypothesis development, data collection, statistical analysis, and required a research paper, poster, and oral presentation.
Difference scores were calculated to determine the student interest changes from the beginning of the course to the end. Although the final course grade was not related to pre or post SPI measures individually, final course grade was related to changes in SPI scores. More specifically, there was a positive relationship between final course grade and SPI scientist scores [r(26)=.14] and a negative relationship between final course grade and SPI practitioner scores [r(26)=-.25]. Although these correlations were in the predicted directions, they were not statistically significant. Small sample size was a limitation and directionality was another concern. Did students who showed more of an interest in the science of psychology perform better in the research methods course, or did those who performed better in the class show more of an interest in the scientific areas of the field?
Most undergraduate psychology programs require a research methods course, and many of the students in these courses find the topic challenging and experience anxiety about the class. Those with practitioner orientations may have more difficulties in the course than those with scientific orientations and the current results show how an enhanced scientific interest is related to improved course grade. Students can use this information to develop more positive attitudes about the science of psychology to determine if this is an area they want to pursue as a career.
@InProceedings{PETTIJOHN2009SCI,
author = {Pettijohn, T. and Ahmed, S.},
title = {SCIENTIST-PRACTITIONER INTEREST CHANGES AND COURSE PERFORMANCE IN AN UNDERGRADUATE RESEARCH METHODS PSYCHOLOGY COURSE},
series = {2nd International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation},
booktitle = {ICERI2009 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-613-2953-3},
issn = {2340-1095},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Madrid, Spain},
month = {16-18 November, 2009},
year = {2009},
pages = {448-452}}
TY - CONF
AU - T. Pettijohn AU - S. Ahmed
TI - SCIENTIST-PRACTITIONER INTEREST CHANGES AND COURSE PERFORMANCE IN AN UNDERGRADUATE RESEARCH METHODS PSYCHOLOGY COURSE
SN - 978-84-613-2953-3/2340-1095
PY - 2009
Y1 - 16-18 November, 2009
CI - Madrid, Spain
JO - 2nd International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
JA - ICERI2009 Proceedings
SP - 448
EP - 452
ER -
T. Pettijohn, S. Ahmed (2009) SCIENTIST-PRACTITIONER INTEREST CHANGES AND COURSE PERFORMANCE IN AN UNDERGRADUATE RESEARCH METHODS PSYCHOLOGY COURSE, ICERI2009 Proceedings, pp. 448-452.
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