Discovery Learning Research Center

Editors' Choice Award for DLRC's Dr. Omolola Adedokun, et al.

December 6, 2013

Self-Efficacy Is the Key

The natural response to the shift toward inquiry-based science
education is an increase in faculty-mentored undergraduate research
experiences (UREs). Large amounts of data describe the
impact of UREs on student gains in performing research-related
procedures, thinking and working like a scientist, and interest
in graduate school. Much less is known about the processes
through which student gains are achieved and the organization
and dynamics of specifi c URE programs. Adedokun et al. used
structural equation modeling to explore a URE program with a
specifi c focus on exploring the relationships among three key
outcomes: research skills, research self-effi cacy, and aspiration
for research careers. A post-participation survey was given to
156 students who typically spent 4 to 10 hours per week in
their faculty mentor’s laboratory and attended a seminar class
on research conduct. Modeling data showed signifi cant direct
relationships between research skills and research self-effi cacy,
and between research skills and aspirations. Additionally, positive
relationships between self-effi cacy and aspirations and an
indirect effect of research skills on aspirations via self-effi cacy
were shown. Research self-effi cacy thus partially mediates the
relationship between research skills and student aspirations for
research careers. — MM

J. Res. Sci. Teach. 10.1002/tea.21102 (2013).

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